Ben Stokes has suggested associating women’s sides with that of the men in franchise leagues, especially in the IPL
Knight lifted the WBBL title with the Sydney Thunder in November and was twice a Kia Super League winner before the English T20 league was scrapped to make way for the Hundred. She agreed that an IPL equivalent would be timely, and praised Stokes for speaking out in support of women’s cricket.
“It was awesome to see Stokesy talk about the women’s IPL,” she said. “The more allies we have in women’s cricket, it really helps to change perceptions. It’s great from Ben to say that and I totally agree, I think it would be amazing for the women’s game to have an IPL.
“You’ve seen it in Australia with the Big Bash, and hopefully here with the Hundred having men’s and women’s competitions alongside each other, it’s a really positive thing for the women’s game and really helps to progress things. It was really nice to see Ben make those comments.”
“I’m very hopeful there’ll be a women’s franchise side associated with every men’s franchise side so we’re able to grow the women’s game even bigger. What better place to do it than out here in India?”
Speculation about whether the BCCI could launch a women’s T20 league has circulated for some time, following the success of similar competitions in Australia and England. Speaking earlier this week ahead of the start of the men’s IPL, Stokes, an overseas player for the Rajasthan Royals, said he was very hopeful of fully fledged women’s franchises being established, too.
“Yes, I think the women’s game, especially over the last four to five years, has gone from strength to strength and it’s great how it is filtering into the men’s game in terms of [parallel] competitions and things like that,” he said on Red Bull’s Decoding Athletes podcast. “I’m very hopeful there’ll be a women’s franchise side associated with every men’s franchise side so we’re able to grow the women’s game even bigger. What better place to do it than out here in India?”
Since 2018, the BCCI has staged the Women’s T20 Challenge to run alongside the men’s IPL playoffs. Initially featuring two teams, it was expanded to three – Trailblazers, Supernovas and Velocity – in 2019 and 2020; last year, the plan was to add a fourth team, but the idea was scrapped as the BCCI decided to stick to the old format as the men’s and women’s events moved to the UAE because of the Covid-19 situation in India.
The Challenge event is due to be held again this year, with the possible addition of that fourth team, but no dates have been confirmed and its viability could yet be affected by the rising number of infections in India.
Mandhana, captain of the the Trailblazers, was also speaking on the Decoding Athletes podcast alongside Stokes and India men’s batter KL Rahul, and said it was “the right time to start” a women’s IPL in order to help the sport’s growth.
“I think the kind of performance last three-four years… IPL is all about youngsters and if you look at the current Indian team, the average age is around 23-24,” she said. “That shows that there are a lot of youngsters coming in so IPL is definitely going to boost women’s cricket and give the confidence in youngsters which we’ve seen in men’s cricket.
“People who are making their debut are playing 145-150kph [bowling] like it’s a [regular] day at office, and you can’t feel that they’re nervous on their debut. So the IPL has had a huge impact in that and I feel the IPL will help women’s cricket as well. It’s the right time to start because if we really want to grow women’s cricket, especially in India, it’s the right time to start the women’s IPL.”
Although the Kia Super League is now defunct, with a regional T20 tournament being put into place this year, the ECB has pushed to give the women’s Hundred a greater degree of parity with the men’s competition. The opening night of its new format will see the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals women’s teams go head-to-head in a standalone fixture at The Oval, with all of the other games played as double-headers on the same grounds.
“When you switch on the Hundred as a young girl. you’re going to see men’s cricket and women’s cricket put on the same pedestal, the same branding, matches at the same venue, etc. I think that’s great and really important to do that, to change perceptions of getting people involved in cricket,” Knight said. “If you’re a young girl and you see people like you playing cricket at the highest level, that’s going to encourage you that it’s a sport for you.
“Little things like playing the first-ever game of the Hundred as a women’s game is a really big step. It’s going to be a huge summer and hopefully the competition goes really well.”
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, PSL 2021
Gladiators allrounder stretchered off to an ambulance as second innings got underway
During the first over of the second innings, Russell was stretchered out from the dressing room to an ambulance. He had received the blow to the head in the 14th over of Gladiators’ innings. He hit two sixes off Muhammad Musa in that over before he was slow on a pull shot to a bouncer from the pacer. After being struck, Russell was checked by a physio and allowed to continue batting, although he was out next ball, caught at third man.
The rules on concussion substitutes state that any concussed player can be replaced by someone outside the XI, as long as the match referee agrees that the incoming player is a like-for-like replacement. Although Russell is a pace-bowling allrounder and Naseem is a specialist fast bowler, the decision to allow Naseem as a replacement might have been based on Russell’s inability to deliver four overs in Gladiators’ bowling innings.
