Dubai: There is never going to be a dull moment in the final week of the IPL 2020 in the UAE. If the play-offs are not enough, the historical venue of Sharjah Cricket Stadium will add another feather to its cap when they host the Jio Women’s T20 Challenge from November 4 (Wednesday) to November 9.
A four-match affair, the third edition of the tournament will be played between the three teams: Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity to be led by Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj, respectively. The cream of Indian women’s cricket will vie for honours along with a smattering of overseas players - though the big names from Down Under like Ellyse Perry & co will be missing as the dates are clashing with the ongoing Women’s Big Bash League there.
The fixtures have been drawn up in such a manner that it does not clash with any of the IPL play-off dates except one on November 5 (Friday). However, the Women’s T20 game will be played in Sharjah from 2 pm that day while the first qualifier will follow at 6 pm at the Dubai International Stadium.
Well-placed sources say that Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, will be present at the final of the marquee women’s event alongwith the top brass of Indian cricket like the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and members of the state associations. Ambani’s Jio and Reliance Foundation Education and Sports for All (RFESA) stepped in as title-sponsors of the Women’s T20 Challenge on Sunday.
‘‘We are privileged to host such a major women’s event entirely. All women’s teams have had practice sessions here on completion of their quarantine period and we are looking forward to extend the cricket carnival here for another week,’’ remarked Mazhar Khan, General Manager of Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
In what could be a major boost for the event on social media platforms, Twitter India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) joined hands to launch seven new custom emojis for the event.
“To enhance user experience this season, We have launched seven new custom emojis around the league, as well as for its teams and the respective captains,” Twitter said in a statement.
Fans will be able to activate these emojis by tweeting with the following hashtags: #MithaliRaj or #Mithali, #Harmanpreet or #Harman, #Smriti or #SM18, #WomensT20Challenge, #Velocity, #Supernovas and #Trailblazers.
This is the first time that any Indian women’s sports league has got its own Twitter emoji. In 2017, Mithali, the senior pro of women’s cricket, became the first woman cricketer from India to get an emoji during the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
“Through these unique emojis, fans will be able to show instant support to their favourite teams and players on Twitter during the matches,” the platform said. Fans will also be able to follow and participate in live conversations, it added.
November 4: Supernovas vs Velocity (6 pm UAE)
November 5: Velocity vs Trailblazers (2 pm)
November 7: Trailblazers vs Supernovas (6 pm)
November 9: Final (6 pm)
Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (c), Deepti Sharma, Punam Raut, Richa Ghosh, D Hemlatha, Nuzhat Parween, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harleen Deol, Jhulan Goswami, Simaran Dil Bahadur, Salma Khatun, Sophie Ecclestone, Natthakan Chantham, Deandra Dottin, Kashvee Gautam.
Velocity: Mithali Raj (c), Shafali Verma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bisht, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey, Devika Vaidya, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Manali Dakshini, Leigh Kasperek, Danielle Wyatt, Sune Luus, Jahanara Alam, M Anagha.
Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Chamari Atapattu, Priya Punia, Anuja Patil, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia, Shashikala Sriwardene, Poonam Yadav, Shakera Selman, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Ayushi Soni, Ayabonga Khaka, Muskan Malik.