Women’s Big Bash League 2021-22: From Harmanpreet Kaur to Smriti Mandhana, a look at how Indians fared

Indian representation in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) 2021-22 was at its all-time high with as many as eight players plying their trade in the league Down Under. Previously, only three Indians – Harmanpreet Kaur, Smrti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthi – had taken part in the league. The Indian pool of players was also the largest amongst other overseas contingents in the 2021-22 edition.

Here is a look at how Indians fared in the WBBL 2021-22:-

Harmanpreet Kaur (Melbourne Renegades)

India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur was named the WBBL Player of the Tournament and rightly so. She topped the batting and bowling charts for Melbourne Renegades in its dominant run to the playoffs. Kaur smashed 406 runs at a strike rate of 130.96, including three match-winning scores of fifty plus and 18 sixes – the highest in the tournament. Her right-arm offspin yielded 15 wickets at 7.45 runs an over and included crucial wickets in the Powerplay and death overs. Her all-round brilliance made her the only Indian and Renegade to feature in the WBBL Team of the Tournament.

Jemimah Rodrigues (Melbourne Renegades)

FILE PHOTO: Jemimah Rodrigues was Melbourne Renegades’ second highest run-scorer with 333 runs at an average of 27.75   –  GETTY IMAGES

Kaur’s compatriot and Renegades teammate Jemimah Rodrigues was the team’s second highest run-scorer with 333 runs at an average of 27.75. While Rodrigues struck at a sedate 116.43, she made useful contributions in the opening slot, including an unbeaten 75 off 56 against Sydney Thunder which earned her the Player of the Match award. However, with six scores between 13 and 27 in her 13 innings, Rodrigues would have liked to convert those starts into big scores and own the season.

Smriti Mandhana (Sydney Thunder)

Flamboyant opener Smriti Mandhana became the first Indian batter to score a century in the Women’s Big Bash League.   –  GETTY IMAGES

Flamboyant India opener Smriti Mandhana stormed to the joint-highest score in WBBL history with an unbeaten 114 off 64 balls in four-run loss to the Renegades and became the first Indian to score a hundred in the league. However, the left-hander was down on her luck as her 44-ball 64 also came in a narrow defeat against the Gades. With 377 runs at a strike of 130.44, Mandhana was the leading run-scorer for Sydney Thunder after starting the tournament on an iffy note and top-scored in two of her team’s four wins in the season.

Deepti Sharma (Sydney Thunder)

FILE PHOTO: All-rounder Deepti Sharma took 13 wickets and scored 211 runs for Sydney Thunder this season.   –  GETTY IMAGES

All-rounder Deepti Sharma was another bright spot in defending champion Sydney Thunder’s disappointing campaign. Despite batting lower down the order, Sharma was the third highest run- scorer for her team with 211 runs at an impressive average of 35.16. Her 13 scalps, at an economy of 7.15, put her second on Thunder’s wicket tally and included a combined six for 38 in eight overs in the side’s first two victories in the league.

Shafali Verma (Sydney Sixers)

FILE PHOTO: Shafali Verma was a shadow of her explosive self in her maiden WBBL stint for Sydney Sixers.   –  GETTY IMAGES

After a couple of impressive performances, which included a stunning run out and a scintillating 50- ball 57, Shafali Verma failed to hit her stride in the remainder of the tournament. Averaging 17.36, Verma toiled for her 191 runs in 12 innings at a strike rate of 105.52 and was a shadow of her explosive self in her maiden WBBL stint for Sydney Sixers. Her poor run of form saw her succumb to eight single-digit scores, including three ducks as the Sixers’ disappointing campaign petered out with six straight losses.

Radha Yadav (Sydney Sixers)

FILE PHOTO: Left-arm spinner Radha Yadav was the Sixers’ second highest wicket-taker in the season.   –  GETTY IMAGES

While the left-arm spinner made headlines for her stellar catch at point, Radha was also the Sixers’ second highest wicket-taker in the season. She bowled economically at 6.81 for her nine wickets,kept it tight in the middle overs and picked key wickets at the death. With 43 runs in five innings at an average of 21.3, the 21-year-old was defiant with the bat in the lower order on a couple of occasions when the team failed to reach the three-digit mark.

Richa Ghosh (Hobart Hurricanes)

FILE PHOTO: Teenager Richa Ghosh finished with a tally of 162 runs in 14 innings for Hobart Hurricanes.   –  GETTY IMAGES

The 18-year-old had a promising start to her WBBL career with Hobart Hurricanes after her exploits in the multi-format series against Australia turned heads. However, following her 67 runs in the first two matches, Ghosh eked out only another 95 runs from the remaining 12, finishing with a tally of 162 runs while striking at only 95.29. Her unbeaten 16-ball 24 cameo in a successful run-chase was the final highlight before the middle-order batter bowed out of the tournament with 13 runs from her last five innings.

Poonam Yadav (Brisbane Heat)

FILE PHOTO: Leg spinner Poonam Yadav took 10 wickets in the tournament at 6.63 runs an over for Brisbane Heat.   –  GETTY IMAGES

Considering that three of the top five wicket-takers in WBBL 2021 are spinners, veteran leg spinner Poonam Yadav had an underwhelming tournament for Brisbane Heat. While her 10 wickets in the tournament at 6.63 runs an over don’t do her numbers any harm, Poonam’s international credentials warranted a more impactful performance. She started off the tournament well, picking up four wickets in the first two games before taking a match-defining three for 17 against Sydney Thunder. Save for these performances, Poonam managed only three wickets in 10 matches and conceded over nine an over at the death.

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