India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur will rejoin Lancashire Thunder for the 2019 Kia Super League, the team announced on Wednesday. “I am delighted to sign with Lancashire Thunder once again for the Kia Super League. I really enjoyed my first spell in Lancashire, everybody made me feel very welcome and I have some great friends in the dressing room, who I can’t wait to play with again,” Harmanpreet said in a statement. “It is a very talented squad and I know we will all be hungry to go one further this year, following the disappointment of narrowly missing out on Finals Day in 2018,” she added.
Harmanpreet has played 96 T20Is for India and scored 1910 runs at an average of 28.08, including six half-centuries and one century. The Punjab-born, who is a part-time offspinner, has claimed 25 wickets. She led India at the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 and became the first woman to smash a ton for India. She scored 103 off just 51 balls against New Zealand in the curtain-raiser match. Harmanpreet scored 164 runs in the last edition of the KSL, the highest in the Lancashire squad. “Harmanpreet made a fantastic start last summer, holding her nerve in the final over to hit the winning runs at Surrey after joining up with the squad late,” Lancashire head coach Alex Blackwell said.
“She also played a great knock in our Roses victory against Yorkshire in Blackpool and I am certain that she will be determined to showcase even more of her skills this summer. It is great to have one of the world’s leading T20 batters in our ranks once again,” she said. Harmanpreet is the first overseas player to sign with Lancashire for this season. The team will add two more overseas players ahead of the commencement of the KSL. Last month, Lancashire announced England pacer Kate Cross as the new captain following the retirement of Danielle Hazell. Cross’s England teammates Alexandra Hartley and Sophie Ecclestone, both who play their county cricket for Red Rose, also rejoined the team.
The fourth edition of the KSL is scheduled to commence on August 6 and will see six teams – Lancashire Thunder, Loughborough Lightning, Western Storm, Surrey Stars, Yorkshire Diamonds, Southern Vipers – playing each other twice in a league format.
The top three teams qualify for the finals day on September 1, with the second and third-placed sides competing for the chance to face the first-placed league winners in the final. Southern Vipers, Western Storm and Surrey Stars have won the tournament once each in 2016, 2017, 2018, respectively.