The third edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge, or the Women’s IPL, is all set to be staged in Sharjah from November 4 to 9, 2020. The event will see three teams battle it out against each other in a league stage that will have three matches, with the top two sides advancing to the finals.
The event was originally scheduled to be held in May earlier this year but was postponed due to the rising coronavirus cases in the country. As the Women’s IPL clashes with the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, the tournament will not see members of the T20 World Cup winning Australian squad in action. However, there will be no shortage of star power as overseas internationals such as Danielle Wyatt, Sune Luus, Sophie Ecclestone, Leigh Kasperek along with Indian players Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Mithali Raj will come together and fight it out for the title.
Three teams – Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity, will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana and Mithali Raj.
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How do the teams stack up?
The two-time winners, Supernovas will once again start as the favourites. They have two of the most dangerous Indian batters in Harmanpreet and Rodrigues in their squad, while the middle order will further be strengthened by the services of Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Atapatti and Shashikala Siriwardene. However, it is the bowling unit that will be the biggest strength for the unit. With Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav and overseas fast bowlers Shakera Selman (West Indies) and Ayabonga Khaka (South Africa) in the team, the Supernovas pack a punch and have all their bases covered.
Supernovas have odds of 2.00 in their first clash against Velocity.
The most exciting signing in the Women’s IPL is that of Thai cricketer Nattakan Chantam, who will turn out for the Trailblazers this season. Though she might not get a chance to feature in the XI, the experience that she will carry back will be one for the ages. In Mandhana and Punam Raut, the Trailblazers have a dangerous opening pair, while Deandra Dottin, Richa Ghosh and Harleen Deol will lead the charge in the middle order. The fast bowling unit has plenty of experience as Jhulan Goswami and Ecclestone will share the new ball. The spin department, despite the presence of Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Dayalan Hemalatha might prove to be a weakness, however.
Trailblazers have odds of 1.83 in their clash against Velocity.
One of the best T20I openers in the world, Danielle Wyatt, who has two hundreds and seven fifties in her T20 career, is likely to open for the Velocity along with Shafali Verma, who set the T20 world Cup earlier this year on fire with her big stroke play. If either of the two are dismissed early, they have the experience of Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy to guide them through and give the team a solid foundation. The side, however, lacks a solid new ball bowler to partner Shikha Pandey with Bangladesh’s Jahanara Alam often guilty of leaking runs. The spin department, though, has plenty of big names such as Ekta Bisht, Kasperek and Sune Luus.
Velocity have odds of 1.83 in their match against Trailblazers.
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Players to watch out for…
Jemimah Rodrigues (Supernovas)
The 20-year old has established herself in the Indian team with her consistency and fearless approach. She has 930 runs in 44 T20Is with six fifties and has been crucial in the middle order ever since she made her debut in 2018. The youngster got a few starts in the T20 World Cup, but was unable to carry on and get a big score, and will be eager to make a strong comeback. She had scored 77 in 48 balls in her team’s win against Velocity last season.
Deepti Sharma (Trailblazers)
The all-rounder can be the X-factor in her side as she can contribute with both bat and ball consistently. She has 66 wickets thus far in her T20 career at an economy rate of less than 6. Sharma had also impressed in her maiden outing in the Women’s Cricket Super League in England last year, smashing 106 runs at an average of 53 with a strike rate of over 145. The small ground in Sharjah will aid big hits, and the spinner will also find plenty of help from the slow deck.
Danielle Wyatt (Velocity)
One of the most lethal opening batters in world cricket, Wyatt has plenty of experience and will be a vital cog in the line-up. She has played 213 games and strike at over 122, which goes up to 128 in wins. She can also be handy with the ball in hand, having picked up 83 wickets thus far across all T20 games.
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