The White Ferns captain, Sophie Divine has been denied a hat trick of WBBL Player of the Tournament award as India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur gets the better of her in the seventh edition of the league to become the first WBBL Player of the Tournament from India. She gets her name added to the list dominated by the Aussies and the White Ferns in the previous six seasons making herself the third international player to the award.
Previous WBBL Player of the Tournament winner-:
WBBL|01- Meg Lanning (Australia)
WBBL|02- Beth Mooney (Australia)
WBBL|03- Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand)
WBBL|04- Ellyse Perry (Australia)
WBBL|05- Sophie Devine (New Zealand)
WBBL|06- Sophie Devine (New Zealand)
Player of the Tournament in WBBL 👇
🇦🇺Meg Lanning : WBBL01
🇦🇺Beth Mooney : WBBL02
🇳🇿Amy Satterthwaite : WBBL03
🇦🇺Ellyse Perry : WBBL04
🇳🇿Sophie Devine : WBBL05
🇳🇿Sophie Devine : WBBL06
🇮🇳Harmanpreet Kaur : WBBL07 #WBBL
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) November 24, 2021
Holding the record of the highest individual score in the knockout stage of Women’s World Cup and the second-highest for India Women in ODIs, a feat she achieved in the 2017 World Cup semi-finals with an unbeaten 171, Harmanpreet Kaur has been a key asset for the women in blue contributing with both the bat and the ball. Though she wasn’t in the best of her forms in the series against Australia just before the start of WBBL, as the tournament progressed, she gradually got her form back and contributed to some crucial victories for her team, Melbourne Renegades who finished second in the league stage with 18 points.
Kaur who was adjudged as the Player of the Match thrice in this season made 399 runs at the strike rate of 135.25 which includes three half-centuries and took 15 wickets at the economy rate of 7.46, making herself the leading run-scorer and wicket-takers for the Renegades. Her performance helped her in getting a total of 31 votes from the standing umpires, three more than Perth Scorchers’ pair of Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney who finished with 28 votes each. The votes are awarded by the two umpires on the basis of 3-2-1 at the end of every match.
Harmanpreet Kaur calls for Women’s IPL
ESPN Cricinfo shared Kaur’s reaction after winning the award, she said “Playing any tournament will give you lots of confidence and WBBL is something, you know, it’s a very, very big platform back home.”
“Every Indian wants to play in this league, and I was the first one who got this opportunity to play and today, you know, winning this player of the tournament definitely gives lots of confidence to Indian girls also. They can also come here and perform and, you know, be part of this and then there are all the chances to achieve a lot in their cricket career.”
She further commented on the Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) which has been in talks for a while now, hoping that the success of WBBL and the appreciable performances by Indian Women would give a major boost to the league. She said, “I think we have been looking at this for a long time and I hope, you know, sooner this women’s IPL will also start, and we will also invite overseas players over there so that they can also share their experience with our domestic players. I think this is something we are really waiting for, and I hope, you know, this will start.”
“Performance is something which is in our hands and that’s what we have been doing and the rest of the things are totally dependent on the BCCI and the cricket board.
“We can’t do something extra on that, but we can only request and that’s what we have done, you know, for many years.”
“They know better than us. They know when to do it and how to start and they are also thinking about that and I’m sure, you know, they will definitely come up with something for women’s cricket.” Harmanpreet said.
Meanwhile, Sydney Thunder’s Phoebe Litchfield was named the ‘Young Gun’ of the tournament (awarded to players aged 21 or younger) for an unbelievable season after being promoted to number three with the bat and finishing as the second-highest run-scorer for the Thunders, just after Smriti Mandhana who was yet another top performer from India. Mandhana, who Just last week praised the 18-years old Australian calling her an ‘exceptional talent’, got her name registered in the record book after slamming India’s first Big Bash Century and equalling the record highest individual score in the history of WBBL with Ashleigh Gardner.
The same report by ESPN Cricinfo also shares Litchfield’s reaction on her award, “It means a lot to be recognized with this award.”
“It’s a surprise, to be honest. I could think of a number of other young players who would be deserving of this award, which is really exciting for the future.”
Though finishing second in the table, the Renegades suffered a defeat in their last league match which was missed by Kaur due to some health issues but she has hinted at her inclusion for the knockouts.
The Knockout stage of WBBL season 7 starts Today with the Eliminator between Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers. Melbourne Renegades will be playing The Challenger tomorrow i.e. November 25 against the winner of this eliminator at the Adelaide Ovals. The winner of The Challenger would be meeting Perth Scorchers in the Final on November 27.
Congratulations Harmanpreet Kaur & Phoebe Litchfield!!
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