On Monday, the first-ever Women’s Premier League (WPL) player auction took place in Mumbai, where 87 players were selected by five teams. Out of these, 30 were international cricketers. A total of INR 59.5 crore was spent during the auction. India’s vice-captain Smriti Mandhana was the most expensive player in the auction. Mandhana stole the thunder in the inaugural WPL auctions as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pipped Mumbai Indians (MI) in an intense bidding war to acquire the services of the star opener. RCB succeeded in signing Mandhana for a whooping amount of Rs 3.40 crore (USD 410,000).
Ashleigh Gardner became the first-ever Australian cricketer to be sold at the WPL auction on Monday. Three teams namely Mumbai Indians, UP Warriorz, and Gujarat Giants were involved in a tough fight to get the Australian all-rounder. Finally, Gujarat Giants managed to win the bid and bought Gardner for Rs 3.2 crore.
After missing out on Mandhana and Gardner, MI fought till the end and ultimately managed to land Natalie Sciver. Mumbai managed to outlast UP Warriorz in the bidding and sealed the deal for the English all-rounder for Rs 3.2 crore. Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who was registered with a base price of 50 lakh, managed to fetch a huge amount of Rs 2.6 crore. As many as four franchises, Delhi Capitals, Mumbai, UP Warriorz, and Gujarat were interested in signing Deepti. UP Warriorz made their first bid at Rs 2.2 crore and eventually succeeded in signing her.
The hard-hitting Indian opener Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues, the star of the T20 World Cup win against Pakistan on Sunday, were picked by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.20 crore respectively. Australian wicketkeeper-batter Beth Mooney was sold for Rs 2 crore. Gujarat Giants made a late entry into the bidding for Mooney. Gujarat outfought Mumbai and RCB to bag the 29-year-old Aussie batter.
RCB and Delhi Capitals once again squared up in a bidding war for Richa Ghosh. And this time, RCB emerged victorious and signed the Indian power-hitter for Rs 1.9 crore. Mumbai acquired the services of Pooja Vastrakar for Rs 1.9 crore. Delhi Capitals and UP Warriorz withdrew from the bidding after the price went up so high.
India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was signed by MI for Rs 1.8 crore. Mumbai succeeded in beating off competition from RCB and Delhi Capitals to make Harmanpreet a part of their squad.