For ‘senior’ Shafali, another World Cup opportunity

At 16, Shafali Verma was India’s highest run scorer in her first senior T20 World Cup in 2020. Seven months earlier, she had become the youngest to feature in a T20 International at the age of 15. And so when she was caught behind by Alyssa Healy, in the third ball of an unsuccessful chase, while trying to go for a boundary, it was just seen as an off day for one of the most promising young cricketers.

Cut to three years later, watching her lead India in the maiden U19 Women’s T20 World Cup final shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, the journey since the 2020 World Cup hasn’t been as smooth as many believed it would be for Shafali. Sunday presents an opportunity for Shafali to create happy memories of an ICC event.

With over 2,000 runs in 74 games, Shafali has had a mixed run with the senior side. In T20Is, the format she has most featured in, the explosive opener scored 487 runs in her first 19 matches at a strike rate above 146 up until the 2020 final in Melbourne.

In the next 32 outings, the strike rate dropped to 127.83. In the ODIs, while she averages a tad better than the shorterest format, she was dropped for three consecutive games at the World Cup last year.

At the Under-19 World Cup, as the most experienced player in the side, she has had to guide the team.

“Yes, I’ve played a lot of finals and seen it all,” Shafali, who turned 19 on Saturday, said on the eve of the final.

“It’s about going out there and enjoying the game. I’ve told the teammates ‘don’t stress, just give your 100 percent without thinking of it as the final. Just believe in yourself. It’s all past and that cannot be recreated. We are determined to bring the World Cup this time and are trying to improve day by day,” she added.

India suffered one defeat in the Super Six league stage where they lost to Australia after being bowled out for 87.

“We had nervous moments and couldn’t sleep, thinking about whether we could make the final or not… But we have learnt from the mistakes and here we are. Now we’re all very confident, clear of our roles. Everyone is enjoying each other’s company and staying normal, we are not thinking much.I may be senior to many of them but I’ve told them ‘on the ground we all are equal’ it’s about keeping everyone comfortable,” Shafali said.

In the semifinal, India registered an eight-wicket win after their bowlers restricted the New Zealanders to an under-par 107/9.

India will be up against a strong England side that topped its Super Six group by winning all the four matches. They suffered a batting debacle in the semifinal against Australia when they were bowled out for 99 in 19.5 overs. But their bowling attack fought back to keep Australia to 96 in 18.4 overs.

Aggressive England

Positive intent has been a keyword for English cricket of late. From Eoin Morgan’s white ball revolution to Brendon McCullum’s Bazball philosophy in Test cricket. It had rubbed off on the Under-19 side too. “We set out as a group and as a coaching staff for the U19s to play with a positive mindset,” captain Grace Scrivens had told Sky Sports. “That might have been influenced by people higher up, but we were all keen on buying into the positive intent and mindset that we have shown.”

On the eve of the final, the England skipper spoke about the positives. “It was unbelievable to be a part of it (final). It’s about resetting and going to the next game. We want to play with a positive mindset, and play fearless cricket. I’m sure yesterday’s collapse will not affect us,” Grace said.

Teams: (India): Shafali Verma, Shweta Sehrawat, Gongadi Trisha, Soumya Tiwari, Sonia Mehdiya, Richa Ghosh, Hrishita Basu, Titas Sadhu, Mannat Kashyap, Parshavi Chopra, Sonam Yadav, Shabnam, Falak Naz and Yashasri Soppadhandhi

(England): Grace Scrivens, Ellie Anderson, Hannah Bakers, Josie Groves, Liberty Heap, Niamh Holland, Ryana MacDonald-Gay, Emma Marlov, Charis Pavley, Davina Perrin, Lizzie Scott, Seren Smale, Sophia Smale, Alexa Stonehouse and Maddie Ward.

U19 Women’s T20 World Cup final, Live on FanCode, Star Sports Network, 5:15 pm

Source link

Leave a Comment