The inaugural edition of the Women’s Indian T20 League got off to a splendid start last week.
Eight of the 20 scheduled fixtures between the five franchises have been completed so far with Team Mumbai establishing themselves as the team to beat in the tournament. Team Delhi and Team Uttar Pradesh trail Team Mumbai closely, while all the hype surrounding Team Bangalore is yet to materialise in the tournament.
Overseas players have made their mark on the tournament, but franchises are yet to reap the rewards of bidding high amounts for star players.
As the Women’s Indian T20 League enters its second week of the season, here’s a roundup of all the news from Week 1 of the tournament.
Mumbai Hit – Bangalore Flop
Team Mumbai have been the dominant side in the tournament so far, winning all three of their fixtures in the opening week.
Team Mumbai posted 207/5 in the first innings of the opening game against Team Gujarat last Saturday propelled by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s lightning-fast innings. Saika Ishaque claimed four wickets in her spell to contain Team Gujarat to just 64 runs in reply, giving Team Mumbai a massive Net Run Rate advantage in the first game itself.
The highly-anticipated fixture between Team Mumbai and Team Bangalore on Monday turned out to be a one-sided affair with Team Mumbai completely outclassing their rivals.
Smriti Mandhana’s side huffed and puffed their way to 155 runs in the first innings with no batter crossing the 30-run mark. Hayley Matthews took three wickets for Team Mumbai before smashing 77 runs off just 38 balls with her all-round performance winning her the Player of the Match award.
Team Mumbai posted their third successive victory in the tournament on Thursday when they outplayed Team Delhi in a low-scoring affair.
Saika Ishaque was the star of the night for Mumbai, while Issy Wong took three wickets to come into the limelight. With plenty of talent in their ranks and an experienced leader to sail them through the games, Team Mumbai are currently the favourites to finish at the top of the league table.
Team Bangalore’s woes continued last night as they succumbed to yet another defeat in the tournament. Smriti Mandhana’s side now languish at the bottom of the table with no points and a Net Run Rate of -2.648.
The only South Indian side in the tournament are suffering from failures in both batting and bowling departments with big-name players like Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry failing to come through for the team on crucial occasions.
Shreyanka Patil has been the only positive revelation for the franchise with the youngster showing her potential in a brisk inning against Team Mumbai. With just four more games to go, Team Bangalore need to execute a miraculous turnaround in their fortunes if they want to qualify for the knockout rounds.
As expected, overseas players have dominated the headlines so far in the Women’s Indian T20 League.
Team Mumbai’s Hayley Matthews, who has been picked up by the franchise at her base price, is the Most Valuable Player in the league. Scoring 156 runs as an opener and taking six wickets in three games, Matthews’ role in Team Mumbai’s perfect opening to the tournament has been central. Natalie Sciver-Brunt follows her closely in the charts with 101 runs and three wickets to her name.
Team Delhi’s skipper Meg Lanning is the top scorer in the tournament so far, scoring 185 runs for her team in three games. All five top scorers in the tournament are overseas players with three Australians joining Sophie Devine and Hayley Matthews on the list.
Alyssa Healy posted the highest score in an innings so far in the tournament, smashing 96 runs against Team Bangalore on Thursday. Tahlia McGrath (90*), Shafali Varma (84) and Hayley Matthews (77*) are the other top scorers of the tournament with a total of 14 half-centuries so far.
Saika Ishaque of Team Mumbai is the purple-cap holder, picking up nine wickets so far with a best figure of 4/11. Sophie Ecclestone and Hayley Matthews follow her closely with seven wickets and six wickets respectively. Tara Norris (5/29) of Team Delhi posted the best figures of the tournament so far, picking up a five-fer against Team Bangalore. Kim Garth of Team Gujarat is the only other player to pick up a five-fer in the opening week.
There were huge expectations from Smriti Mandhana before the tournament with the Indian player in much demand during the auction. Team Bangalore broke the bank to add the star to their lineup, paying ₹3.4 crores – the highest for any player in the league. She was appointed the captain of the team, even as their lineup consisted of players like Ellyse Perry and Dane van Niekerk who are experienced in leading international teams.
Mandhana’s performance in the tournament so far has been abysmal, as she has scored just 80 runs in four games so far. Her highest score in the tournament is 35 against Team Delhi and lost her wicket for just 4 runs in Thursday’s critical game.
Ashleigh Gardner is yet to perform to her full potential in the tournament with the world’s No.1 all-rounder scoring just 44 runs and picking up four wickets in the tournament. The underperformance of Indian players so far in the tournament is also a cause for concern with poor fielding bogging down the excitement of the tournament.
With just four games to go, Team Bangalore must win every one of their fixtures for them to have a shot at qualifying for the semi-finals.
Team Mumbai remain best poised to make it to the finals directly. Harmanpreet Kaur’s side completely outclassed every side they faced so far, and if Team Uttar Pradesh cannot hold them tomorrow, they will go into the second-half of the tournament with immense confidence.
Among the others, Team Delhi and Team Uttar Pradesh will look to improve their form. Under Meg Lanning, Team Delhi looked comfortable in the first two games of the tournament, but a complete batting collapse yesterday against Team Mumbai would dent their confidence. In a tournament with just five teams, every result matters for the final standings. If Team Bangalore and Team Gujarat return to winning ways, the battle for second and third spots in the table will get intense.
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