MI’s mix of stars have it in them to fulfil fans’ hopes

Harmanpreet Kaur.

Harmanpreet Kaur.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Mumbai Indians boasts a stellar record in the IPL.

With five trophies, it is the most successful franchise in the world’s most glamorous cricket league’s history.

The expectations must be great from the Mumbai Indians fans about the women’s team too.

Though Mumbai didn’t get the player it apparently wanted most, despite waging an intense bid war with Royal Challengers Bangalore at the auction for the inaugural WPL, it nevertheless managed to form a side that is an excellent mix of Indian and overseas stars. It may have been forced to concede Smriti Mandhana to Royal Challengers Bangalore, but it was able to revise its strategy well enough at the auction.

The most the franchise spent was on England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt — ₹3.2 crore, ₹20 lakh less than what RCB paid for Smriti.

With 5,184 runs and 144 wickets in international white-ball cricket, she is one of the world’s premier all-rounders. She would be one of the main batters for Mumbai Indians.

The biggest star in its batting line-up is India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (MI loves to pick Indian captains, male or female, doesn’t it?). She was bought for ₹1.80 crore, an amount less than many would have expected.

Harmanpreet, a brilliant striker of the ball, is a match-winner. West Indian Hayley Matthews and Kiwi Amelia Kerr add more power to the MI batting.

Matthews is likely to open with wicketkeeper Yastika Bhatia, who seems to be working hard to improve her strike-rate in the shortest format; she made 80 not out off 56 balls and 99 not out off 61 balls at the Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy in Raipur three months ago. Those who saw her at that tournament may not be surprised that MI shelled out ₹1.5 crore for her.

MI’s bowling may not look as star-studded as its batting, but Australian Heather Graham — she took a hat-trick against India at the Brabourne recently — and Englishwoman Issy Wong could form a lethal seam trio with Pooja Vastrakar, also a capable batter.

Spinning options include Kerr, Matthews and South African all-rounder Chloe Tryon.

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