New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The stage is set for the inaugural edition of the Womens Premier League (WPL), to be held from March 4 to 26 in Mumbai, as the squads have assembled, raring to compete to be crowned the champions.
In the inaugural edition, five teams — Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and UP Warriorz — splurged their purse to acquire some of the best talents in the international and domestic circuit.
IANS takes a look at the top 10 women cricketers who can make an impact with their skill sets in the inaugural edition of WPL.
* Smriti Mandhana (Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rs 3.4 crore)
The most expensive buy in the WPL auction, Smriti Mandhana has been one of the pillars of the Indian batting line-up across formats.
The two-time ICC player of the year hammered her career-best T20I score of 87 against Ireland to lift her side into the ICC T20 World Cup semifinals in South Africa, before India went down fighting against Australia in the last-four clash on Thursday.
She was at her best in the 2022 Commonwealth Games and hammered 159 runs in five games at a stunning strike rate of 151.42.
In December last year, Mandhana broke West Indies’ Stafanie Taylor’s world record of most 50+ scores while chasing in women’s T20Is. The Indian batter has 12 fifty-plus scores, one more than Taylor.
* Shafali Verma (Delhi Capitals, Rs 2 crore)
Shafali Verma, known for her fearless brand of cricket, is quite handy with the ball as well, and is at times seen playing the role of a sixth bowler for the Women in Blue. She also showed her leadership skills while guiding India to title triumph in the U-19 T20 World Cup last month.
The hard-hitting opening batter made her international debut aged 15 and since then she has featured in 21 ODIs, scoring 531 runs at a strike rate of 83.62.
In T20Is, she has smashed 1,333 runs in 56 games with a highest score of 73. The 19-year-old has also plied her trade with Women’s Big Bash League clubs Birmingham Phoenix and Sydney sixers.
* Harmanpreet Kaur (Mumbai Indians, Rs 1.8 crore)
The India skipper is a fearless batter and a handy off-spinner. She has been a consistent performer for India and can change the course of the game in a matter of overs. The 33-year-old comes with vast experience, having played more than 270 games for the Women in Blue with over 6,000 runs to her name across formats.
* Richa Ghosh (Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rs 1.90 crore)
Ghosh made her international debut in 2020 and has already gained a decent amount of experience at the international level. She has played 17 ODIs and 30 T20Is, scoring 311 and 427 runs, respectively. Ghosh has impressed one and all with her ability to score quick runs in the shortest format, striking at 134.27.
The 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batter, who was part of India’s victorious squad at the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup, is slowly growing into the role of a finisher. Ghosh’s six-hitting prowess is there for all to see and she is also a capable hand behind the stumps.
* Deepti Sharma (UP Warriorz, Rs 2.6 crore)
Deepti Sharma, one of the finest all-rounders in women’s cricket, has played more than 150 international matches across formats. She is the player who lends balance to the team with her vital contributions with both bat and ball.
She has been consistently scoring useful runs as a lower-middle-order batter. On the bowling front, Deepti is arguably India’s best spinner at the moment.
Deepti has a fantastic record with both bat and ball in all the three formats. She has played two Test matches, scoring 152 runs at 76 and picking up five wickets. In 80 ODIs, she has aggregated 1,891 runs and scalped 91 wickets. In the shortest format, Deepti has 86 caps with 898 runs and 95 wickets to her name.
The ace all-rounder has also shown her captaincy skills in the Women’s T20 Challenge 2022, leading Velocity to the final of the competition.
* Natalie Sciver (Mumbai Indians, Rs 3.20 crore)
England’s Natalie Sciver is one of those players who has made heads turn every time she has stepped on to the cricket field. She has put up an exhibition of her glorious stroke play and demolished top-quality bowling line-ups. She has left the world amazed with her exceptional bowling skills.
Sciver has racked up 3,009 runs in 94 ODIs besides bagging 65 wickets. She has been magnificent for England in T20Is, scoring 2,135 runs in 107 matches and picking up 79 wickets.
Sciver, with her ability to contribute in both departments, is a valuable addition to the Mumbai-based franchise.
* Tahlia McGrath (UP Warriorz, Rs 1.40 crore)
Destructive with the bat and effective with the ball, all-rounder Tahlia McGrath has established herself as one of the best players in the world and a leader in the Australia side.
Her record across all the formats is simply staggering. In T20Is, she has played 21 matches, scoring 549 runs at 68.62 while striking at 140.76, besides picking up 13 wickets. She has also played 22 ODIs and three Tests, scoring 357 and 161 runs, respectively.
Since her international debut in 2016, the 27-year-old has gradually become one of the premier all-rounders in world cricket.
* Marizanne Kapp (Delhi Capitals, Rs 1.5 crore)
Marizanne Kapp provides the advantage of pace and swing, as well as lower-order batting muscle. She is a big-game player, and has won back-to-back Women’s Hundred titles with the Oval Invincibles, as well as winning the 2021 WBBL title with the Perth Scorchers.
* Deandra Dottin (Gujarat Giants, Rs 60 lakh)
Deandra Dottin of the West Indies is one of the most dynamic and formidable all-rounders in world cricket. She brings international experience to Gujarat with more than 250 matches, 6,000 plus career runs and 134 wickets to her name.
Dottin has five international centuries, including an unbeaten 150, and two five-wicket hauls under her belt. She was the first woman to score a T20I century back in 2010, posting a 38-ball ton against South Africa — a feat that remains the fastest by a woman in the format.
Dottin will add genuine match-winning qualities to the Giants’ squad.
* Sophie Ecclestone (UP Warriorz, Rs 1.80 crore)
The top-ranked bowler from England is a seasoned campaigner in the shortest format of the game. The slow left-arm orthodox spinner was in top form in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup for her team before England lost against hosts South Africa in the semifinal.
She can operate at full throttle on the spin-friendly Indian pitches. A decent striker of the ball, Ecclestone can also contribute with the bat lower down the order.