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Feature

Ishaque, Chopra, Patil - New faces make a mark in WPL team of the tournament

Harmanpreet Kaur to lead, Meg Lanning, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Hayley Matthews make the cut

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
27-Mar-2023
The core of the Mumbai Indians side was consistent throughout the tournament  •  BCCI

The core of the Mumbai Indians side was consistent throughout the tournament  •  BCCI

The curtains came down on the inaugural season of the Women's Premier League (WPL) on Sunday at the Brabourne Stadium with Mumbai Indians defeating Delhi Capitals to be crowned the first champions. There were a number of exceptional performances throughout the tournament. Find out who makes it to ESPNcricinfo's WPL 2023 XI.

Hayley Matthews - Mumbai Indians

Matches: 10, Runs: 271, Strike rate: 126.04, Wickets: 16, Economy rate: 5.94
Her player-of-the-series outing in the inaugural WPL makes Matthews an overwhelming pick. She went unsold in the first round of the auction, eventually being picked up in the accelerated rounds. On the ground, she made an immediate impact, kicking off the WPL with a six and then never looking back. She was also effective with the ball, picking up 16 wickets in ten innings and also the Purple cap.

Yastika Bhatia (wk) - Mumbai Indians

Matches: 10, Runs: 214, Strike rate: 112.04, Dismissals: 13
Even if she didn't always convert her starts into big scores, Bhatia's fluency at the top of the order helped Mumbai get off the blocks quickly. In fact, Bhatia's 214 runs are the most in the WPL without a single half-century. She was a safe wicketkeeper and one of the few who contributed well with the bat.

Meg Lanning - Delhi Capitals

Matches: 9, Runs: 345, Strike rate: 139.11
Lanning carried Capitals' batting though the tournament, scoring runs in almost every game. She finished as the leading run-getter in the WPL and looked on course in the title-clash too. She continued to middle the ball in the final despite Capitals losing regular wickets - her back-to-back fours off Nat Sciver-Brunt in the third over were all class. Lanning and Shafali Verma's opening combination was an enviable one in the WPL.

Nat Sciver-Brunt - Mumbai Indians

Matches: 10, Runs: 332, Strike rate: 140.08, Wickets: 10, Economy rate: 7.12
Cometh the big game, cometh the big name. Sciver-Brunt showed why she caused a bidding war in the auction. She occupied a crucial No. 3 spot in the batting order and owned the space, being as comfortable against spin as she was against seam. With the ball, she bowled the second-most deliveries - 114 - in the first six overs and had an economy rate of 5.63. Sciver-Brunt's unbeaten 38-ball 72 in the Eliminator helped Mumbai romp into the final, where she anchored the chase and saw the team through, remaining unbeaten on 60.

Harmanpreet Kaur (capt) - Mumbai Indians

Matches: 10, Runs: 281, Strike rate: 135.09
Harmanpreet longed for the winning feeling and ensured she got it by being consistent with the bat. She got the WPL off to a flying start with 65 off just 30 balls against Gujarat Giants, and finished the season as fourth-highest run-getter. Harmanpreet led Mumbai with aplomb, ringing in changes and using the resources at her disposal optimally. In the final, she came in to bat in a tricky situation and calmly defused it with a 72-run partnership for the third wicket with Sciver-Brunt. She only fell with the win almost assured.

Dayalan Hemalatha - Gujarat Giants

Matches: 8, Runs: 151 Strike rate: 157.29
One of the few bright spots for Gujarat Giants, Hemalatha only enhanced her credentials as a finisher, something she has done quite frequently for Railways in the domestic circuit. Her strike rate of 157.29 for Giants was only second to Sophia Dunkley's.

Shreyanka Patil - Royal Challengers Bangalore

Matches: 7, Runs: 62, Strike rate: 151.21, Wickets: 6, Economy rate: 9.84
Royal Challengers Bangalore had a disappointing campaign overall, but Patil's outings with both bat and ball were attention-grabbing. She started the tournament with a crisp pull shot and then showed her wares with the ball, particularly at the death. Patil was unflinching in the face of mounting attacks and can be looked at as a long-term player for Royal Challengers.
Matches: 9, Wickets: 10, Economy rate: 6.59
Pandey had a terrific all-round WPL. She finished with the third-most wickets among all pacers in the WPL, threw herself around in the field, and her cameos with the bat often gave Capitals useful impetus from the lower order, not least in the final. India's captain Harmanpreet also made note of Pandey's efforts and said, "Shikha was bowling brilliantly throughout the tournament. And today [in the final] when the team needed her batting, she took time and then executed it brilliantly."

Issy Wong - Mumbai Indians

Matches: 10, Wickets: 15, Economy rate: 6.46, Runs: 61, Strike rate: 132.60
Wong started the tournament with a first-ball six and also picked up the first hat-trick in the WPL. She used her pace and generated enough movement to get the better of the batters and also smartly used change-ups. Wong's energy on the field often drew wild cheers from the crowd.

Parshavi Chopra - UP Warriorz

Matches: 4, Wickets: 3, Economy rate: 8.16
Chopra had a limited role but left a lasting impact. Her figures of 0 for 35 in her first WPL outing against Mumbai didn't do justice to the way she bowled. Against Giants, she truly showed her worth, using the wrong'un to dismiss both Hemalatha and Ashleigh Gardner. Part of a team that pushed Indian players to the forefront, Chopra sure grabbed her chances.
Matches: 10, Wickets: 15, Economy rate: 7
Ishaque is perhaps the find of WPL 2023. A regular in the domestic circuit for Bengal, her disciplined left-arm spin by attacking the stumps got her rewards in the first half of the competition. After being a bit expensive in a couple of games in the second half, she held her own in both the Eliminator and the final, despite not having a truckload of wickets to show in them.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo