Top 5 Emerging Indian Players of WPL 2023
The inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League ended on a thumping note as the MI Paltan lifted the prestigious trophy by outclassing every other opponent in the tournament. Mumbai Indians outwitted the traditional rivals Delhi Capitals in a nail-biting final encounter to create history and claim the maiden WPL title.
Following the footsteps of the Indian Premier League, WPL had a blockbuster inaugural season where we witnessed the Indian women’s cricket team players going toe-to-toe with the global female superstars to consummate the T20 carnival.
Encouragement of domestic talent by providing such a grand event was one of the main objectives of this tournament and the BCCI has found major success in it. Hence, Parimatch News brings you the list of five emerging Indian players with the most impressive campaign in the 2023 edition of the Women’s Premier League.
#5 Shreyanka Patil (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
This tournament turned out to be the breakthrough point of Shreyanka’s budding career as she never drew such praise and limelight for her all-round skills before. RCB management was pretty impressed with her bowling performance in the 2022 Senior Women’s T20 Challenge and entrusted her with big responsibilities.
The 20-year-old was not the first choice of the gaffer Ben Sawyer for the playing eleven as he kept her on the bench for the opening game. However, the poor form of the Karnataka-based outfit forced the management to make certain changes to the team combination and introduce the youngster to the WPL for the first time.
On her debut day, she lit fireworks against a high-profile MI bowling unit and went on to score 23 runs off just 15 balls to finish the RCB innings. Patil who opened her WPL run account with a four on the maiden ball did not get enough opportunities with willow in further stages and managed to score only 66 runs with a commendable strike rate of 151.21.
In her following appearance against Gujarat Giants, she dismissed big fishes Sophia Dunkley (65) and Harleen Deol to barge into the wicket-taking charts. RCB roster was bolstered with plenty of big names however, it was Shreyanka who emerged as the highest wicket-taker after scalping six wickets from seven appearances under her helm.
#4 K Anjali Sarvani (UP Warriorz)
The star Railways bowler was on top of her game at the grandest stage of Women’s T20 and made headlines through her stagnant bowling performances. She was roped in by the Lucknow-based franchise at the auction price of 55 lakhs making her the third-highest-paid Indian player in the roster behind Deepti Sharma and Devika Vaidya.
Anjali dismissed the in-form Gujarat batter Harleen Deol to celebrate her maiden WPL wicket in UP’s narrow three-wicket triumph. She featured in the Warrioz’s all nine fixtures and ended up with an individual tally of four wickets at an economy rate of 7.91 which was also the second-best in the team.
The Kurnool-born left-arm pacer was the most economical UP bowler in the eliminator clash with bowling figures of 1 for 17 in the three-over quota. Her brilliant diving-catch effort at backward square leg during the same match generated widespread buzz on the Internet when the third umpire flagged it off as not out.
#3 Kanika Ahuja (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Before turning up for the WPL challenge, the 20-year-old had a huge reputation for being a hard-hitting middle-order batter in the domestic circuit. Bangalore was indulged in an engaging battle with Mumbai Indians on the auction table but eventually outbid their familiar foes to secure the service of the Punjab-born all-rounder.
However, Kanika’s dream campaign started with a nightmare as she was dismissed on golden duck by Tara Norris in her debut game against Delhi Capitals. She bounced back in the very next fixture and played a crucial cameo of 22 in 13 balls to take RCB towards a respectable first-inning total of 155. Her most notable performance came in the sixth fixture where she had a lion’s share in Bangalore being able to register their first-ever win in WPL.
While chasing the target of 136 against UP Warriorz, RCB suffered an early collapse and were 43/3 at one stage but then the Punjabi phenomenon arrived and conveniently guided them to victory. Her match-winning knock of 46 runs consisting of 8 fours and a solitary six at the strike rate of 153.33 also earned her the honor to become the first RCB Women to win the Player of the Match award. Ahuja got only a single over to bowl in the entire tournament but still managed to fetch two wickets to finish the campaign on a high note.
#2 Richa Ghosh (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The 19-year-old wicket-keeper batter is the third and perhaps the brightest RCB player to feature in this list of emerging talents. The Women’s cricket fraternity was left stunned when the Karnataka-based outfit did not hesitate to spend a whopping sum of 1.9 crores on the recent U-19 world cup sensation.
Ghosh who occasionally bats up in the order did not get any chance to come out with the willow early as the RCB batting lineup was already stacked with big names on the top. It took her five innings to finally get on the individual mark of 30 runs when she ran a rampage against the mighty DC bowling unit. The Siliguri-born youngster played a quickfire knock of unbeaten 37 runs in just 16 balls and had a crucial 74-run partnership with Ellyse Perry for the fourth wicket.
After gaining momentum in the Delhi game, she then went on to replicate the same in the following fixture to conquest maiden triumph for the Namma Reds. Richa arrived at the battlefield amidst the top-order collapse of 60/4 and stayed on the crease until the ultimate target of 136 was achieved at DY Patil Stadium. Ghosh’s impressive campaign with the heavyweights has caught the eyes of the cricket universe and will surely have a long run as the first-choice wicket-keeping option for the national side.
#1 Saika Ishaque (Mumbai Indians)
Saika was toiling hard in domestic cricket right from the age of 17 and finally got her well-deserved recognition after diligent efforts over 10 years. When the inaugural WPL edition was set to kick-start, nobody expected her to achieve this much success but the Kolkata girl defied the odds and the rest was history.
The 27-year-old left-arm spinner made her debut in the inaugural fixture between the neighborhood rivals Mumbai and Gujarat and became the first player to fetch a four-fer in WPL.
Her incredible performance of 4 for 11 against the Giants initiated a dream run for the Paltan Diva as she stole the show with 12 dismissals from the first four games. However, it was followed by a wicketless run of three straight games for her but she somehow managed to get back to form right before the doom of playoffs.
Ishaque had a golden opportunity to get off the mark in finals and claim the purple cap but unfortunately, she couldn’t register a single breakthrough in the showdown. The former Trailblazer knight fell short of the prestigious individual honor from the shortest distance and finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets from 10 appearances under her name.
The extravagant caravan of the Women’s Premier League has given wings to Saika as the girl who belongs to Park Circus slum of Kolkata is closer than ever to her lifelong dream of wearing the Indian jersey.