Women’s T20 Challenge from today

Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana.

Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. | Photo Credit: V.V. KRISHNAN

Shubhangi Kulkarni will drive to the MCA Stadium, in the outskirts of the city, on Monday evening. Since the BCCI announced that her hometown will host the Women's T20 Challenge, the former India captain has been looking forward to the tournament.

Like her, just about everyone associated with the women’s game will closely be following the six-day tournament, considered as a trial for a women’s IPL. With news emerging that the BCCI is keener than ever before about launching the Women’s IPL, and a few IPL franchises showing interest in forming teams, you find a lot of excitement about the T20 Challenge, especially from uncapped domestic players.

Some of them are here. Batters like Kiran Navgire and bowlers like Maya Sonawane and Aarti Kedar could well be in focus. The hard-hitting Kiran had hit headlines when she clobbered 162 not out off just 76 balls for Nagaland against Arunachal Pradesh in the Senior Women’s T20 tournament last month.

She will of course be facing much better bowling attacks here, and it will be interesting to find out if this would be the breakout tournament for her like the 2019 edition was for Shafali Verma.

Shafali, one of the most explosive batters in the women’s game now, is among the biggest attractions of the tournament. Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur too are expected to delight the fans with their strokeplay.

As in the past, the event will also feature some of the biggest stars in women’s cricket from overseas, like Deandra Dottin, Sophie Ecclestone, Laura Wolvaardt, Sune Luus and Sophia Dunkley.

The teams — Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity — will play each other once and the top two will contest the final on May 28.

Smriti, skipper of Trailblazers, said: “The T20 Challenge was always going to be a stepping stone for the women’s IPL. So this is a pretty important tournament in that regard. I think this will be a good advertisement for the women’s IPL.”

Harmanpreet Kaur, captain of Supernovas, said: “If we look at the three previous editions of this tournament, we could see that we got some very good players like Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh and Pooja Vastrakar. We get quality games and the domestic players get chances.

The teams:

Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (Capt.), Taniya Bhatia, Priya Punia, Harleen Deol, Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayushi Soni, Rashi Kanojia, V. Chandu, Mansi Joshi, Sophie Ecclestone (Eng), Sune Luus (SA), Deandra Dottin (WI) and Alana King (Aus).

Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (Capt.), Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Priyanka Priyadarshini, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, S. Meghana, Saiqa Ishaque, Sharmin Akhter, Sujata Mallik, Shradda Pokharkar, Hayley Matthews (WI), Sophia Dunkley (Eng), Salma Khatun (Ban) and Sharmin Akhter (Ban).

Velocity: Deepti Sharma (Capt.), Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma, Kiran Navgire, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Keerthi James, Maya Sonawane, Pranavi Chandra, Laura Wolvaardt (SA), Kate Cross (Eng), Ayabonga Khaka (SA) and Natthakan Chantham (Tha).

Monday’s match: Trailblazers vs. Supernovas, 7.30 p.m.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 11:54:48 pm |