WPL 2023: Gujarat Giants heavily dependent on their top-order in their maiden voyage

The Gujarat Giants squad gives a lot of RCB's Men's team's vibes of the yesteryears which used to have world-class top-order batters and iffy bowling attacks.
Gujarat Giants WPL 2023 squad analysis?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

The Women’s Premier League starts on 4th March with the first match to be played between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Giants. The Gujarat-based franchise is owned by Adani Sportsline, which has several teams with the same name in a lot of other sporting leagues as well, including the Pro Kabaddi League, the Ultimate Kho Kho League, and the Legend’s Cricket League. The experience of the owners in managing various teams across different sports will help the Giants in the business side of things. The on-field performance though will depend on how the players and support staff turn up. Let’s take a look at their squad and try to analyze where their strengths and weaknesses lie and what sort of chances they have on paper.

Also Read: WPL 2023: Mumbai Indians' all-rounders make them a force to reckon with

Gujarat Giants WPL 2023 Squad

Squad: Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Sneh Rana, Sabbineni Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, Dayalan Hemalatha, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwer, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam Shakeel, Ashwani Kumari

Support staff: Mithali Raj (Mentor & Advisor), Rachel Haynes (Head coach), Nooshin Al Khadeer (bowling coach), Tushar Arothe (batting coach), Gavan Twinning (fielding coach)

Gujarat Giants have assembled a strong squad with a heavy Australian presence. They will be led by Beth Mooney with the recently retired Rachel Haynes overseeing the proceedings as the head coach. They have a host of international stars like Ash Gardner, Sophia Dunkley, and Deandra Dottin to name a few along with several exciting Indian domestic players who are waiting for their opportunity to shine. Last but not the least, the franchise has also secured the services of the biggest name in Indian women’s cricket — Mithali Raj. She will act as a mentor and advisor to the team, and you can only imagine the extent of the impact it will have on the squad, especially the young Indian girls. 

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GG Depth Chart


Dynamic opening options

Gujarat Giants have as many as five frontline openers to choose from. While Beth Mooney will be a certainty at the top, they can experiment with the other opening slot and play an overseas player — Deandra Dottin or Sophia Dunkley, or an Indian player — Sabbineni Meghana or Ashwani Kumari, based on the balance of the rest of the XI. While the exploits of Mooney, Dottin, Dunkley, and Meghana are well-known in the international circuit, Ashwani can be the dark horse as far as the opening slot is concerned. She’s a power hitter who has been doing really well in domestic cricket, and she also bowls medium pace.

Firepower with the bat

Power-hitting is an essential aspect of T20 batting but it is not a skill that is found in abundance in women’s cricket. Fortunately for Gujarat Giants, they have several batters in their squad who have a more than decent power game and have the ability to strike big at various stages of the innings.

Ash Gardner is the leader of the power hitter’s pack with a T20I strike rate of 132.4, which increases to 154.8 in the last 8 overs of the innings. In fact, no other female cricketer has scored more T20I runs than her at a higher strike rate. Deandra Dottin is known for her attacking game as well and has a T20I career strike rate of 124 which rises to 153.5 in the last 8 overs of the innings.

Other than these two, the Giants also have several batters who can chip in with the bat and score at a decent clip at the death. Annabel Sutherland has a strike rate of 133.9 at the death in her T20 career, while Georgia Wareham has a strike rate of 142.55. Sneh Rana has played handy cameos for India as well, and they also have a couple of hidden domestic gems in the form of Ashwani Kumari and Hurley Gala who can wield the long handle.


Inexperienced pace bowling unit

Most teams have a couple of senior, experienced pacers in their squads. This is an area where the Gujarat Giants are lacking. They have just three pace bowling options with international T20 experience — Annabel Sutherland (13 T20I innings), Mansi Joshi (7 T20I innings), and Deandra Dottin (51 T20I innings). And Dottin isn’t even a regular four overs pacer. Yes, they have more than decent Indian pace bowling talent in their squad, but the lack of experience can prove to be costly under crunch situations. The Giants have to be wary of that and will need to make their bowling plans accordingly.

