IPL 2018: Five reasons why Supernovas vs Trailblazers is a positive sign for women's cricket

Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana led their teams in a historic game

As the men readied themselves for an electric clash at the top of the points table, the women fought butterflies in their stomach to take on this pitch for the first time.

As MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar squared off for the nth time, Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami came up against each other on a one-off occasion.

As Faf du Plessis and Kane Williamson played like seasoned IPL players, Suzie Bates and Ellyse Perry walked out on the same ground with an uninhibited sense of excitement in their disposition.

A historic T20 match for the women at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday (May 22), was followed by the first qualifier of the IPL, which was contested between the Chennai Super Kings and the Sunrisers Hyderabad. While the former was an exhibition match, the latter was to decide a finalist of the major tournament.

The men played for a lot more, but it meant a lot more to the women. The men's game marked the beginning of the IPL playoffs, but the women's game marked the beginning of something bigger.

Here is why Supernovas vs Trailblazers is an incredibly positive sign for women's cricket.

#5 Participation of overseas players

With a mix of Indian and overseas players taking part in the contest, the women's T20 challenge followed along the lines of the Indian Premier League. Many international superstars graced the game with their participation in the same, as every cricketer showed enthusiasm on the field, despite it being a one-off game.

The overseas players came from England, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, making this a global and all-inclusive event. It was covered by media across the globe, which thereby helped it reach audiences from different cricketing parts of the world.

#4 The commencement of something substantial

England v India: Final - ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Previews
The ICC Women's World Cup attracted millions of eyeballs to this side of the game

While the men's game is still miles ahead of the women in terms of popularity and support, a lot has changed in the past 12 months for the latter. The ICC Women's World Cup attracted millions of eyeballs to this side of the game and thankfully, the attention managed to stick considerably even after the tournament.

In an ecology such as this, it was the perfect time for an event like this to be organized in India, where cricket is nothing short of a religion. The build-up to the IPL qualifier not only helped the women's T20 entice more viewers, but also created room for these cricketers to play at the same venue on the same day.

This is just a start, but every movement has to begin somewhere. An ounce of water has been poured, the filling of the bucket for a full-fledged women's IPL will follow soon.

#3 IPL-like format

Image Court
Image Courtesy: Ellyse Perry Twitter

Since the game was played in a way parallel to the IPL, it was very easy for the audience to get hooked to it from the word go. There was no confusion in terms of the rules of the format, giving the viewers a way to follow the match without any complication.

The Indian stars lined up against each other with some overseas performers thrown into the mix, creating a perfect IPL-like ambience around the entire game. Since the thought behind the game was to ease into a women's IPL with a start like this, the formatting of the match was perfect in terms of the same.

#2 A nail-biting finish

Pooja Vastrakar held her nerves to score one run off the last delivery
Pooja Vastrakar held her nerves to score one run off the last delivery

Though the lukewarm response by the crowd turnout for the match seems like a discouraging sign for women's cricket, the excitement on the faces of those present told a positive story on the day. The number of people in the stadium grew in the final stages of the game and the audiences were entertained to the fullest by the thrilling contest between the two sides.

The match went down to the final delivery of the final over of the chase, where Pooja Vastrakar held her nerves to score one run off the last delivery to win the game for the Supernovas. It created a buzz around the stadium, as kids in the stands were seen enjoying the proceedings to the fullest.

Once a sporting event creates excitement and anticipation, it's only a matter of time before people start taking interest in the same.

#1 Worldwide coverage and engagement

It was covered by media across the world
It was covered by media across the world

Though the fans did not turn up for the game in Wankhede, it was watched by millions of people across the globe. The social media posts, as well as engagements for the same, amounted to a very good number, as people showed genuine interest in the proceedings of the match.

As mentioned before, it was covered by media across the world and thus, it not only catered to Indian audiences, but also all fans of the game on a global stage. As the reach of the event magnified, the interest people took in the same augmented automatically.

Supernovas vs Trailblazers is a step taken in the right direction, but there are still miles to go. It is a start of something substantial, but for it to transcend into a something big, a lot of time and effort needs to be invested in the right direction. A lot of work needs to be done going forward.

However, as they say, well begun is half done.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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