WPL Player Auction 2023: Squad Analysis - RCB, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Giants are better balanced teams than Delhi Capitals & UP Warriorz after Auction.
Following the auction that was held for the inaugural edition of Women’s Premier League (WPL) set to be held in March 2023, the five teams - Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Giants, UP Warriorz and Delhi Capitals – have their squads ready for the biggest women’s cricket league in the world.
A total of 87 out of the maximum of 90 players, were bought by the five franchises for a sum of INR 59.50 crore, where three players – Smriti Mandhana, Ashleigh Gardner and Natalie Sciver-Brunt – fetched bids in excess of INR 3 crore. Out of the total amount, a sum of INR 54.25 crore was spent for 57 capped players whereas INR 5.25 crore went to 30 uncapped players.
The franchises spent a total of INR 11.55 crore on 14 batters, while a total of INR 11.75 crore was spent on acquiring 24 bowlers. A total of 39 all-rounders accounted for a whopping amount of INR 28.70 crore while 10 wicketkeeper-batters accounted for INR 7.50 crore.
Let’s dive in to gauge the various features such as squad balance, composition and winnability of the five units.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
At the auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore bought a total of 18 players of which 12 players are Indians while the other six are overseas players. They have spent a total of INR 12 crore, while they spent the highest on Smriti Mandhana - INR 3.4 crore - which is 28.33 per cent of their total expenditure. Their top three buys are Smriti Mandhana (3.4 crore), Richa Ghosh (1.9 crore), and Australia’s Ellyse Perry (1.7 crore).
The selected squad for the team is a great combination of young and experienced players. They have a total of nine all-rounders along with a decent mix of batters and bowlers, who are capable enough to take the team out of any adverse situation at any point in time.
As far as batting is concerned, RCB have star batters from India and other parts of the world. The team has a decent power-hitting batting lineup, and is full-of all-rounders who can play big shots at any point in time. Smriti Mandhana would definitely open the batting, while power-hitter Richa Ghosh who can bat and keep and can play at any position, will really be an asset to the team. The team could use Richa as a floater depending on match situation.
This RCB team has brought in some brilliant top-performing players from the cricketing world. Of their six overseas players - Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Erin Burns, Heather Knight, Dane van Niekerk and Megan Schutt - five are top all-rounders, except for Schutt, who is a pace bowler. The franchise's teams can field a maximum of five foreign players in their playing XI; however, there’s a catch as one of the five players needs to be from any of the associate nations. As RCB don’t have any players from associate nations, then it means that in their playing XI only four overseas players can play. It would be really difficult for the team management to choose four players from their six firebrand overseas player options.
The mantle of pace bowling responsibilities would fall on the shoulders of Renuka Singh Thakur and Megan Schutt, where the former who was ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year 2022 can play the role of a game-changer for the team. Schutt with her big in-swingers and leg-cutters could pose a great threat to the opponent teams.
The lack of spinners in RCB’s squad could give this team a setback, given the matches would be played in India where spinners of any variety play a vital role in a game. They don’t have any spinner in their squad which could prove to be a heartbreaker for them.
RCB are going to play their first match on March 5 against Delhi Capitals at 3:30 PM IST at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
RCB Squad: Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, Erin Burns, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Shreyanka Patil, Kanika Ahuja, Asha Shobana, Heather Knight, Dane van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Poonam Khemnar, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sahana Pawar
Given the history of Mumbai Indians men’s team in the Indian Premier League, the only question that arises is whether the women’s team will achieve the same feat as their counterparts. After seeing their squad, it seems there are huge hopes from MI’s women’s team as well. This team is another all-rounder heavy squad, much on the lines of RCB; they have ten all-rounders and a potent mix of bowlers, both pace and spin, what else do you need to win a match?
Another plus point for the Mumbai Indians players would be that they will be playing all the matches at their home grounds, so, it won’t be a surprise if we see a huge number of Mumbai Indians supporters at the stadiums. This could be another blessing for the team, apart from their strong squad.
Mumbai Indians’ highest bid of INR 3.20 crore went for England bowling all-rounder Natalie Sciver-Brunt, and the second-highest bid of INR 1.9 crore went for India medium-pacer Pooja Vastrakar. From this, we can see that Mumbai Indians want to have a killing bowling side to scare off batting lineups of other teams. They also have Heather Graham who can bowl at a decent pace.
Apart from pacers, they have Amelia Kerr, Harmanpreet Kaur, Chloe Tryon and Hayley Matthews who can spin the ball and bat. These all-rounders can do wonders with both ball and bat. Given the pitches in Mumbai, they will definitely come in handy at any point in time.
MI’s top-order also seems to be in quite good shape with Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur and Hayley Matthews, all three who can score quick runs in powerplay overs. Their only cause of concern could be that they don’t have enough good Indian bowlers which could harm them as they can play only four overseas players in the playing XI due to the lack of an associate nations player buy. So, filling this gap could hamper them.
