Gujarat Giants will be hoping to replicate the success that their male counterparts Gujarat Titans had in the IPL 2022 campaign, when they take to the field to compete in the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL). With their first match against the star-studded Mumbai Indians on the opening day, the Beth Mooney-led Giants will look to hit the ground running from the very beginning itself rather than try to play catch up during the rest of the campaign.
When it comes to overseas players, the Giants have a squad that will be the envy of all the other franchises with Ashleigh Gardner (Australia), Beth Mooney (Australia), Deandra Dottin (West Indies), and Sophia Dunkley (England) all on their books. Along with these international stalwarts, the team also boasts the likes of Indian players like Sneh Rana as well as Harleen Deol. On paper, the team looks to be all-rounder-heavy with Gardner, Deol and Dunkley all capable players with the bat as well as the ball which might prove to be the difference in crunch matches.
The Giants also have uncapped Indian players in their squad like Tanuja Kanwer, Hurley Gala, Shabnam MD, Ashwini Kumari and Parunika Sisodia who will be itching to make the most of their opportunity in a tournament of this calibre. And under the guidance of the experienced Mithali Raj as their team mentor, these players will be in good hands as they look to make a splash in the Indian women’s cricket scene.
One of their greatest strengths can turn out to be one of the greatest weaknesses of the Giants: they lack a core of quality experienced Indian players. Just like in the IPL, the playing XI will have to be made of seven home-grown players in addition to four overseas ones. The Giants are sorted in the overseas department but except Deol and Rana, they have relatively fresh faces in the fray. Sure, some of these players may have a breakout tournament. But right now, it looks like the team might struggle to balance the quality of the foreign players with the Indian ones.
Kaisi Paheli Zindgani! 🧡
Our #Giants showcased their moves and bonded during the team dinner! 💃#WPL #WPL2023 #GujaratGiants #AdaniSportsline #Adani pic.twitter.com/rsIWF5LUqB
— Gujarat Giants (@GujaratGiants) March 3, 2023
The opportunity to play in a tournament of this magnitude aside, the players will be training under the watchful eyes of former India captain Raj, six-times world champion Rachael Haynes as well as the recent U-19 Women’s World Cup winning coach, Nooshin Al Khadeer. All the above names are people who know what it takes to win and they will surely share their vast wealth of experience with the players. This could come in handy as the tournament reaches its crunch stages.
𝐁𝐞𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐞𝐭! 🤩📸#WPL #WomensPremierLeague #GujaratGiants #Adani #Cricket pic.twitter.com/1oLuySJqGW
— Gujarat Giants (@GujaratGiants) March 2, 2023
With Mooney as their captain, the Giants have a potential match winner in their ranks. She scored a gritty 74 in the final of the recently-concluded Women’s T20 World Cup against South Africa. This in turn played a huge role in helping the Aussies lift their 6th T20 WC title. But Mooney has little experience of leading a side which could hurt it in the long run. Even though she has Rana as deputy and a litany of big names in the backroom staff, the decisions in the field will have to be taken by her and her alone. She might still turn out to be a great leader but it will likely take a couple of games to shake off the initial jitters.
Gujarat Giants Predicted XI
Beth Mooney, Sabbineni Meghana, Sophia Dunkley, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalam Hemalatha, Sushma Verma, Sneh Rana, Annabel Sutherland, Mansi Joshi, Ashwani Kumari
Gujarat Giants Squad: Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Sneh Rana, Sabbineni Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, Dayalam Hemalatha, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwar, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam Shakil