By: Shubham Ghosh
Indian cricket was set to witness another piece of history on Saturday (4) when the inaugural edition of its Women’s Premier League (WPL) would kick off with a clash between Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai.
The game will start at 8 pm local time after the opening ceremony scheduled at 6.25 pm local time.
Fans of Indian women’s cricket had been long demanding for a league for the country’s women cricketers similar to the men’s tournament — the Indian Premier League (IPL), which was started in 2008 and proved to be a thumping success over the years.
On Saturday, the dream will finally come to be true.
The IPL has not only been a monetary success but it has also produced some of the finest talents, both for India and other nations that have come to participate in it, and now, the expectations are similar from the women’s version.
Apart from Gujarat and Mumbai, the WPL features three other teams and they are Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and UP Warriorz. The tournament will see each team playing another twice, followed by the playoffs and final. There will be 22 matches in all and the title round will be played on March 26.
In Saturday’s game, the Giants will be led by Australian Beth Mooney, who top scored for her country in the final of the recently held Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa and ended up as the player of the match as Australia lifted their record sixth title beating the home country.
The Mumbai Indians will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain who came under massive criticism after getting run out casually in the semi-final of the same tournament against Australia.
Players, fans and experts will be hoping for a cracker of an encounter to kick off the WPL, just like the memorable opening game between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru in 2008 had set the tone for the IPL.
Bangalore will take on Delhi in the second matchday of WPL at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday (5).
Here are the squads for Saturday’s WPL game:
Gujarat Giants: Beth Mooney (Captain), Sabbhineni Meghana, Dayalan Hemalatha, Parunika Sisodia, Ashleigh Gardner, Georgia Wareham, Sophia Dunkley, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Annabel Sutherland, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Sushma Verma, Sneh Rana, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwar, Shabnam Md Shakil.
Mumbai Indians: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Hayley Matthews, Humaira Kazi, Neelam Bisht, Chloe Tryon, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Pooja Vastrakar, Priyanka Bala, Amelia Kerr, Heather Graham, Jintimani Kalita, Yastika Bhatia, Issy Wong, Saika Ishaque, Sonam Yadav