A capacity DY Patil Stadium - housing 45,000 spectators - witnessed the Indian women’s cricket team’s thrilling Super Over win over Australia women in the second T20I that helped the host level series at 1-1 on Sunday.
There was a lot of cheers and support for the home side. With the Women’s IPL set to begin in March next year, Indian women’s cricket vice-captain Smriti Mandhana believes that such turnouts will give a lot of confidence to the organisers and the franchises, who will invest in the league.
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“It is a massive opportunity. This India-Australia series is definitely a stepping stone because I do not think we are playing any home series after this and before the WIPL. When people see these kinds of matches with that sort of crowd, it is definitely going to be amazing for women’s cricket,” Smriti said on Sunday.
“Amazing things are in store, the BCCI is doing everything that it can to do for women’s cricket. This huge turnaround will give a lot of confidence to the organisers and to the people who will come on board the league,” added the southpaw.
This being India’s first home series in 21 months - the last time it played at home was against South Africa in March 2021 - the BCCI had made sure that it tests the waters ahead of the Women’s IPL, which will begin in the first week of March, by offering free tickets to fans. And the initiative seemed to have worked well.
“We are playing in India after a long time. The last series we played at home was in Lucknow (in March 2021), that too, we had a lot of COVID restrictions with the crowd. Wherever we have played even outside India, we have got a lot of support from the Indian fans, and we have one of the best fans in the world where people are crazy about cricket,” said Smriti.
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“This is our first series at home after almost two years and the response we got was amazing. It is very motivating to see that kind of support and enthusiasm from the crowd throughout the 40 overs.”
After DY Patil Stadium hosted the first two games, the caravan will move to the Brabourne Stadium, where the the remaining three fixtures will take place. As the venue is located in the heart of the city and well connected by public transport, a large number of fans is expected to turn up for those games as well.