Byline By- Vinayak Heliwal
Women’s T20 Challenge is all set to kick start from Wednesday at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The three teams Supernovas, Trailblazers, and Velocity led by Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, and Mithali Raj respectively will clash in four matches in the Women’s T20 Challenge starting today.
Though short, this tournament is significant for women’s cricket. The T20 World Cup earlier this year was a huge success and was expected to have a knock-on effect for the women’s game around the globe.
The Indian Women’s team hasn’t played any competitive cricket since the T20 World Cup final against Australia and it looks that the player wouldn’t have any top competitive cricket for the remainder of the year. So this tournament could be one of the competitive games they play.
In the league stage of the tournament, all the teams will clash with each other. Defending champions Supernovas will be challenged by Velocity in the Wednesday opener, following which Velocity will play against Trail Blazers in the second match, and Trailblazers and Supernovas will play the last league match. The team with the lowest points will get eliminated and the two top teams will meet for the final clash on November 9.
With the three most experienced names of Indian Women’s cricket leading the sides, all the teams will put forth the best effort in the round-robin contest.
Squads of Women’s T20 Challenge:
Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Jemimah Rodrigues (VC), Chamari Atapattu, Priya Punia, Anuja Patil, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia (WK), Shashikala Siriwardene, Poonam Yadav, Shakera Selman, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayushi Soni, Ayabonga Khaka, Muskan Malik
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (C), Deepti Sharma (VC), Punam Raut, Richa Ghosh, D. Hemalatha, Nuzhat Parween (WK), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harleen Deol, Jhulan Goswami, Simaran Dil Bahadur, Salma Khatun, Sophie Ecclestone, Natthakan Chantham, Deandra Dottin, Kashvee Gautam.
Velocity: Mithali Raj (C), Veda Krishnamurthy (VC), Shafali Verma, Sushma Verma (WK), Ekta Bisht, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey, Devika Vaidya, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Manali Dakshini, Leigh Kasperek, Danielle Wyatt, Suné Luus, Jahanara Alam, M. Anagha
For the first time, the tournament will have an exclusive sponsor, with Hip bagging the rights. Getting a title sponsor could hint at the BCCI possibly exploring the branding potential of the tournament.
Like the eight IPL franchises, the women’s contingent also underwent a mandatory six-day Quarantine at the team hotel in addition to being tested at regular intervals.