The announcement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India that an exhibition Women’s T20 Challenge match would be played before Qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 has led to much excitement.
International stars including Suzie Bates, Ellyse Perry and Danni Wyatt have been named to feature in the game at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on 22 May. India’s T20 captain and vice-captain, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana respectively, are set to lead the two teams.
Some of women's cricket's biggest stars will take part in a Women's T20 Challenge before next week's first IPL Qualifier, with @mandhana_smriti and @ImHarmanpreet to lead the two sides.https://t.co/KGijzlOk2L pic.twitter.com/NWEkyl8Djc— ICC (@ICC) May 15, 2018
"The opportunity to play ahead of the men's IPL match, it was hard to turn that down," said New Zealand's Sophie Devine, who will be a part of the match. "The game really is going global. We've seen the Women's Big Bash League, the Kia Super League, and hopefully in a few years, the women's IPL. It just shows that the women's game is on the up."
Perry, who was part of the Australia team that beat England to lift the Twenty20 International tri-series title in Mumbai in April, was looking forward to "another awesome development for women's cricket".
Really looking forward to heading back to Mumbai early next week, another awesome development for women’s cricket. https://t.co/i325sn3j7p— Ellyse Perry (@EllysePerry) May 15, 2018
Megan Schutt, the No.1 bowler on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Bowling Rankings for women, was happy that her job would be just a little bit easier than usual in India.
How good!! 🙌🏼 Bloody excited to be a part of the T20 Exhibition match... also happy that either @ImHarmanpreet or @mandhana_smriti will be on THE SAME team as me 💁🏼😅 #pickmepls #IPL https://t.co/SaNoAg8TA9— Megan Schutt (@megan_schutt) May 16, 2018
Wyatt and Bates were already making plans for Mumbai.
Can’t wait for this! 😬 Back to Mumbai ☺️🇮🇳 🏏 https://t.co/23YxoQmxFT— Danielle Wyatt (@Danni_Wyatt) May 15, 2018
Scenessss 😍😍 See you soon for some tandoori chicken and a tea ☕️👍🏽— Danielle Wyatt (@Danni_Wyatt) May 15, 2018
Amy Satterthwaite and the recently retired Alex Blackwell won't be among those playing, but they were excited about what the game meant for the future of T20 cricket in India.
All the best @ImHarmanpreet & @mandhana_smriti as you captain two sides in what will be a brilliant T20 Exhibition match before @IPL qualifier! Signs @BCCI have intentions to create Womens’s IPL! Gd luck Aussies @EllysePerry Mooney @megan_schutt & @ahealy77 #WomenInSport #Cricket https://t.co/6QleitE96Q— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) May 15, 2018