Women's T20 Challenge: Deepti replaces Raj as Velocity captain; Dunkley, Cross, King, Wolvaardt among overseas stars

The Trailblazers players pose with the trophy BCCI

Deepti Sharma has replaced Mithali Raj as the captain of Velocity, while Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana continued to be in charge of Supernovas and Trailblazers respectively in the squads announced for the Women's T20 Challenge, to be held from May 23 to May 28 in Pune, on Monday.

Sneh Rana, who led Railways to their tenth T20 title earlier this month, will be the vice-captain of Velocity. Raj, who was in the squad but didn't play and instead mentored the Railways players, has remained tight-lipped about the future of her playing career like veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami, who is also missing from this year's edition.

Twelve overseas players - four in each side - from Australia, England, South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh and Thailand will feature in the competition, which returns after 2020.

While Alana King is the only player from Australia, Sophie Ecclestone, who was the leading wicket-taker in the Women's World Cup last month, will turn up for Supernovas this season, having played for Trailblazers in 2020. Her England team-mates Sophia Dunkley, who hit a match-winning hundred in the third-place playoff of the FairBreak Invitational Tournament on Sunday, and Kate Cross will also feature in the tournament. Ayabonga Khaka returns to the tournament with her South African compatriots Sune Luus and Laura Wolvaardt, all of whom were part of the recently-concluded competition in Dubai.

Thailand's Natthakan Chantham, who impressed with her fielding skills in the last edition, will don the Velocity purple this time, moving from Trailblazers much like captain Deepti. Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews complete the West Indian contingent while Salma Khatun and Sharmin Akhter make it from Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan clashing with the Women's T20 Challenge meant that Chamari Athapaththu missed out.

Nagaland's Kiran Navgire, who made a record unbeaten 162 during the Senior Women's T20 Trophy last month and finished with most runs, finds a spot in the squad as do Maharashtra's Aarti Kedar and Odisha's Sujata Mallik, who were the top two in the wickets charts.

Veda Krishnamurthy, Anuja Patil, Nuzhat Parween, Kashvee Gautam, Murali Anagha are some of the names, who were part of the last season but miss out this time. Another notable omission from the squads is allrounder Shikha Pandey, who led Goa in the Senior T20 Trophy.

Defending champions Trailblazers will take on Supernovas in the opening match with Supernovas then playing the afternoon fixture against Velocity the next day in the week-long competition which has the round-robin format followed by the final.

Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Taniya Bhatia (vice-capt), Alana King, Ayushi Soni, Chandu V, Deandra Dottin, Harleen Deol, Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Priya Punia, Rashi Kanojia, Sophie Ecclestone, Suné Luus, Mansi Joshi

Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (capt), Poonam Yadav (vice-capt), Arundhati Reddy, Hayley Matthews, Jemimah Rodrigues, Priyanka Priyadarshini, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, S Meghana Saiqa Ishaque, Salma Khatun, Sharmin Akhter, Sophia Dunkley, Sujata Mallik, Shradda Pokharkar

Velocity: Deepti Sharma (capt), Sneh Rana (vice-capt), Shafali Verma, Ayabonga Khaka, Kiran Navgire, Kate Cross, Keerthi James, Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra


  • May 23 - Trailblazers vs Supernovas

  • May 24 - Supernovas vs Velocity

  • May 26 - Velocity vs Trailblazers

  • May 28 - Final