In 2023, women’s cricket in India, and perhaps the rest of the globe, is transitioning. We were all there when the IPL began, and it still continues to grow strong today, taking the sport to new heights. As evidence of the BCCI’s strong commitment to women’s cricket in India, the Shafali Verma-led India Under-19 squad won the Junior T20 World Cup. Additionally, BCCI chose an equal pay strategy that inspires and pushes the players.
India’s women’s cricket is expected to make history in 2023 after the BCCI launched a five-team Women’s IPL, three of which were IPL sides. The famous franchises Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, and Royal Challengers Bangalore were the renowned ones. And Gujarat Giants and UP Warriorz were two new teams that competed in the first Women’s IPL.
Mumbai Indians – The Winners of Inaugural WPL
Harmanpreet Kaur-led Mumbai Indians, which is also one of the most successful franchises in the men’s IPL, won the first edition of the WPL. And finally, Harman has a trophy under her belt, not the international one though, but this will be nothing but a boost for the Indian Captain.
When it comes to the blue and gold, they have always relied on the Caribbeans and the Kiwis for their success, and now in the Women’s IPL as well, with Haley Matthews and Amelia Kerr, they have done it, again. Saika Ishaque and Nat Sciver-Brunt, two exceptional players, stuck out throughout the entire season and carried the Mumbai Indians from start to finish.
The MI squad defeated the Meg Lanning-led Delhi Capitals in the final match by a margin of seven wickets taking the trophy home.
Royal Challengers Bangalore- The Unluckiest, Again
The team lost the first five games despite having players like Smriti Mandhana, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Heather Knight, Richa Ghosh, Megan Schutt, and Renuka Singh.
RCB captain Smriti Mandhana had a disappointing tournament, scoring just 149 runs in eight games, with a highest score of 37. Sophie Devine, on the other hand, had a fantastic season and scored a total of 266 runs, with a top score of 99. Shreyanka Patil, who was excellent at batting down the order and scoring those ferocious runs, will also be the one to look out for in the future.
The women in red ended up winning just two out of the eight games and were not able to qualify for the knockout stage.
Delhi Capitals got the Lanning-luck
Meg Lanning, the most successful captain of the shortest format in history, led the capitals. She nearly did it for the DC as well. But Harmanpreet, on the other side, defeated Meg Lanning to win her first final of this Women’s IPL against the Australian captain, but not an international one.
Meg Lanning had the best scoring average in the competition, averaging nearly 50 runs in just nine games and scoring 345 runs. The other talents of the Capitals who seized the chance were Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Alice Capsey. Not to forget Tara Norris’ fifer against RCB and Marizanne Kapp’s against Gujarat Giants.
UP Warriorz and Gujarat Giants were not effective as they looked
Being the new franchises, UP and Gujarat must be trying to fit in with renowned teams like MI, RCB and DC. With just two victories in eight games, the Gujarat Giants also got eliminated during the league stage. With players like Laura Wolvaardt, Sophia Dunkley, Ashleigh Gardner, Harleen Doel, Sushma Verma, Sneh Rana, and Kim Garth, just like RCB, they were likewise the team with the big names and couldn’t qualify.
UP Warriorz were one of the three qualified teams, but they too were not able to capitalise on the marquee players they had, such as the captain herself, Alyssa Healy, Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath, Grace Harris, Sophie Ecclestone, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Kiran Navgire and Shabnam Ismail. They finished third with four victories out of eight games but then failed to defeat the Mumbai Indians in the qualifier to advance to the championship game.
After The Hundred and the Big Bash League, India’s IPL finally made it to women’s cricket. It was a fantastic and effective effort to develop women’s cricket in India, and it will inspire thousands of young girls to take up the sport worldwide.
That’s what it is all about. Isn’t it?
To keep developing the sport and producing talented players who can compete for their respective national teams. Well, we’ll have to wait and see if the WPL can assist the Indian team to bring an ICC trophy home. The journey has only just begun.