mid-day highlights the inaugural Women’s Premier League’s impact players
Hayley Matthews, Meg Lanning, Sophie Ecclestone and Nat Sciver-Brunt
Hayley Matthews (MI) Matches: 10, Runs: 271, Wickets: 16
The Mumbai Indians all-rounder was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament as well as the Purple Cap holder (most wickets). The West Indian, who is No. 2 in the T20I all-rounder rankings, collected four three-wicket hauls and crossed the 30-run mark four times which shows her remarkable consistency with both bat and ball. The off-spinner also boasts of a superb economy rate of 5.94. To top it all, she took three wickets in the final to help MI win.
Nat Sciver-Brunt (MI Matches: 10, Runs: 332, Wickets: 10
The all-rounder emerged as the mainstay of the MI batting line-up, pulling them out of adversity on multiple occasions, including match-defining innings in both the Eliminator as well as the Final where she scored an unbeaten 72 and a 60 not out respectively. The English woman was the player of the match in both games. She also has the highest batting average of the tournament at 66.40 with three fifties and five thirty-plus scores. Without her contribution with the bat in the final, MI would not have got their hands on the trophy.
Meg Lanning (DC) Matches: 9, Runs: 345
The DC skipper and opener finished as the Orange Cap (most runs in the tournament) holder. She was extremely consistent throughout, going past 30 runs in six out of the nine matches she played, reaching double figures every time. Her key decisions as captain combined with her ability with the bat, helped DC reach the final as table toppers at the end of the league stage. Then, despite posting a low total in the summit clash, the Australian’s sharp captaincy and bowling changes saw DC in with a chance right up to the last over.
Saika Ishaque (MI) Matches: 10, Wickets: 15
MI’s left-arm tweaker from Bengal lit up the WPL with some scintillating spin bowling. She has emerged as the most impressive uncapped player of the season. For much of the tournament, Ishaque was leading the list of wicket-takers thanks to two three-wicket hauls and a four-wicket show in the first four matches. The three-wicket hauls came against DC and UPW, both of whom qualified for the playoffs. Interestingly, each time Saika picked a wicket, MI ended up winning the match.
Sophie Ecclestone (UPW) Matches: 9, Wickets: 16
The UPW all-rounder, who is the No. 1 ranked T20I bowler, finished tied with Hayley Matthews for most wickets in the season despite having played a match less. The English left-arm spinner did not go wicket-less in a single match. She picked a four-wicket haul against RCB as well as six wickets in three outings against eventual champions MI.
Harmanpreet Kaur (MI) Matches: 10, Runs: 281
The MI and India skipper was the second highest run-getter for her side, starting hot with three fifties in the first five matches. Kaur’s aggressive batting saw MI take off with a five-match winning streak and end up securing a playoff spot before any other team. Kaur’s hands-on captaincy ensured MI won eight out of 10 matches, the most by any team. Another testament to Kaur’s leadership is the fact that four of the five top wicket-takers in the WPL are from MI. In the low-scoring final, Kaur’s 37 came as a crucial contribution.
Also read: 'Was waiting to win something as a captain': Harmanpreet Kaur on MI's WPL triumph