Naseem opened the bowling for Gladiators but, defending 133, conceded four fours in a 19-run first over. Gladiators went on to lose inside 10 overs, the first time in PSL history a side has won by the halfway mark. This was Gladiators’ first match after PSL 2021’s restart in Abu Dhabi.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx
Recent Match Report – England vs New Zealand 2nd Test 2021
All the updates, news and stats from day four of the second Test at Edgbaston
* Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates. All times are local
12.10am: They know it’s all over
New Zealand 388 (Young 82, Conway 80, Taylor 80, Broad 4-48) and 41 for 2 (Latham 23*) beat England 303 (Lawrence 81*, Burns 81, Boult 4-85) and 122 (Wood 29, Wagner 3-18, Henry 3-36) by eight wickets
The first ball said it all, really. Trent Boult sent it down with scrambled seam, it found the bat and Tom Blundell’s waiting gloves leaving Olly Stone, England’s last man out visibly exhaling in deflated resignation to his side’s fate. And the Edgbaston clock hadn’t even ticked over to 11am yet.
The man at the other end, James Anderson, was into the changing room and straight back out again, producing a maiden first up. He wasn’t going down without a fight.
Nor was his old mate, Stuart Broad, who struck with the last ball of the following over when he removed Devon Conway, the man who had racked up 306 runs at 76.50 this series in the only two Tests of his career. Broad enticed Conway to one that pitched outside off and found an edge which James Bracey took behind the stumps with the visitors only needing 32 more for victory.
Stone came into the attack in the 10th over and struck with his sixth ball. Having had a wider delivery punished to the fence by Will Young two balls prior, Stone had Young out chopping onto his stumps with just five runs needed.
Stand-in captain Tom Latham sealed the result in the next over with a four clubbed through square leg off Mark Wood followed by another two balls later guided through third man. It was New Zealand’s first Test series win in England since 1999 and consigned England to their first home Test series defeat since 2014.
11.45am: Too good
11.25am: Conway out
Stuart Broad isn’t going down without a fight, luring Devon Conway to one outside off and the batter snicks to James Bracey behind the stumps. The visitors only need 32 more for victory though.
11.05am: No, it really didn’t last long
10.50am: Who’s in?
10.05am: How long have you got?
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
Recent Match Report – Gladiators vs United 18th Match 2020/21-2021
United bowlers played their part too; Javed and Wasim combined their eight overs for 30 runs while Hasan took two wickets
Islamabad United 137 for no loss (Munro 90*, Khawaja 40*) beat Quetta Gladiators 133 all out (Weatherald 43, Wasim 2-12) by ten wickets
Indeed, only three times in top-flight franchise T20 cricket has a higher powerplay total been achieved as the Gladiators were left helpless in the face of a genuinely stunning onslaught. It leaves the Gladiators on the brink of crashing out of the tournament.
The record-breaking stand
Keen viewers of the PSL may be aware United like to take full advantage of the powerplay with quality overseas batters, but this might be the finest exponent of the art in the history of this league. Munro got things going off Naseem Shah’s first over using a combination of pure timing and artistic placement, fulfilling the role his former Kiwi teammate Luke Ronchi used to execute with such perfection for this side. After Naseem – Russell’s concussion substitute – was plundered for 19 in the first over, the floodgates were opened, and Khawaja got into the act soon enough.
Mystifyingly, the Gladiators continued to go with pace on the ball, and that played right into the hands of a sweet timer like Khawaja. Fellow Australian Jack Wildermuth went for three caressed fours off the inning’s third over, before Mohammad Hasnain was picked up and put away over fine leg, all using the tearaway fast bowler’s own pace. The 50 was up, and the game was quickly over as a contest, with the records beginning to tumble.
No 100-plus partnership in all of PSL history has ever seen a higher run rate than Khawaja and Munro’s 13.70, and it wasn’t even mindless slogging. Repeatedly, the two used field placement, perfect timing, and sharp footwork to remain one step ahead of the hapless Gladiators, and when Munro reverse-swept Mohammad Nawaz for six over third man in the tenth over, putting Sarfaraz’s side out of their misery seemed like an act of mercy.
The perfect replacement
Faheem Ashraf’s absence for three games seemed like a pivotal blow for United, but Javed and Wasim filled those boots masterfully at the top of the innings. After a loose opening over from Hasan threatened to allow the Gladiators to get off to a flyer, Javed consolidated with a tidy six balls from his end. He tagged Wasim in then, who left veteran South African Faf du Plessis at first flustered, and then embarrassed, working him over with a nastily rearing bouncer before cleaning up the middle stump with one that kept low.
It put the Gladiators on the back foot completely, and in the five powerplay overs the pair bowled, the batters managed a mere 21 runs. They weren’t done, though, Akif returning to prise out Weatherald, outthinking the Australian with a leg-stump full toss after all three stumps were exposed for a ramp shot. Wasim, meanwhile, had Nawaz walking back thanks to a near-perfect middle and leg stump yorker that knocked back his stump. Their combined figures of 8-0-30-3 went a long way towards illustrating the story of Islamabad’s dominance in that first innings.
Where they stand
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
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