Melbourne Renegades allrounder Harmanpreet Kaur has been awarded WBBL|07 Player of the Tournament, while Sydney Thunder batter Phoebe Litchfield has been named the season’s Young Gun, each being recognised for their recent campaigns.
Kaur, in her debut season with the Renegades and first season in the tournament since WBBL|04 where she played three seasons with the Sydney Thunder, was electric from the opening game.
The T20 captain for her home country, Kaur has become the first Indian player – and fourth international – to claim the Player of the Tournament. She routinely demonstrated her experience with both the bat and ball and ability to contribute game-changing moments.
Overall throughout the WBBL|07 season, Kaur played 12 games in red and in 11 innings, finished the regular season as the side’s leading run-scorer with 399 runs at an average of 66.50, a strikerate of 135.25 and her highest-ever WBBL score of 81*.
With the ball, Kaur as also a damaging threat, finishing with 15 wickets, bowling 41 overs throughout the 12 matches, and ending up with an economy rate of 7.46. Her best-bowling figures of 3/22 came against the Melbourne Stars.
She took home Player of the Match honours on three occasions across the season – a 65-run, one-wicket game in a 15-run win against the Brisbane Heat, a 73*-run, two-wicket game in a six-wicket win against the Adelaide Strikers, and a 35*-run, two-wicket game in a seven-wicket win against the Sydney Sixers.
Speaking to media following the announcement, Kaur was appreciative of receiving the award, citing a well-rounded and well-supported team who’s embraced her to perform at her best potential.
“I’m extremely delighted, it’s something very big that I have achieved,” Kaur said.
“I have never thought of winning any award or something, I think I was just doing my job and I’m really happy I have achieved this and it was something that I’ve never thought [of] and I won this and I’m very happy about that.
“I’m very thankful to my team and all the support staff, they have been great during this time and have supported me a lot. It was totally a team effort, I was just doing my job, what the team was requiring from me.
“We have a team that has gelled together. We support each other and that’s what we have been doing. I haven’t put any extra pressure on myself, I’ve just enjoyed being here and supporting my teammates.”
Kaur, one of six Indian players to appear in this year’s edition of the WBBL, mentioned that any chance her and her teammates get to play in tournaments overseas and away from international duties does wonders for their confidence and ability going forward.
“Playing any tournament will give you lots of confidence and WBBL is something that gives you a very big platform back home also, every Indian wants to play this league,” Kaur told.
“I was lucky, I was the first one who got this opportunity to play and today, winning this Player of the Tournament, definitely gives lots of confidence to Indian girls also and they can also come here and perform and be part of this and then there are all the chances to achieve a lot in a cricket career.
“I think this is a platform to perform that will definitely give you lots of confidence and when you know you have done something great in domestic tournaments, international cricket will be a little bit more easier for you. If you’ve done something during the WBBL, you will get that confidence because the competition is very high [quality] and if you do well that will definitely set bigger targets for you.”
The Melbourne Renegades finished second in the WBBL|07 standings and earned direct entry to ‘The Challenger’ final to be held at Adelaide Oval tonight, facing the Adelaide Strikers after their win against the Brisbane Heat in The Eliminator last night.
Kaur is positive that the Renegades have what it takes to beat any team on the night, explaining that a good performance in finals is important but took delight in saying the team knows its individual strengths, a key factor in making it to this point in WBBL|07 so far.
“I think it’s all about how you take each game and if you give your best on that particular day then you can win the game, otherwise, it’s never easy for you,” she said.
“I think that’s what I really like about the WBBL, every game is so important to win and every game is so important, just go there and perform for your team. I think a competition like this always gives you lots of experience and exposure.
“Both [of] the teams are good and it’s all about giving your best and whatever things we have been doing so far, we just want to continue doing that cause those things give us really good results and we don’t need to think of what other teams are doing… we just need to stick to our process and stay together and that is more important to us.
“Definitely [winning the title] would give me a lot of confidence because I have never won any title like this so far and if we win that will be a very great achievement for me.”
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The other post-season accolade announced was the Young Gun award, given to the best player under 21 years of age, presented to Sydney Thunder batter Litchfield. Having completed her third season in the WBBL, the 18-year-old impressed all season, in the midst of juggling, and completing her HSC studies and exams at the same time.
Litchfield was the first-drop for the injury-ravaged Thunder in WBBL|07, scoring 263 runs at an average of 21.92 and a strikerate of 109.13 with a highest-score of 49 against the Melbourne Stars – in the Thunder’s first win of the season.
After being named the Young Gun from this year’s tournament, Litchfield said it was a special, surreal feeling, noting the many other worthy recipients, such is the breadth of young talent in the WBBL.
“It means a lot to be recognised with this award. It’s a surprise to be honest, I could think of a number of other young players who would be deserving of this award, which is really exciting for the future,” she told.
“Batting at number three was a challenge but also a great opportunity. I was very privileged that [head coach] Trevor Griffin trusted me with that spot and I hope I made the most of it.”
The WBBL|07 Finals continue tonight with The Challenger between the Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval from 6:40pm ACST for a spot in The Final. The Perth Scorchers gained automatic qualification to the decider after finishing in first place, the game to be held at Optus Stadium on Saturday 27 November from 4:10pm AWST.
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