#AaliRe...Champions Mumbai Indians geared up for WPL title defence

#AaliRe...Champions Mumbai Indians geared up for WPL title defence

 
WPL 2023 Champions Mumbai Indians gear up for a repeat performance in WPL 2024 Harmanpreet Kaur

Mumbai Indians made a dream start in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League, starting their campaign with five wins on the trot including a record 143-run win in their opener vs the Gujarat Giants. MI were an unstoppable juggernaut for most of the first season, going on to win the title in front of a passionate and full house home crowd at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

Ahead of season two, the team is all set for a spirited title defence when they start the season with a rematch of last year’s final vs Delhi Capitals in the season opener in Bengaluru on the 23rd of February. Team fixtures:

Leading by example

  • Captain Harmanpreet Kaur was in sublime form in the first edition, leading the team from the front and finishing the tournament with more than 250 runs. Her tally of 281 runs was the highest by an Indian. 

  • Along with head coach Charlotte Edwards and mentor and bowling coach Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet will look to carry on the top form from the opening season while encouraging the players to play their natural brand of cricket.

  • Devieka Palshikaar and Lydia Greenway will also continue in their roles as batting and fielding coach respectively and continue to guide the players.

All round quality

MI are stacked with allrounders in their squad and they will have the world’s top two ranked all rounders in women’s T20I rankings: Hayley Matthews and Amelia Kerr turn out for them for the 2nd year in a row. Nat Sciver-Brunt, who is ranked 7th in the T20I all-rounder rankings, will also look to reprise her form from the first edition.

Matthews, the reigning ICC T20I women’s cricketer of the year, was the Player of the Tournament in the inaugural edition, while Sciver-Brunt was the player of the final. Matthews also finished as the leading wicket taker.

Issy Wong, who took the first hat trick in the tournament in the qualifier last year vs UP Warriors, and the big-hitting Chloe Tryon are the other overseas all rounders in a team full of match winners. 

Core remains intact

With the leadership group being big on continuity, MI retained as many as 13 players from the inaugural year, including the entire playing XI from the final.

Saika Ishaque, who broke through in the tournament-winning run, and has since gone on to play for India, will be joined by her India team mates Pooja Vastrakar, Yastika Bhatia and Amanjot Kaur.

The team has a strong local flavour too in the form of two Mumbai players, Humairaa Kaazi and Fatima Jaffer. 

Addition of an all-time great

Among the five players who became a part of the team at the auction this year is an all-time great in Shabnim Ismail. Ismail has been the fastest bowler in women’s cricket for more than a decade and is the all-time leading wicket taker for South Africa women in international cricket.

Speaking about her addition, Charlotte Edwards said, “The extra pace is something that we wanted. She is one of those players who brings a lot to the group. I’m really excited about having her on board.”

Meet the new faces

There’s also an interesting mix of new Indian faces that have become a part of the team ahead of the second instalment. Apart from Fatima, Sajana Sajeevan, Keerthana Balakrishnan and Amandeep Kaur are the new additions to the squad this year.

Amandeep Kaur is the first left arm wrist spinner ever to be a part of the WPL, while Keerthana is the first active Tamil Nadu cricketer to become a part of the tournament.

Squad

Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Yastika Bhatia, Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Issy Wong, Chloe Tryon, Shabnim Ismail, Pooja Vastrakar, Amanjot Kaur, Saika Ishaque, Humairaa Kaazi, Jintimani Kalita, Priyanka Bala, Fatima Jaffer, Keerthana Balakrishnan, Sajana Sajeevan and Amandeep Kaur.

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