Wisden’s Women’s Premier League 2023 Team of the Tournament
Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Capitals in the final to win Women’s Premier League 2023, the inaugural edition of the tournament. Here is our team of WPL 2023.
The tournament allowed an XI to have a maximum of four overseas cricketers in the XI – making allowance for a fifth only if the cricketer was from an Associate Nation. We stuck to that rule.
Shafali Verma – Delhi Capitals
9 matches, 252 runs @ 31.50, SR: 185, HS: 84
Verma’s tournament got off to a stunning start, her 84 from 45 balls helping Delhi Capitals to 223-2, the second-highest total in women’s top-level Twenty20 cricket. No batter struck at a faster rate than Verma, and her strike rate of 185 is particularly impressive when combined with her average of 31.50.
Hayley Matthews – Mumbai Indians
10 matches, 271 runs @ 30.11, SR: 126, HS: 77*; 5 catches
16 wickets @ 12.62, Econ 5.94, BBI: 3-5
The inaugural WPL’s standout all-rounder, the West Indies captain claimed the Purple Cap; finished fifth in the race for the Orange Cap (she held it in the early stages); and finished as the MVP of the tournament. Matthews’s 77 not out from just 38 deliveries against the Royal Challengers Bangalore highlighted how destructive her batting can be in the format.
Harmanpreet Kaur – Mumbai Indians (captain)
10 matches, 281 runs @ 40.14, SR: 135.09, HS: 65
It is no surprise that the maiden WPL would see Kaur, one of the game’s luminaries, in fine fettle. She averaged 40 while striking at 144 with three fifties, and led Mumbai Indians to the WPL trophy. Her 30-ball 65 helped Mumbai demolish the Gujarat Giants to kickstart the tournament in trademark Harmanpreet style, while she concluded it with a crucial knock in her 72-run stand with Nat Sciver-Brunt.
Grace Harris – UP Warriorz
6 matches, 230 runs @ 57.50, SR: 165, HS: 72
1 wicket @ 108, Econ 8.30; BBI: 1-28
With only four overseas spots to contend with, Harris pips Nat Sciver-Brunt, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, and Sophie Devine to make it to the XI, thanks to a couple of impressive knocks in testing scenarios. Her 41-ball 72 in UP’s chase of 181 against Gujarat Giants deserves special mention. She finished the WPL with 230 runs at an astonishing 57.50, with a 165 strike rate: she also chipped in with the odd over.
Dayalan Hemalatha – Gujarat Giants
8 matches, 151 runs @ 30.20, SR: 157, HS: 57; 5 catches
Middle-order hitter Hemalatha bookended the tournament with smart knocks, despite a three-game run of single-digit scores in the middle of the WPL. Consecutive not-out scores in the 20s kicked off her WPL with Gujarat Giants, but her 57 from 33 highlighted the extent of her hitting prowess in their loss to UP at the Brabourne Stadium.
Richa Ghosh – Royal Challengers Bangalore (wicketkeeper)
8 matches, 138 runs @ 23.00, SR: 135, HS: 37; 7 catches, 2 stumpings
Expectations were high from Ghosh, particularly after her exploits in international level, and Bangalore acquired her for a whopping INR 1.9 crore. While not at her explosive best, she had a solid tournament and produced four scores of above 25 for a side that won their first match late into the tournament, and finished with a strike rate of 135. She also had nine dismissals – the third-most in the league.
Sophie Ecclestone – UP Warriorz
9 matches, 70 runs @ 17.50, SR: 120.69, HS: 22*
16 wickets @ 14.68, Econ 6.61; BBI: 4-13
Probably the standout bowler of the tournament with 16 wickets at 14.68, 23-year-old Ecclestone more than justified her £180,000 price tag. Her finest performance came when UP ended Mumbai’s unbeaten run: she first claimed 3-15 from four overs, then she saw UP over the line alongside Deepti Sharma.
Shikha Pandey – Delhi Capitals
9 matches, 39 runs (not dismissed), SR 115; HS: 27*
10 wickets @ 21.10, ER: 6.59, BBI: 3-23
Bolstered by an array of bowling performances, Pandey spearheaded a potent Delhi Capitals attack, picking up 10 wickets at 21.10 and sending a reminder to the national selectors for leaving her out for long. Now 33, she finished with seven WPL scalps more than the next-best Indian pace bowler. She fielded brilliantly (her catch of Heather Knight will stick in memory), and played a cameo in the final.
Issy Wong – Mumbai Indians
10 matches, 61 runs @ 15.25, SR 133; HS: 32
15 wickets @ 14.00, Econ 6.46, BBI: 4-15
Wong, 20, finished four wickets clear of other fast bowlers in the tournament, while her strike rate of 14 was the best among those who have bowled 15 overs. Her 4-15 in the Eliminator, including the first hat-trick in the tournament, confirmed her status as one of cricket’s finest young prospects. She also hit a few big shots down the order.
Tara Norris – Delhi Capitals
5 matches; 7 wickets @ 12.71, Eecon: 8.09, BBI: 5-29
The first five-for in WPL history came from an unlikely source – the USA-born left-arm seamer Norris. Including her allowed Delhi the flexibility of playing five overseas players in their XI, and Norris dismantled Bangalore with 5-29. Despite playing just five matches, she finished with seven wickets at an impressive 12.71.
Saika Ishaque – Mumbai Indians
10 matches, 15 wickets @ 16.26, Econ 7.00, BBI: 4-11
Ishaque was one of just three bowlers to take three or more three-fors in the tournament (a lot of threes, I know), held the Purple Cap until halfway through the tournament, and finished with 15 wickets – one behind the Purple Cap holder – at 16.26. Consistently tying up batters with her left-arm spin, she proved an invaluable asset in Mumbai Indians’ journey to an inaugural WPL win.