Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana to lead in Women’s T20 exhibition matches

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Jaipur will host four women’s T20 exhibition matches on the sidelines of the IPL playoffs. The round-robin matches will be played on May 6, 8 and 9 before the final on May 11.

Unlike last year when two teams, Supernovas and Trailblazers, had contested a one-off exhibition match, this season a third team, Velocity, will take part. Senior India players Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana will captain the three teams.

This is the second year in a row that the BCCI has decided to conduct women’s matches during the IPL playoffs, and this season the format will be a single round-robin rounded off with a final.

As reported earlier, overseas players from half-a-dozen countries will be part of the exhibition matches, which are an attempt by the BCCI to test the strength and popularity of women’s T20 in India where the IPL has taken deep roots since its inception in 2008.

ESPNcricinfo understands all four games are likely to be telecast live, with the BCCI set to finalise the timings in consultation with the host broadcasters. Last year, the Supernovas and Trailblazers contested a one-off match that ended up as a last-ball thriller. The match was played before Qualifier 1 of the men’s IPL at the Wankhede Stadium. The match was broadcast live, but was played in the middle of the afternoon with a 2 pm start time that did not enthuse too many fans to turn up, leaving the stands mostly empty.

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