WPL 2023: Who are the favorites for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League?
The Women’s Premier League’s first season kicked off on March 4 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, where the Mumbai Indians faced Gujarat Giants. The league comprises five teams, with a total of 22 matches, including the final on March 26 at the Brabourne Stadium, located on the opposite end of the city.
All matches will take place at the DY Patil and Brabourne Stadiums. The five teams will play against each other twice during the round-robin stage, resulting in 20 league games and eight games per team. The team that finishes on top will progress directly to the final, while the second and third-placed teams will compete in an eliminator to determine the other finalist. Whilst this is a new tournament there are already loads of sites like Cricket Betting Man that are providing well considered WPL predictions that can be used for wagering purposes if you’re that way inclined.
The league has three IPL team owners as participants: Reliance owns Mumbai Indians, while JSW and GMR groups own Delhi Capitals. Diageo purchased Royal Challengers Bangalore. Two new owners, Adani Sportsline and Capri Global, have bought the Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Giants and Lucknow-based UP franchise, UP Warriorz, respectively. Each team will have between 15 to 18 team members, including six overseas players, as per the regulations.
In the Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) put a lot of effort into buying players, but failed to obtain strong bowlers for their lineup, just like in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Despite this, the presence of Australian bowlers Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry more than makes up for the team’s shortcomings.
However, the question remains whether it will be enough for them to succeed where their male counterparts have not been able to. While Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry are two of the most renowned women cricketers worldwide, the RCB team needs them to perform well in the tournament for the team to move ahead.
The bowling lineup, aside from Perry, Schutt, and Renuka Singh Thakur, appears average. Furthermore, the spin bowling unit is inexperienced when it comes to facing star international-level batters. The only way for the RCB to win is if their important players, including Mandhana, Perry, and Sophie Devine, perform well, and their team makes the right decision of chasing at the toss.
Gujarat Giants will aim to emulate the success of their male counterparts who won their inaugural league title in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2022. Gujarat Giants’ strength lies in the presence of top-quality all-rounders such as Ashleigh Gardner and India’s Sneh Rana, which significantly boosts the team’s strength. Additionally, Sophia Dunkley and Harleen Deol can also bowl in the team.
Interestingly, none of the Indian players who featured in most of the matches of the T20 World Cup’s playing eleven have been bought by the Gujarat Giants. However, in a game, only four foreigners can play in the XI. Therefore, Indian players play a vital role and their significant presence in the playing 11 is necessary. They are the backbone of any team, and their performance can determine the team’s success in the WPL.
The Mumbai Indians, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, are considered one of the top contenders for the Women’s Premier League trophy due to their well-rounded team. The team has a strong contingent of all-rounders including New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr and West Indies player Hayley Matthews. Harmanpreet Kaur is known for her ability to hit the ball hard and long, while Matthews and Sciver-Brunt can be equally destructive on their day.
Youngsters like Sonam Yadav, Issy Wong, and Jintimani Kalita can learn from the coaching staff, which comprises legends of the game Charlotte Edwards and Jhulan Goswami. However, the team’s fast bowling might be their weak point this season, as there is no out-and-out quick in the side. The team relies on Heather Graham, Pooja Vastrakar, Amanjot Kaur, and Kalita to be their go-to seamers.
The Delhi Capitals boast a powerful batting line-up with the likes of Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Meg Lanning leading the charge. The team’s all-round strength is further bolstered by the presence of Marizanne Kapp, Shikha Pandey, and Jess Jonassen, as well as Alice Capsey and Radha Yadav, providing both pace and spin options.
Despite having big names at the top of the order, Delhi lacks a proven big hitter in the lower order, increasing the pressure on the top order to perform consistently. Interestingly, the Capitals are the only team among the five franchises to have signed an associate nation player, Tara Norris from the USA.
UP Warriorz are one of the most promising sides going into the tournament. The team will be led by one of the most seasoned players in women’s cricket, the hard-hitting opening batsman Alyssa Healy. Her dependable deputy will be Deepti Sharma, an Indian player with an impressive track record.
The UP Warriorz boast a formidable team, including talented players such as Tahlia McGrath and England’s Sophie Ecclestone. Adding the U-19 World Cup’s leading scorer, Shweta Sehrawat, has only strengthened their roster further. The experienced players within the team will undoubtedly have a crucial role to play in achieving success.
However, the UP Warriorz do face a significant concern in terms of finishing power. While their top and middle order are robust, their lower-middle order lacks depth. The team will need to identify a couple of players capable of stabilizing the innings in the event of a batting collapse. Additionally, management will have to contend with the challenge of selecting the best eleven, as they can only include four overseas players. Nonetheless, the team has several viable options, and any of them are capable of securing a spot in the final eleven.