- Shamser Khalid
WPL Opening Ceremony Features Star Performances
The first-ever Women’s Premier League (WPL) kicked off with a bang on Saturday, March 4, at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The opening ceremony was a star-studded affair, with Bollywood actresses Kiara Advani and Kriti Sanon, along with Punjabi singer and rapper AP Dhillon, taking the stage by storm. The ceremony also featured BCCI officials, franchise captains, and the unveiling of the WPL trophy.
Excitement in the Stands
Excited fans wearing Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Giants jerseys lined up outside the stadium hours before the match began, chanting team slogans.
Anshu Singh, a teenage fan in the stands, expressed her excitement about the prospect of a successful women's tournament to match the lucrative Indian Premier League in the years ahead.
James Savage of the Deloitte Sports Business Group called the WPL an unprecedented investment that reflected the "huge growth potential" of women's cricket.
Star Performances for the WPL
Before the match, the crowd and special guests received plenty of entertainment from stunning performances on stage.
Kiara was the first to grace the stage, stunning the audience with her mesmerizing dance moves on popular Bollywood songs like Bhool Bhulaiya, Burj Khalifa, Punjabban, Rangsari, and Bijlee Bijlee.
Kriti, on the other hand, began her performance inside the dressing room, with the iconic Chak De India playing in the background. She then moved on to shake a leg on foot-tapping numbers like Coca-Cola, Thumkeshwari, Sweety Tera Drama, and Param Sundari, before Amritpal took over with his drums.
The Gurdaspur-born singer and rapper brought the house down with his popular numbers like Brown Munde, Excuses, Eh Munde, Tere Te, Insane, and Drop Top, among others. The energy was at an all-time high, and the crowd couldn't stop grooving.
As the performances drew to a close, all three performers took to the stage to thank the audience for their overwhelming support. It was a fantastic start to what promises to be an exciting tournament.
The WPL 2023 will feature 22 matches in its inaugural edition. The tournament will see five teams, including Mumbai Indians (MI), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Capitals (DC), UP Warriorz (UPW), and Gujarat Giants (GG), battling it out for the coveted title.
The five teams have already made some big-money buys, with India's Smriti Mandhana being the most expensive at Rs 3.40 crore. Harmanpreet Kaur was sold to Mumbai Indians for Rs 1.80 crore and was named team captain, while Alyssa Healy leads the UP Warriorz.
The tournament has also generated hundreds of millions of dollars, making it the second-most valuable domestic women's sports competition in the world. Some players will earn more for the three-week tournament than they would in an entire year.
Mumbai Indians captain Harmanpreet Kaur believes the WPL will benefit both cricketers and the sport, giving young girls more opportunities to express themselves and create a good team for Indian cricket.
The league stage will consist of 20 matches, with two semi-finals determining the top two teams for the championship game on March 27 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.