No experienced left-arm spinner + no backup leg spinner

T20 bowling lineups are incomplete without left-arm spinners and the Gujarat Giants have just two of them, both of whom are uncapped domestic players — Tanuja Kanwer and Parunika Sisodia. They will be depending on one of these two, if not both, to come good, and if they don’t, they won’t have any experienced left-arm spinner to fall back to.

Their leg spin stocks are limited as well. While they have a brilliant leg spinner in the form of Georgia Wareham who’s coming off the back of a World Cup victory, there are no backups for her. Yes, Harleen Deol can turn her arm around to bowl some leggies, but you’d have ideally wanted them to have a frontline domestic leg spinner as a backup for Wareham, who might have to sit out of the XI because of the foreigner constraint, effectively leaving the Giants with no leg spin options in the game.

Top heavy batting

What is a virtue can also turn out to be a vice. While the Giants have a lot of openers to choose from, it also means that their squad balance is a bit lop-sided. They will be able to pick any two, or at best three, off Mooney, Dottin, Meghana, Ashwani, and Dunkley, meaning two or three high-quality players will have to warm the benches, perhaps for the entire season. Gardner and Harleen, their two main non-opening batters, also prefer to bat in the top four. This can backfire for them as they won’t have a lot of reliable batting in the lower middle order in case of a collapse.

Uncapped Players to watch out for

Hurley Gala

Hurley Gala is a 16-year-old star from Mumbai who was initially a part of the Indian U19 World Cup squad which won the trophy earlier this year. She’s a right-arm pacer who can smack some big blows with the bat. 

In the Women’s U19 T20 Trophy last year, she scored 122 runs at an avg of 40.67 and a strike rate of 143.52 while also picking up 7 wickets at an economy rate of 4.90. She had also impressed in the T20 series against New Zealand U19 last year, where she picked 7 wickets at an average of 7.57.



Ashwani Kumari

Ashwani is considered to be one of the finest strikers of the ball in the Indian domestic circuit. She is an opener from Jharkhand who also bowls right-arm medium pace. She had the 2nd highest strike rate among batters who scored more than 200 runs in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy last year — 135.42, and also had the 2nd highest individual score in the tournament — 95 off 57 balls against Karnataka, which included 11 fours and 6 sixes.

Don’t be surprised if you see her coming out to open the batting alongside Beth Mooney over international batters like Dunkley and Dottin.

Parunika Sisodia

Sisodia is a 17-year-old left-arm spinner from Delhi who has been in red-hot form in the domestic circuit. She picked 21 wickets in just 8 innings at an average of 10.14 and an economy rate of 2.76 in the Senior Women’s One-Day Trophy which concluded very recently. The Giants don’t have any international left-arm spinner which means Sisodia has a great opportunity to get into the thick of things and leave a mark straight away. 

Probable XI

Option A:

  1. Beth Mooney (C) (OS) (WK)
  2. Ashwani Kumari
  3. S Meghana
  4. Ashleigh Gardner (OS)
  5. Harleen Deol
  6. Hurley Gala
  7. Annabel Sutherland (OS)
  8. Georgia Wareham (OS)
  9. Sneh Rana
  10. Monica Patel
  11. Parunika Sisodia

Option B:

  1. Beth Mooney (C) (WK) (OS)
  2. Deandra Dottin (OS)
  3. S Meghana
  4. Ashleigh Gardner (OS)
  5. Harleen Deol 
  6. Hurley Gala
  7. Georgia Wareham (OS)
  8. Sneh Rana
  9. Tanuja Kanwer
  10. Monica Patel
  11. Mansi Joshi

Overall Verdict

A strong squad with several international stars, but a lot of dependence on the top four — top five. Their primary spin bowling options are good but other than that there’s a lot of inexperience in the bowling attack. The squad gives a lot of RCB men’s teams vibes of the previous years which had world-class top-order batters but not much balance apart from that. 

If their stars align and the top order delivers to its potential with a couple of domestic players stepping up, only then do the Giants have a chance of going the distance. Realistically though, it won’t be a shock if they finish outside the top two, or maybe even outside the top four.