BCCI is all set to continue the experiment of hosting women's T20 fixtures during the 2019 IPL season. Last season, Harmanpreet Kaur captained IPL Supernovas played Smriti Mandhana-led IPL Trailblazers where the former clinched the thriller by three wickets in the one-off encounter.
The Board of Cricket Control In India (BCCI) are going to continue the exercise of conducting T20 exhibition matches for women, involving top India and international women’s cricketers during the upcoming 2019 edition of the IPL. During last year’s IPL also, BCCI had organised a one-off Women’s T20 Challenge game at the Wankhede Stadium, with the board stepping up the effort with more set of matches this time around.
Cricinfo reported that the planning for a full fledged women’s T20 league competition in India, like the eight-team Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia or the six-team Kia Super League in the UK, has been underway for a few months now. But the odds of running are very minute as there are concerns over the depth of India’s domestic pool of players.
Although, The report goes on to state that once again there might be only two teams in the women’s games with a best-of-three series through the course of the IPL fixtures. Similar to the format of the IPL, a maximum of four overseas players will be allowed in each of the playing XI's.
Despite receiving a green signal from BCCI and Committee of Administrators (CoA), the delay over the final approval over the women’s games is majorly due to unavailability of the final IPL schedule, which is subject to the Election Commission of India announcing the date for the General Elections. Once the schedule is finalised, the organisers can go ahead on deciding how many women’s games can be conducted and the no. of players required.
Interestingly during IPL 2018, the one-off Women’s T20 Challenge was played prior to one of the Qualifiers in Mumbai with IPL Supernovas and IPL Trailblazers being the two participating teams. Harmanpreet Kaur captained the Supernovas with Smriti Mandhana leading the Trailblazers side. The fixture was conducted as a test for starting an IPL-style women’s T20 league following the success and popularity of the India women team after the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup. Although,the 2 PM start didn’t get attracted the desired crowd presence despite being telecast live by host broadcaster Star Sports.
With New Zealand’s Suzie Bates being the player of the match despite being on the losing side. The match also featured other popular names in Australia’s Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, England’s Danielle Wyatt and Danielle Hazell, and New Zealand’s Sophie Devine and Lea Tahuhu.
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