Women’s cricket is entering the IPL T20 match section as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has chosen women cricket player squads for two teams that will face a challenge match ahead of the IPL 2018 Qualifier 1 on May 22 at the Wankhede Stadium.

In a significant development towards holding IPL-style T20 match for female cricket teams, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had recently confirmed that it will hold women’s T20 match ahead of the playoffs on May 22 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. And on Thursday, the BCCI announced that is has chosen squads for the two women’s teams that will face off in a challenge match before the qualifier match. The contest will pit the two women teams – IPL Trailblazers, captained by Smriti Mandhana, against IPL Supernovas, to be led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

The challenge match will be first of its kind featuring 26 female cricket players – including 10 international stars from Australia, England and New Zealand. India’s left-handed opener Mandhana will lead the Trailblazers team, and will team up with key members like Alyssa Healy who will play as wicketkeeper, Suzie Bates, rising sensation Jemimah Rodrigues and highest wicket-taker in ODIs Jhulan Goswami. While on the other hand, Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the Supernovas team supported by members like England’s Danielle Wyatt, Mithali Raj, Ellyse Perry, Veda Krishnamurthy with Taniya Bhatia as the wicketkeeper. The Supernovas team will also feature Australian captain Meg Lanning who has just recovered from a leg injury.

IPL is the largest and most popular cricket leagues held across the world and introducing women teams to this league will be a small yet significant step towards a prospective league involving women’s stars in the future. Involving women cricketers in IPL will also signify that BCCI is trying to nurture and promote women cricketers – alongside the budging hype towards men’s cricket. The match will begin 2 PM on May 22 at the Wankhede Stadium and will be followed by the IPL 2018 Qualifier 1 at 7 PM the same day.