Eastern Eye (UK)
PRAISE FOR ‘FESTIVAL OF WOMEN’S CRICKET’
INDIAN cricket administrators and pundits on Monday (27) hailed the Women’s Premier League (WPL) as a huge success after the inaugural tournament ended with the Mumbai Indians winning the trophy.
They beat the Delhi Capitals by seven wickets in a thrilling final last Sunday (26) to conclude the three-week Twenty20 extravaganza of the newest addition to women’s cricket.
England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt hit the winning runs to trigger wild celebrations at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium, which was nearly full to its capacity of 20,000.
“It was like a festival for women’s cricket which the entire world was celebrating. The atmosphere at the stadium was at par if not better than any big tournament final,” the IPL chairman Arun Dhumal said. “The way the tournament was conducted, the response to the matches, it went off as one of the best women’s cricket tournaments, even if you compare with the recently held World Cup As far as TV ratings are concerned, as far as competitive cricket is concerned, it was a great tournament.”
West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews was named player of the series for her 16 wickets and 271 runs.
Australia’s Meg Lanning, who led Delhi from the front with 345 runs including 35 in the final before being run out, scored the most runs.
Dhumal, former treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), called the WPL “game-changing” for the women’s game in the cricket-obsessed country of 1.4 billion. “It will pave the way for many young girls (in India) to make a career in the sport,” he said.
Former England men’s captain Michael Vaughan predicted a bright future for the WPL, tweeting: “The #WPL has been fantastic... Only going to get bigger & bigger.”
Mumbai and India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who became the first Indian cricketer to be signed by an overseas T20 franchise when she joined Sydney Thunder in the Australian Women’s Big Bash in 2016, said the WPL will make home players improve.
“The pressure that comes with playing at this level and how to stay calm is what the Indian payers should learn from their overseas teammates,” Kaur said. “Next season will be more exciting and people will be waiting for this.”
Mumbai coach and England great Charlotte Edwards, a former national captain, called the title win one of her “greatest moments in cricket”.