After having to wait for an extended period of 6-7 years, with the women in blue enduring a lot of heartbreaks in the knockout stages of an ICC tournament, the demand to have the introduction of a franchise league for women’s cricket in India gained a lot of momentum and support. A few trials were conducted through the Women’s T20 Challenge (2018–2022), taking place before the playoffs of the IPL season.
Finally, the day had come for the auctions of the inaugural edition of the WPL, scheduled for February 13th, just a day after India’s opening encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2023 T20 World Cup. The inaugural WPL was scheduled to kick off on March 4, 2023, marking a historic day for women’s cricket in India with a clash between the Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Giants.
WPL First Half Teams Standings
With all eyes on RCB in the auctions, MI quietly sneaked in and built a powerful all-round team, roping in top-quality players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Pooja Vastrakar at a very underrated price. The skipper did repay the trust laid in her by the management, winning 4 out of 4 games comprehensively with a big margin and making MI the only unbeaten team in the season so far at the halfway stage under her leadership. Regarding DC, the leadership duties were handed over to Meg Lanning. Having the experience of leading the formidable Australian side to great success, it was time for her to replicate the same with DC.
UP Warriorz had a very decent auction; they picked up overseas stars with the likes of Healy, McGrath, Ecclestone, Ismail, and Harris. Appointing Alyssa Healy as their skipper, they had the most iconic start to their campaign by clinching a nail-biter against the Gujarat Giants and are already punching above their weight this season. GG had a very disappointing start to the season, and losing their Skipper Beth Mooney to an injury in the very first game of the season was a huge blow for them. RCB, after having an eye-catching day at the auctions, have failed to live up to their expectations under the leadership of Smriti Mandhana, despite having assembled a star-studded batting unit.
Team-wise BPB vs BPD Analysis
One of the major reasons why MI are able to dominate their opposition in such a comprehensive manner and sit comfortably at the top is their impressive BPB value of 3.4 and the fact that they concede a wicket after every 6-7 overs with a BPD value of 40+ balls. Placing them way ahead of others in the first quadrant. DC, the second-placed team in the points table also has an impressive figure as they score a boundary after every 4 to 5 balls, which have reflected in the batting performances in the season. Due to their BPD value, i.e., around 22–23 balls, which means DC tends to lose a wicket every 3 overs in the innings, placing them in the first quadrant.
UP, the dark horse of the season, is right up there with DC in the first quadrant, with a BPD value of around 22 to 24 balls, which means they lose a wicket around every 3 to 4 overs in an inning. They also have a very decent BPB value of around 4.8, which means they manage to send the balls to the rope at least once an over. RCB have a fine BPB value of around 4.8, which is similar to the Warriorz, but they are way below in terms of BPD value of around 12-13 balls, which means RCB lose a wicket almost every 2 overs, placing them in the 3rd quadrant, which is a big reason why they have failed to post a competitive total or get over the line in a run chase.
In a tournament where talent meets opportunity, it is a great occasion, especially for the domestic players in India, to showcase their skills on the big stage and let the world take note of their talent. The left-arm spinner from Bengal, Saika Ishaque, playing for the Mumbai Indians, is one of the standout players of the season, coming from the domestic circuit. Tanuja Kanwar (GG), Shreyanka Patil (RCB), and Kanika Ahuja (RCB) are some of the other players to have made an impression, coming from the domestic circuit. Tara Norris (DC) is another player, coming from the USA as an Associate Nation, who made a strong impression by picking up the first-ever 5-wicket haul in herstory against RCB in just the 2nd match of the season.