New Delhi: Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the two teams in the one-off Women's T20 Challenge on May 22 ahead of the IPL Qualifier 1 in Mumbai.
The women's game has seen a wave of popularity in the country following the national team's run to the final of World Cup last year. With an eye on growing this wave, the BCCI is hosting the T20 Challenge to provide the women's game a platform alongside its most popular tournament. It is also a way to test waters for a women's IPL in near future.
Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL, said, even as IPL continues to roll like a well-oiled machine, over the last couple of weeks, efforts were made to put in place a similar structure for women cricketers.
"We were in talks with several Boards and I am pleased with the outcome. New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates, attacking batter Sophie Devine, who holds the record for fastest half-century in women's T20Is, Australia's all-rounder Ellyse Perry, wicket-keeper bat Alyssa Healy, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney have confirmed their participation.
"Danni Wyatt and Daniel Hazell will add the English flavour. This special game will be played at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium and will be telecast live in India and across the world.
Diana Edulji, member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) and former India captain, said, "We are excited to announce the first-of-its-kind exhibition match involving our women cricketers. BCCI has been pulling out all stops to promote and nurture women's cricket and this is a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women's stars in the future."
"The IPL is the biggest and most popular league in the world and it has been a long-time endeavour to have a women's league that can match the exuberance of IPL. Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishanmurthy among others rubbing shoulders with foreign stars will be a unique experience and something that we have not witnessed here in India.
The T20 match will begin at 14:00 IST and will be followed by the IPL 2018 Qualifier 1 at 19:00 IST.