WBBL: Harmanpreet Kaur back with Sydney Thunder, Smriti Mandhana joins Hobart Hurricanes
Mandhana was named ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year for 2018. (Image: ICC)

Harmanpreet Kaur, captain of the Indian women’s T20I team, and her deputy Smriti Mandhana are headed back to Australia to participate in the fourth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).

Harmanpreet will return to Sydney Thunder, having finished as the franchise’ leading run-getter in the second season with 296 from 12 innings at an average of 59 and strike-rate of 117. The first Indian cricketer to appear in the WBBL, Harmanpreet was named Thunder’s Player of the Tournament.

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She is India’s top-ranked player in the ICC Women’s T20I batting rankings, at third. In 93 career T20 matches, Harmanpreet has scored 1886 runs and taken 25 wickets. In the recent Women’s World T20 where India crashed out at the semi-final stage, Harmanpreet scored a blazing hundred in the team’s first match. She finished with 183 runs at 45.75 and a strike-rate of 160.52.

Harmanpreet Kaur is India's top-ranked player in T20Is at sixth.
Harmanpreet Kaur is India’s top-ranked player in T20Is at sixth.

Mandhana, 22, has signed with Hobart Hurricanes having previously played for Brisbane Heat in the WBBL’s second season. She has had a successful 2018, ending the Kia Super League as the highest run getter with 421 runs from 10 matches and then scoring an unbeaten 72 and 51 as India clinched an ODI series 2-1 over Sri Lanka in October.

At the Women’s World T20, Mandhana finished with 178 runs at 35.6 and a strike-rate of 125.35 which featured a career-best 83 versus eventual winners Australia.

Her maiden ODI hundred came at Blundstone Arena in 2016 in Tasmania, where Mandhana will be heading. “I’ve heard from many players that the Hurricanes group is a great squad to be around and I can’t wait to get to Tasmania for the matches,” she said.

Added Hurricanes’ coach Salliann Briggs: “Mandhana is a proven performer on the world stage, we saw that just last week with her knock against the Aussies. I can’t wait to see her in purple, she’s an exciting addition not only for us but for the whole competition.”

Both Harmanpreet and Mandhana were named in the ICC’s team of the Women’s World T20 this week.