An Indian Premier League (IPL) style women’s T20 challenge match will be played at the Wankhede Stadium on May 22, ahead of the opening play-off game of the IPL. India internationals Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the two teams in a match that will showcase some of the most talented women cricketers.
Leading stars from Australia, New Zealand and England will be in action as they join their Indian counterparts for this match. The women’s game has seen a wave of popularity in the country following the national team’s run to the final of World Cup last year. With an eye on growing this wave, the BCCI is hosting the T20 Challenge to provide the women’s game a platform alongside its most popular tournament.
Speaking about this T20 Challenge game, Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL, said, “Even as IPL continues to roll like a well-oiled machine, over the last couple of weeks, efforts were made to put in place a similar structure for women cricketers. We were in talks with several Boards and I am pleased with the outcome. White Ferns captain Suzie Bates, attacking batter Sophie Devine, who holds the record for fastest half-century in women’s T20Is, Australia’s fine all-rounder Ellyse Perry, wicket-keeper bat Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney have confirmed their participation. Danni Wyatt and Daniel Hazell will add the English flavour.”
He further informed that the game will be played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and will be telecast live in India and across the world.
Diana Edulji, member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) and former India captain, said, “We are excited to announce the first-of-its-kind exhibition match involving our women cricketers. BCCI has been pulling out all stops to promote and nurture women’s cricket and this is a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women’s stars in the future. The IPL is the biggest and most popular league in the world and it has been a long-time endeavour to have a women’s league that can match the exuberance of IPL. Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishanmurthy among others rubbing shoulders with foreign stars will be a unique experience and something that we have not witnessed here in India.”
The match will kick start at 2.00 pm and will be followed by the IPL 2018 Qualifier 1.