It was in August 2016 when the pink ball officially made its debut in India when the BCCI decided to carry out the experiment in Duleep Trophy 2016. However, all the talk in the town associated with this revolved around Men”s cricket so far. Women cricketers were still awaiting its long due of a fair share of limelight and opportunities.
Nevertheless, thanks to an excellent initiative taken up by some of the female stalwarts of Indian cricket, almost a year later pink ball has broadened its horizon into female cricket as well. Yes, pink ball made its debut in Women’s Pro Cricket League (WPCL), a T20 tournament which is currently going on in Mysore, Karnataka.
There are a total of 8 teams participating in this first of its kind event which began on June 12. The teams were divided into 2 groups with 4 teams each and each of them went on to play 3 league matches. The tournament has become an instant hit and caught the eyeballs of many as it witnessed some thrilling encounters during the league stage.
Two nail-biting clashes marked the end of the league stages of the Women’s Pro Cricket League in Mysore on Wednesday (June 14). Western Railways will now lock horns with NFR in the first semifinal on Thursday, while South Central Railways will take on Kerala in the second fixture.
Here”s what happened on Day 3 (June 14):
Western Railways beat Royal Phoenix Bangalore by seven runs at SJCE Ground. Hemalata’s 55-ball 91 which is also the tournament’s first half century and a second-wicket stand of 98 runs with Niranjana (30) was not enough for the Royal Phoenix as they fell short by seven runs in their chase of 152 and lost out on a semifinal berth. Lalitha Sharma’s 4 for 17, Seema Pujare’s 3 for 25 and Anjua Patil’s crucial wicket of Niranjana in the 16th over ensured that Akanksha Kohli’s XI was dismissed with three balls to spare. Pushpa Kiresur’s 44, Reema Malhotra’s 30* and Sulakshana Naik’s 29 had set up Western Railways” third successive win.
In another crucial game, South Central Railways beat Baroda by 20 runs at the Gangothri Glades. Asha Joy and Swagatika Rath returned combined figures of 5 for 25, and four other bowlers took a wicket each as Baroda collapsed in their chase of 83.
Kerala beat Skyreachers by eight wickets at SJCE Ground to confirm a semi-final spot. On the other hand, Spartans beat NFR by five runs at Gangothri Glades but that proved inconsequential as NFR qualified for the semifinals by virtue of a better net run-rate.
This tournament has been conceptualised by Vanitha Vr, Rakshitha Krishnappa, Sanjana Batni, Prathyusha Challuru, Sahana Pawar and Akanksha Kohli. While Vanitha is the opening batswoman of the Indian cricket team all others are the current Ranji players for Karnataka and they have also represented zone in their respective age groups.
The grand finale of the tournament will be played on June 16 wherein the champions will become richer by Rs 50,000/- whereas the runners-up will take home Rs 25,000/-. The event has created a great buzz so far which will certainly do wonders to the stride of taking Women”s cricket to the next level in India. Kudos to such an excellent intiative!
– by Yash Kashikar