Following the continuous rise and popularity of women’s cricket since the World Cup in Egland last year, BCCI have introduced a one-off T20 game featuring the best players in the world labelled as ‘T20 Challenge’. While many called for BCCI to initiate a women’s IPL itself, for now, a one-off fixture will ideally work in testing the waters. It will be played between Trailblazers, led by Smriti Mandhana, and Supernovas, captained by Harmanpreet Kaur, prior to the first IPL qualifier at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday (May 22).
Ahead of the exhibition match, India and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli asked everyone to cheer for the two teams. In a video posted on the official IPL Twitter account, the 31-second clip calls on the duo to play with same passion that they’ve shown for the country and intensify the calls for a separate women’s T20 league. The tweet said, “A message from #TeamIndia Skipper @imVkohli for @mandhana_smriti & @ImHarmanpreet as they gear up for the Women’s T20 Challenge tomorrow. #IPLWomen #Supernovas #Trailblazers.”
Kohli, in the video, said, “Hello everyone. I am really excited to understand there’s been a T20 league for women announced. And there’s going to be a game on 22nd May at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It’s more like a teaser or trailer for that particular league.”
Wishing luck to Mandhana and Kaur, Kohli added, “Smriti and Harmanpreet are going to lead their respective teams so I wish you all the best. Take out your teams on the park and play with the passion that you have shown for the nation. Show people what they should look forward to when they come and watch the women’s T20 league as well. I wish you guys all the best and we will all be watching keenly. Good luck.”
Besides multiple India international women stars, players from Australia, England and New Zealand will be seen in action. Among those in action will be Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Danielle Wyatt, Alyssa Healy and Suzie Bates.
IPL Trailblazers: Alyssa Healy, Smriti Mandhana (c), Suzie Bates, Deepti Sharma, Beth Mooney, Jemimah Rodrigues, Danielle Hazell, Shikha Pandey, Lea Tahuhu, Jhulan Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Dayalan Hemalatha.
IPL Supernovas: Danielle Wyatt, Mithali Raj, Meg Lanning, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Pooja Vastrakar, Megan Schutt, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia.