WPL 2023: Bigger, brighter, bolder — The season’s story

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Culture

As February meandered to a close, WinZO went all-out with their fourth season of the eagerly anticipated extravaganza — WinZO Premier League. Our annual shindig has always been one of the best ways to bring together employees, partners, and clients.

In 2020, WinZO’s co-founder Saumya conceived an idea that would ignite a spark in every team member and embody the spirit of giving it your all. The outcome was nothing short of remarkable — the birth of WinZO Premier League. This league is the level-playing field that WinZO strives to be at all times. While winning is important, participating and giving your best shot is equally defining. It is aimed at bringing together diverse team members, varying opinions and giving them a stage to be expressive.

WPL has become an integral part of our culture and every year, the Ninjas unite to compete for the ultimate prize. It’s more than just a game — it’s a carnival of celebration that truly embodies the WinZO spirit. No matter what your level of play is, WPL is a thrilling experience that inspires you to give your best.

The event was a tremendous success, and here are some of the major highlights of this 3-day extravaganza.

Day 1: WPL Auction

The participation rate skyrocketed by 50%, and we had a whole bunch of fresh-faced Ninjas joining in on the fun for the very first time. The tournament kicked off with a WinZO-styled birthday bash for Saumya, and we kept the good times rolling with an auction party that was intensely competitive. Players were snapped up, teams took shape and the action was just about to get heated.

Auction Party: Tension and anticipation ran high as each team eagerly awaited the auction day to snap up the best players and assemble the most formidable squad. The atmosphere was electric as teams went head-to-head in a fierce and fast-paced bidding war to secure the crème de la crème of talent in the company. The rush of adrenaline was palpable as prices soared higher and higher, and just when we thought things couldn’t get any more intense, in walked Prem, who took the excitement to a whole new level by upping the ante and pushing the limits of what was possible. It was a battle of wills and strategy, and in the end, only the strongest survived.

WPL welcomed two new exciting teams in their fold: Phoenix and Hustlers.

Phoenix was led by Sumit Solanki, Tanmoy and Pranjali.

Hustlers, on the other hand, was led by Prem, Ronak and Shikha.

Ninjas of the day: Success is never a fluke — it takes brilliant planning, and Aman Jain was the main person behind this flawless execution. He was ably assisted by Praveen, Kanderp, Trivikram, and Rahul Gera.

Ahh, and there were so many memorable moments too — From intense bids to shelling out big bucks for players. Mohit DG emerged as the highest-paid player while Rahul Gera was trusted to perform after a disappointing last season.

Here’s how the teams looked:

Day 2: All about the action

This year, the WinZO family expanded and welcomed new members with open arms, including some badass ladies who rocked the field! We saw some serious hustle in all kinds of positions, with Samanta and Kaushik leading the charge like absolute legends — they fielded, batted, bowled, and even umpired like pros.

But let’s not forget the real MVPs here — the audience, the WinZO ninjas! They showed up big time to support their teammates and trash-talk the competition. And while some folks were busy keeping the event running smoothly, setting up the field, and keeping everyone hydrated, others were up in the commentator box, hyping up every player and keeping the energy high.

Big shoutout to Saumya, Sahil Mahajan, Shivam Dhammi, Parikshit, and the whole crew up in the booth for making sure everyone felt included and appreciated, both on and off the field.

All in all, this kind of teamwork and community spirit is what makes the WPL so special. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie just learning the ropes — when you’re part of the WinZO family, you’re part of something truly magical and strive to be the difference.

Now it’s time for the tale of the undefeated Lions and their battle against the mighty Sharks! As the two teams faced off for the first time, the air was thick with tension and nerves — even the Lions, who were used to crushing the competition, could feel the fear of losing.

But the Sharks were no joke, led by the cunning trio of Manveen, Rahul Sharma, and Anshul. These guys had a plan, and they executed it with precision, holding the Lions to a measly score of 69. It could have been a moment of glory for the Sharks, a record-breaking upset that would go down in history…if only they had actually won!

Tough luck, fellas — looks like the Lions’ bowlers and batters, and astute planning were just too much to handle.

Of course, everyone wants to be part of the Lions — who wouldn’t? But let’s be real, only a lucky few get to don the coveted lion emblem on their jerseys.

And yeah, there were moments of brilliance — proper resurgence story.

Take Rahul Gera, for example — he must be breathing a sigh of relief after his performance this year (if you know, you know wink wink) — he really stepped up for the team.

And then there’s Sachin Sharma, who the Lions were smart enough to retain. He stood out from the pack and became the MVP of the tournament!

Let’s not forget about Mohit Dayal Gupta — the most expensive player of the tournament — who actually managed to justify his price tag with some killer skills on the field. Hats off to his captains Puneet, Susanta, and Koyal for recognizing his true worth.

All in all, it was a wild ride, full of drama, suspense, and some seriously talented players. Who knows what next year will bring — maybe the Lions will finally meet their match, or maybe they’ll continue their reign of glory. One thing’s for sure — we’ll be watching!

Hold onto your hats, folks, ’cause we’ve got a wild lineup of cricket stars to talk about!

First up, we’ve got Nikhil Budhia — the one-man army, the lone wolf! He managed to score 98 runs in just three innings, with a strike rate that’s higher than a hot air balloon on steroids! Seriously, 181.5? That’s wild! And let’s not forget that he smacked six sixes and five fours — talk about hitting it out of the park!

But Nikhil wasn’t the only one tearing it up on the field. We’ve got Aditya, who managed to snap up 5 wickets and pull his team, the Dragons, out of the losing table. Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite make it to the top against the Panthers, but hey, it’s the effort that counts, right? WInZO certainly believes so!

We also had proper belters of the ball — Paavan and TT from the Lions, who played a cameo this time around and absolutely crushed it with a strike rate of 225 and 242, respectively! That’s some serious superhero-level stuff right there.

Hey, hey — let’s not forget about the ladies, either — Priya and Koyal were absolute match-winners for the Wolves and Panthers. They could not only hit the ball out of the park, but they could bowl circles around their opponents too. Talk about a power duo!

Let’s bring it all back to Prem, who was the most aggressive player in the auction but unfortunately couldn’t quite bring that same energy to the field. Hey, we all have off days, right?

Last but not least, let’s give a shoutout to the Dragons for their smart moves in the auction — they kept their funds till the very end and managed to snag some key players like Vishal Sharma, who turned out to be a total star on the bowling front.

And if there’s one thing we learned from this tournament, it’s that comebacks are always possible! The Dragons rose up and took on the Panthers, proving that setbacks are no match for a little bit of courage and determination. All in all, it was a wild ride, and we can’t wait to see what these cricket stars have in store for us next!

Moments that will resonate!

Wait! The final few hours were riveting! Lions taking on the Wolves, game on the edge, audience supporting the underdogs (Wolves constantly portrayed themselves to be so). And then, the match was sliced open when Nikhil Bhudia was bowled by Aman, which proved to be the game-changing moment. It completely shifted the momentum towards the opposition team. This was undoubtedly the second most celebrated moment after the final victory.

Can we ever forget the stunning piece of fielding by Ashutosh Mundra, who managed to save a six in the finals?

Unbelievable performances on the field became the norm. Well, even Nath ran for four runs between the wickets! It was an epic moment and truly demonstrated the true spirit of the game. It was one of those moments that makes your heart race and your hands sweat with excitement.

Speaking of heart-pumping moments, let’s not forget Rishabh Gupta’s diving effort to save a boundary. Injuries seemed like a symbol of pride as players gave it their all for the win. That’s the kind of dedication that every team needs.

Moving on, let’s talk about team strategy. The Lions captains, Paavan, Saumya, and Ashutosh, were exceptional in terms of building their team. They were clear about their bidding strategy and organized practice sessions in between matches. They played a crucial role as captains and proved to be instrumental in their team’s success.

The bids for Vinay Pandey by Lions and Vishal Sah by Cheetahs were worthy investments, as both players proved their worth on the field. And, let’s not forget the underdog, Tanish, who was bought by Lions for just 100 points but managed to justify his worth with an outstanding performance.

Last but not least, a huge shoutout to Vikas Agarwal and Rahul Agrawal for capturing those priceless moments that can be cherished forever. These moments will be etched in our memories forever, and we owe it to them for capturing them so beautifully.

Who were the MVPs?

The competition was fierce, the stakes were high, and the pressure was mounting. Each team had their own set of star players who were expected to deliver nothing but the best.

The Panthers had Mohit DG and Sourabh Shreemali who were batting with utmost determination, while Geetansh and Sourabh Shreemali were equally effective with the ball.

The Wolves were not far behind with Nikhil Budhia and Rishabh Gupta unleashing their batting prowess, and Awal and Gaurav Luthra tearing through the opposition’s batting lineup with their fast-paced deliveries.

The Lions were a force to be reckoned with, boasting a solid batting and bowling lineup with Paavan, Sachin, and Vinay leading the charge with both bat and ball. The captains Saumya and Aman Jain ensured that the team stayed motivated and focused throughout, while Ashutosh Mundra put immense pressure on the opposition with his exceptional bowling skills, resulting in other bowlers taking wickets as well.

The Dragons were always punching above their weight, Sumant and Abhishek Nath showcasing their skills with the bat and Aditya and Ghanendra Srivastava unleashing their bowling prowess.

The Sharks, led by Rahul Gera and Nitin, had a strong batting lineup, while Vikas Kapoor, Nikita Peer, and Rahul Sharma were quite formidable with the ball.

The Cheetahs were impressive in their own way! Vishal Sah was the star all-rounder for them while Manik Bajaj took up the mantle to hit some lusty blows. Akash Singh too showcased his skills with the ball and was a canny customer with his variations.

The Hustlers created a lot of stir at the auction table and few of their picks did show fightPrem and Tushar Kumar unleashing their batting prowess and Vipin, Shikha, and Jatin wreaking havoc with the ball.

The Phoenix had Aditya Raj and Himanshu Kandpal delivering some impressive batting performances, while Aditya Raj and Sumit Solanki were in their elements with the ball.

In so many different ways, WPL 2023 is a spectacle worth witnessing.

If it has not been clear yet, let’s come to the winners. Such a talented bunch of individuals. It’s not every day you see a team that can hit a ball and throw a ball with the same intensity. And let’s not forget their incredible ability to run, to field and to squeeze out opponents. Ain’t no luck when the Lions saunter out on the field. A commanding performance, and the worthy winners of WPL 2023.

Here’s what the players said:

Parikshit: Could not replicate the same with bat and ball as last year but left no stone unturned with my commentary. The energy to beat the lions remains the same. Hope we achieve this one day. Overall, it was one of an experience having lots of new faces this year.

Abhishek Nath: Every year, WPL sets a new benchmark: a benchmark of what a strong and a small team can consistently achieve by defeating every opponent in a way that seems almost flawless.

Hats off to Paavan and Saumya for leading from the front and showing us again how crucial it is to be a good leader to a team. Once again congratulations to team Lions. Cheers!!

Kaushik: WPL reflects the nature of WinZO as an org — we are all fierce, passionate, competitive and result-oriented people. WinZO literally means the spirit of WINNING. Regardless of whoever wins every year, WinZO comes out as a stronger unit post-WPL. WPL is an event where six months before people start planning about WPL, and six months post WPL — people keep teasing each other about the event.

Prem: Loved the auction but could not identify the key players as this was my first season. Loved the energy and the spirit of people towards WPL. Am sure next time we are gonna come back stronger

Rahul Gera: Over the course of two seasons, my performances were drastically different. I enjoyed every moment of WPL, liked the spirit and the passion with which everyone contributed and made it way more than just a tournament. I still remember the quote by John C. Maxwell that goes like “The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.” Sharks will come back stronger than ever.

Sumit Solanki: Being able to play cricket with colleagues was a fantastic way to bond and build relationships outside of the typical work environment. It was great to see everyone coming together and having fun, regardless of their cricketing abilities. Overall, WPL was an incredibly enjoyable and memorable experience, and I hope that we can continue to have similar events in the future.

Thank you for organizing such a fantastic event.

Aarshiya: really loved the vibe, and got to know folks from different departments. One of the events which I’ll cherish as I love watching cricket and here I got the opportunity to play a critical role in the team. Overall liked the spirit of the game and the competitiveness between the teams

Nikita Peer: WinZO Premier League had a mandatory woman’s over. It was my first brush with cricket and indeed a fun one. The event gave me an opportunity to connect with my team beyond work and was cool.

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