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Monday, February 26, 2024

T20 WC stars continue stunning form at WPL


A host of highly-ranked T20I stars are lighting up the ongoing Women’s Premier League with the bat, while an uncapped local is upstaging her more well-known contemporaries with the ball.

The inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) reached the halfway stage on Monday when the Delhi Capitals defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets, and it should come as no surprise that a group of players that performed well at last month’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup are once again shining in the domestic tournament in India.

The top 10 leading run scorers at the WPL all played at the T20 showcase in South Africa, with a trio of Australians leading the way:

The Australia captain Meg Lanning has once again proved to be a model of consistency in India, with the 30-year-old helping herself to two half-centuries already at the top of the Delhi Capitals batting order.

Lanning’s form has helped the Capitals to four wins from their five games thus far and has them well placed to feature in the knockout stages. She has scored 221 runs and is ranked fourth.

Not much has gone right for Royal Challengers Bangalore at the tournament so far, but the efforts of Ellyse Perry with the bat (195 runs) have proven to be at least one shining light.

The talented right-hander has two half-centuries to her name and has also hit the second most sixes (seven) at the tournament.

The Australia opener Alyssa Healy (185 runs) loves the big stage and this was on show when she helped herself to the biggest score of the tournament so far with an unbeaten 96 for UP Warriorz against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

A second half-century for the tournament followed that knock when Healy amassed 58 against the Mumbai Indians and the 32-year-old usually holds her form once she finds it.

The India youngster Shafali Varma (179 runs) has hit more sixes than anyone (10) at the tournament thus far and also boasts the best strike rate (190.42) of any batter inside the top 10 for most runs.

Shafali’s best knock for the Delhi Capitals came against Gujarat Giants, when the 19-year-old smashed five sixes on her way to an unbeaten 76 from just 28 deliveries.

The form of Hayley Matthews (168 runs) has been a major reason behind Mumbai’s unbeaten start to the tournament, with the West Indies superstar performing well with bat and ball in every match.

Matthews’ unbeaten 77 against Royal Challengers Bangalore has been her best knock with the bat thus far.

While Sophie Devine (153) may have been slightly below her best during the recent T20 World Cup, the Kiwi veteran has made up for that with a string of decent scores for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The best of those was a quickfire 66 against Gujarat Giants and RCB will be hoping the experienced right-hander can continue to thrive over the second half of the event.

The England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt (146 runs) has picked up where she left off at last month’s T20 World Cup by making a strong start to the WPL with both bat and ball.

Sciver-Brunt has only been dismissed once at the tournament so far and her average of 146 is easily the best of any batter.

The world’s top-ranked T20I batter has already made two scores in excess of 50 in India, with the best of those the unbeaten 90* she hit against the Delhi Capitals.

McGrath followed that with another half-century against the Delhi Capitals in a strong sign that the Australian is finding the middle of the bat with ease.

The aggressive right-hander Harleen Deol (133 runs) has proven a revelation coming in at first drop for Gujarat Giants, with a quickfire knock of 67 against Royal Challengers Bangalore proving her best effort so far.

Harmanpreet Kaur (129 runs) has two half-centuries for Mumbai Indians so far and one of those innings was unbeaten, leaving the classy India batter with an imposing average of 129.

It is a similar story on the list for most wickets, although an uncapped Indian spinner is outshining her more fancied rivals by leading all-comers with the most scalps during the first half of the WPL.

The left-arm orthodox spinner Saika Ishaque (12 wickets) has proven to be a revelation at the WPL, helping herself to 12 wicket from just four matches for the Mumbai Indians.

Ishaque’s best haul came when she took 4/11 in Mumbai’s tournament opener against the Gujarat Giants.

The fans are so used to seeing Sophie Ecclestone (8 wickets) at the top of these lists, so they should not be surprised to see the premier white-ball bowler in the world work her way into the lead by the end of the tournament.

Ecclestone collected impressive figures of 4/13 for UP Warriorz against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The experienced pacer Shikha Pandey (8 wickets) has collected consecutive three-wicket hauls in her last two games for the Delhi Capitals and those efforts have her side well placed in second position on the table.

The West Indies star Hayley Matthews ( 7 wickets) has picked up back-to-back three-wicket hauls, with the best of those the 3/19 against the Delhi Capitals.

Just how far Mumbai can go at this tournament could come down to how well Matthews performs during the knockout stages.

The left-arm seamer Tara Norris (7 wickets) left her mark on the event during Delhi Capitals’ tournament opener when she collected one of only three five-wicket hauls of the WPL so far.

Norris has been a bit quieter since that tremendous effort, but is still a key member of the Capitals’ lineup.

The Kiwi all-rounder Amelia Kerr (6 wickets) continues to get the job done and her form with both bat and ball has been one of the major reasons behind Mumbai’s unbeaten start to the tournament.

Kerr has a trio of two-wicket hauls so far, displaying the consistency of the talented 22-year-old.

The South Africa pacer Marizanne Kapp (6 wickets) produced a Player of the Match effort recently when collecting superb figures of 5/15 during Delhi Capitals’ victory over the Gujarat Giants.

Kapp is renowned as being a big game performer, so one should not be surprised to see the all-rounder peak during the knockout stages of the event.

The pacer Kim Garth (5 wickets) has been an excellent pickup by the Gujarat Giants, with the Australian delivering a standout performance when she picked up 5/36 against the UP Warriorz.

The India spinner Deepti Sharma (5 wickets) is doing a bulk of the heavy lifting with the ball for the UP Warriorz thus far, with her best effort coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore when she collected 3/26 in a commanding 10-wicket victory for her side.

Izzy Wong (Mumbai Indians), Heather Knight (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Ash Gardner (Gujarat Giants) all have four wickets for the tournament so far.

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