Run-scoring at a whole new level
Mumbai Indians began the Women's Premier League (WPL) pilling up 207 on the opening night, while Delhi Capitals bettered that with 223 on the following afternoon. It hinted at how the tournament would shape into a high-scoring event. Though there was a dip in the scoring rates towards the end, the WPL ended with a run rate of 8.08, the highest for any women's T20 tournament of 20-plus matches, surpassing the 7.73 during the women's Hundred in 2022.
Among the major women's T20 leagues, the previous highest run rate was 8.00 during the four-match Women's T20 Challenge event held last year. The 200-run mark was breached four times in the tournament across the 22 matches. 200-plus totals are a rare event in the Women's T20s as only four such totals have been witnessed across 632 games played in the major T20 leagues (WBBL, WCSL, Women's T20 Challenge, the Hundred and WCPL) before the WPL.
Overseas players dominate season one
The overseas players did the heavy lifting in the WPL, as only two Indians found a place among the top ten run-getters and two others in the top ten wicket-takers. 59.44% of runs were scored off the bat, and 62.08% of wickets picked by the bowlers in the tournament were by overseas players.
The overseas players took up the prominent roles expectedly, as every team had no less than three overseas players in their top six - 3502 of the 3716 runs scored by the overseas players came when batting in the top six. In fact, the leading run-scorer for all five teams was an overseas batter. Similarly, with the ball, each team had at least 8-12 overs from their overseas players, and sometimes even all four bowling their quota of four overs.
The overseas quicks took a chunk of the wickets that went to the fast bowlers - 71 out of 95. Less usage of Indian pace bowling options also contributed to it, as ten of the 24 wickets were picked by Shikha Pandey alone, who finished as the Delhi Capitals' leading wicket-taker. Shreyanka Patil is the other Indian to top the bowling chart for her franchise, as her six wickets were the highest for the Royal Challengers.
A quick start and a sedate second-half
After a high-scoring start to the tournament, the scoring rates went downhill as the pitches started to get tired. The average run rate across the first 11 matches was 8.58, while the last 11 had a run rate of 7.59, a clear drop in this metric by one run. In fact, the first six matches itself produced five totals of 190-plus, which also included a record four 200-plus totals.
But since then, the highest total was 189 for 2 by Royal Challengers during their chase against Gujarat Giants. The teams batting first, especially, struggled to get going in the second half of the competition, scoring at only 7.38, while the first 11 matches averaged 8.43 runs per over. There have been eight totals over 150 for the teams batting first during the first half but only four during the second half.
A tale of the two venues
Brabourne Stadium stood out as the faster scoring venue in this WPL, with a run rate of 8.5, while it was 7.63 at the DY Patil Sports Academy. The venue in Navi Mumbai was better for chasing teams as conditions got better for batting in the second innings. Chasing teams won eight of the 11 games at this venue, while all three 180-plus totals were defended successfully.
Brabourne had a similar record - seven games won by chasing teams, including the two successful chases of 175-plus targets - 189 by Royal Challengers and 179 by UP Warriorz. However, the venue also stood host for the only two sub-170 totals defended successfully in the tournament - 147 by Giants against Delhi Capitals and 162 by Mumbai Indians against Giants.
Compared to Brabourne, pacers found assistance with the new ball in Navi Mumbai. They took 25 wickets across 80 overs bowled during the powerplay at the DY Patil Stadium, where the batters struck at 101.24 at an average of 19.52. That played a role in restricting the batting first sides to below 140 in six matches. But in Brabourne, pacers took only 11 wickets in 71 powerplay overs, while the batters enjoyed success, scoring at 127.97 with an average of 49.9.
The sweep yields the runs
The percentage of runs scored against spinners in the WPL off the sweep shots was 19.88, marginally higher than some of the T20 tournaments held in the past year. However, the strike rates and boundaries show the effectiveness of the sweep shots in this competition. 732 runs were scored from the 369 sweep shots played against the spinners in the WPL at a strike rate of 198.37.
A boundary was hit on every three attempted sweep shots on average. The inaugural champions had three batters who yielded the most runs by playing sweep shots. Harmanpreet Kaur (73) and Nat Sciver-Brunt (59) were the only batters to score over 50 runs off the sweep shots, all without being dismissed. Sophie Devine, who narrowly fell short of the first WPL hundred, hit six sixes out of the 12 sweep shots she played in the tournament.