When Nat Sciver-Brunt wrapped up the high-octane Mumbai-Delhi final of the Women’s Premier League with a memorable boundary, there was a sense of completeness. This was the equal opportunity women’s cricket had been crying for all these years. In its inaugural edition, the WPL delivered what sports demands the most — a thrilling finish. As Mumbai Indians sealed the win at the Brabourne, it was also a relief for India captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who finally had a close finish go her way.
There was, of course, a marked difference in the fitness levels of Indian players and the foreign stars like Meg Lanning, Sciver-Brunt, Ashleigh Gardener and Marizanne Kapp. It is in the pursuit of this fitness that Indians will find their biggest learnings year after year. It is in emulating and sharing the dressing room with the legends that young players will be taking their first steps towards one day winning an ICC title that can propel women’s cricket in India into the big league. However, there was little found wanting on part of the franchises — be it in social media engagements or getting the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Sania Mirza and Mahela Jayawardene to throw their weight behind their teams.
Most foreign players have spoken about the crowds that the BCCI managed to reel in and how that elevated the atmosphere like only an Indian crowd can. It is hoped that, slowly, every footfall will be ticketed after a season of free and partially paid entry prices this year. Also, given that a 94 metre six was hit in the course of the WPL, it would only be correct to push the boundaries out. For India, left arm spinner Saika Ishaque who finished with 15 wickets, only one behind the leading top wicket-taker, was the find of the WPL. A robust beginning has been made, and India will hope its Spring Slam goes toe to toe in offering sporting entertainment, just like the Summer Slam, ITP, does.
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