New Delhi: Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the two teams in the one-off Women’s T20 Challenge on May 22 ahead of the IPL Qualifier 1 in Mumbai. The women’s game has seen a wave of popularity in the country following the national team’s run to the final of World Cup last year. With an eye on growing this wave, the BCCI is hosting the T20 Challenge to provide the women’s game a platform alongside its most popular tournament. It is also a way to test waters for a women’s IPL in near future. Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL, said, “Even as IPL continues to roll like a well-oiled machine, over the last couple of weeks, efforts were made to put in place a similar structure for women cricketers.”
“We were in talks with several Boards and I am pleased with the outcome. New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates, attacking batter Sophie Devine, who holds the record for fastest half-century in women’s T20Is, Australia’s all-rounder Ellyse Perry, wicket-keeper bat Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney have confirmed their participation. Danni Wyatt and Daniel Hazell will add the English flavour. This special game will be played at Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede Stadium and will be telecast live in India and across the world,” he said.