MI Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur, Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Yastika Bhatia, Heather Graham, Issy Wong, Amanjot Kaur, Dhara Gujjar, Shaika Ishaque, Hayley Matthews, Chloe Tryon, Humaira Kazi, Priyanka Bala, Sonam Yadav, Jintimani Kalita, Neelam Bisht
Gujarat Giants are going to start their campaign on the opening day of WPL 2023, when they will play against the power-packed Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.
Seeing the names in the squad, one can surely say they have quite a powerful team that can overcome any kind of difficulties during the match. Amongst their ten all-rounders, Ashleigh Gardner is the most important one who is also their costliest at a whopping INR 3.2 crore; Annabel Sutherland and Deandra Dottin are players who can bat and do wonders with the ball as well. Especially, Dottin and Sutherland can trouble batters with their pace as well as with high-hitting powerful batting. Sophia Dunkley who is a batting all-rounder can be an asset for the team at any given point.
While the spin attack would be led by Sneh Rana, who can trouble batters with her bowling variations, Georgia Wareham, Harleen Deol and Tanuja Kanwar could also come in handy for the spin attack.
Their top-order batting lineup could be taken care of by Beth Mooney who is one of the best wicketkeeper-batters in women’s cricket. Sabbineni Meghana, Dayalan Hemalatha and Ashleigh Gardner can give a perfect start to a batting innings with their powerful batting.
The only concern for GG could be that they do have not many Indian all-rounders. They might heavily depend on their international all-rounders to perform. Another downside of this squad is that there are many Indian players who don’t have much exposure to international cricket matches, which might hamper them under pressure.
GG Squad: Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Sneh Rana, Sabbineni Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, Dayalan Hemalatha, Tanuja Kanwar, Monica Patel, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam MD
UP Warriorz squad seems to be a complete unit on paper, though they have only 6 all-rounders but they do possess a decent mix of pacers and spinners. It doesn’t seem that they lack anything; now, it’s important to see how players perform on the ground.
The Warriorz have very strong top-order batters with Alyssa Healy, Shweta Sehrawat, Grace Harris and Tahlia McGrath; this combination can destroy any bowling attack with their destructive batting. While their middle order is not so impressive with not enough experienced players to tackle the middle overs challenge. The new players Kiran Navgire and Laxmi Yadav have to be there in the playing XI to lend stability to their batting lineup, and they have to step up for the team.
They have great spin bowling options in the form of Sophie Ecclestone, whom they bought at INR 1.8 crore. She along with Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad - one of the best Indian spinners, Devika Vaidya and Grace Harris can break any team's backbone. Their pace attack is as strong as their spin attack as they have Anjali Sarvani, Shabnim Ismail and Tahlia McGrath in their ranks.
UP Warriorz will play their first match against Gujarat Giants on March 5 at 7:30 PM IST at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.
UPW Squad: Sophie Ecclestone, Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath, Shabnim Ismail, Alyssa Healy, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Parshavi Chopra, Shweta Sehrawat, Soppadhandi Yashasri, Kiran Navgire, Grace Harris, Devika Vaidya, Lauren Bell, Laxmi Yadav, Simran Shaikh
Delhi Capitals men’s team has been struggling since the start of IPL, but definitely, their women’s team can break the jinx and can win their maiden Indian Premier League trophy.
The Capitals didn’t buy anyone until the first two rounds of the auction, but they made a comeback in the third round, where they paid a whopping amount of INR 2.2 crore for an India batter Jemimah Rodrigues, and then they went for another powerful opening batter Shafali Verma.
The problem with this squad is that they have too many top-order batters, but no one in the middle order. At the top-order, they have Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning, Jemimah Rodrigues and Laura Harris. With the absence of middle order batters, they might struggle in the middle overs.
Another issue with this squad is that they have only four all-rounders. Apart from Marizanne Kapp, there is no such prominent all-rounder, which can also be a point of pain for this team, although they have Alice Capsey who is a batting all-rounder. However, the plus point for DC is that they can play five overseas players in their playing XI, as they have a player from an associate nation, which means that Tara Norris has to be selected in the playing XI if they want five overseas players in their playing XI.
The Capitals play their first match against RCB on March 5 at 3:30 PM IST at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
DC Squad: Jemimah Rodrigues, Meg Lanning, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Marizanne Kapp, Titas Sadhu, Alice Capsey, Tara Norris, Laura Harris, Jasia Akther, Minnu Mani, Taniya Bhatia, Jess Jonassen, Sneha Deepthi, Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Aparna Mondal
There will be a total of 20 league matches and an eliminator game, before the final which will be held at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on March 26.
The 20 league matches of WPL 2023 will be played from March 4 to 21. Each team will have to play the other four teams twice, and the topper of the league will secure a direct spot in the final, while teams that will finish at the second and third position will face each other in the eliminator to secure a spot in the final.