On a night when Harmanpreet Kaur-led Mumbai Indians lifted the Women’s Premier League trophy, not only did the Women in Blue and Gold win, but it was a victory for women’s cricket. The successful conclusion of the inaugural Women’s Premier League ensured women’s cricket was watched in every Indian household.
Before the tournament began, we had maybe two or three Indian female cricketers like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Smriti Mandhana, who were household names. But this competition has helped unearth the Saika Ishaques of the world, the Shreyanka Patils of the world, and the Alice Capseys of the world. They have reached the homes of billions of people all over the world. Their stunning efforts have generated the loudest roars in the stadium.
During the 3-week WPL, we saw some scintillating performances from the best female cricketers. From Issy Wong’s incredible hat trick against UP Warriorz in the Eliminator to Meg Lanning’s incredible batting throughout the WPL 2023.
In this article, we will have a look at the best-playing XI of the first-ever Women’s Premier League.
Openers: Yastika Bhatia (wk) and Hayley Matthews
The most successful opening combination of the WPL, Mumbai Indians’ Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews, are a force to reckon with. The left-right combo destroyed the bowling lineup of all the other teams in the WPL.
The left-handed Yastika returned 214 runs at a strike rate of 112.04, making multiple pivotal contributions that saw her win the Emerging Player of the Season award.
While her opening partner, Matthews, made contributions with the bat as well as the ball. The West Indian all-rounder took 16 wickets and amassed 271 runs in just ten games. She was also awarded the “Purple Cap” for taking the most wickets in the entire season.
Middle Order: Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning, and Nat Sciver-Brunt
The opening duo of Delhi Capitals, i.e., Shafali Verma and Meg Lanning, was the second most successful opening combination after the Mumbai duo of Yastika Bhatia and Hayley Matthews.
Both Shafali and Lanning had a very successful WPL. Meg Lanning, leading the Delhi franchisee, took the team to the final of the tournament. Besides, she was also awarded for her wonderful and exquisite batting with the “Orange Cap.” Lanning made 345 runs in just nine innings at an average of 49.29.
Shafali Verma, who is creating waves with her attacking style of play, vowed cricket fans all across the world with her elegant strokes in the WPL. Shafali garnered 252 runs in nine innings at a stunning strike rate of 185.29.
The third player that holds the middle-order fort for this combined playing XI from the WPL is Mumbai Indians’ all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt. England international Natalie Sciver-Brunt took 10 wickets and scored 332 runs in 10 matches. Sciver-Brunt was adjudged the “Player of the Series” for her all-round performance. Sciver-Brunt played a magnificent knock in the final of the WPL to take her team to victory.
Lower-middle Order: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Harleen Deol, and Shreyanka Patil
With her aggressive and attacking leadership style, Harmanpreet Kaur-led Mumbai Indians won the inaugural Women’s Premier League. Harmanpreet Kaur didn’t put a foot wrong in the entire WPL campaign. After smashing a blistering half-century in the opening match of the WPL, Harmanpreet Kaur didn’t put a foot wrong. Be it her leadership skills or her elegant batting, she was always in top form. Kaur scored 281 runs in 9 innings at an average of 40.14.
Gujarat Giants, who had a terrible season winning just 2 matches in the group stage, had one positive, i.e., Harleen Deol. The 24-year-old had an excellent season amassing 202 runs in just 8 matches at an impressive strike rate of 125.47.
Shreyanka Patil was the only positive for the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore in an otherwise forgetful campaign. The youngster showed immense maturity in tense situations to take her team to victory from the clutches of defeat. A player for the future, Shreyanka’s incredible six against Gujarat Giants was quite reminiscent of AB de Villier’s legendary lap shot on the leg side.
Spinners: Deepti Sharma and Saika Ishaque
Team India star Deepti Sharma had a decent WPL campaign. She didn’t quite play as per the high standards set by her. The off-spinner took nine wickets in nine matches at a strike rate of 23.22.
The breakout star of the Women’s Premier League 2023, Saika Ishaque, also makes the list. The left-arm orthodox spinner took 15 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 16.27. Bought at her base price of INR 10 lakhs, Saika became the first cricketer to take 4 wickets in a WPL match.
Having an economy rate of 7.00, the left-arm spinner is considered the future of India.
Fast Bowlers: Shikha Pandey and Issy Wong
Young pace sensation from England Issy Wong set the WPL stage on fire with her fiery bowling spells that dismantled many batting lineups. Aside from picking up the first hat trick in the competition’s history, Wong was at her penetrative best throughout WPL 2023. She finished with 15 wickets from 10 games at an economy rate of 6.46.
Sharing the new ball duties with Wong is Team India star Shikha Pandey. She was the best pacer Indian pacer on display at the inaugural WPL. With her accurate and intelligent bowling, she captured 10 wickets in just 9 matches at an average of 21.10.
Best Playing XI of the WPL: Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews, Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Harleen Deol, Shreyanka Patil, Deepti Sharma, Saika Ishaque, Shikha Pandey and Issy Wong.