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WPL 2 promises to be bigger, better

The stage is set for the second edition of the WPL.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 15:26 IST

Bengaluru: The Indian Premier League (IPL) revolutionalised men’s cricket in ways beyond most people’s imagination. Without dwelling into the details, the Women’s Premier League got underway 15 years after IPL’s birth with a similar intent. 

Mumbai was the host for the first edition of the much-awaited T20 tournament for women last year and the expectations of unearthing new talent, expanding the base of the pyramid and drawing crowds for women's cricket, among others in the checklist were ticked.   

From hosting the entire event in one city, the second edition of Women's Premier League (WPL) is all set to begin at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday with the first 11 league matches to be hosted here before the rest of the ties, including the final, move to New Delhi. While the number of teams - Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gujarat Giants and UP Warriorz - remains the same, the mini player auction held in December 2023 broke new records. 

The most significant of the lot being India’s Kashvee Gautam becoming the most expensive uncapped player by fetching Rs 2 crore from Gujarat Giants though she would be missing the tournament due to an injury. She has been replaced by another uncapped all-rounder Sayali Satghare at a reserve price of Rs 10 lakh. Karnataka’s Vrinda Dinesh was close behind as she went to UP Warriorz for Rs 1.3 cr.  

Though it was the regular newsmakers from the likes of Smrithi Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur to Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry who grabbed attention, it was players such as Shreyanka Patil, Minu Manni and Titas Sadhu who stole the limelight. It is expected to be no different this time too, as the young guns look to outshine their experienced peers. Among them, Phoebe Litchfield and Mannat Kashyap (both GG) look promising. Their team-mate, seasoned player Veda Krishnamurthy, making a comeback after three years will hope to resurrect her career and give some cheer to the home crowd in the first leg of the event. 

Since the second year of WPL promises greater things, here are a few statistics from the inaugural year that the players will be keen to emulate.

DC’s skipper Meg Lanning, now retired from international cricket, was the orange cap holder for scoring the most runs (345 in 9 games), while the purple cap went to MI’s Hayley Matthews for taking 16 wickets. DC women’s 223/2 against RCB was the highest team total while Devine’s 94-meter six was the longest. 

The season’s opener will be played between defending champions MI led by Kaur and last year’s runners-up DC led by Lanning with the clash scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm. Sports leagues in the country go hand-in-hand with entertainment and here too a slew of movie stars, singers are lined-up to perform at the opening ceremony at 6:30 pm after which it's time for 'lights, camera, play'!

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(Published 22 February 2024, 15:26 IST)

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