The 16-year-old teen sensation Shafali Verma showed her batting prowess in the recently concluded World T20 tournament played in Australia that finished one month back. She created an impact with her attacking stroke play which stunned the opponents.
The Indian Cricket Team were clubbed with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in Group A. The opening match against defending Champion Australia played at the Sydney Showground Stadium, Sydney on 21st February, the hard-hitting right-handed bat smashed four successive boundaries off Megan Schutt bowling which stunned the Australian bowlers. Verma smashed 29 off just 15 balls and added 41 runs for the opening wicket with Smriti Mandhana. She was dismissed by Ellyse Perry trying to hit another boundary. The Indian batting struggled and posted 132 for 4 in 20 overs. Poonam Yadav did the magic picking 4 for 19 in 4 overs to help India win the match by 17 runs.
Shafali Verma showed her dominating performance in the 2nd match also against Bangladesh played at WACA Stadium, Perth on 24th February. After being invited into to bat by Salma Khatun, Verma looked in the dangerous mood with aggressive batting during the first six overs. She made a quickfire 39 off 17 balls with 2 fours and 4 sixes which laid a strong foundation. After the fall of Verma’s wicket, the Indian batting struggled. Veda Krishna Murthy cameo, in the end, helped India post 142 for 6 in 20 overs.
The Indian bowlers performed brilliantly to restrict Bangladesh and win the match by 17 runs. For her attacking 39 off 17 balls, Verma was awarded the player of the match.
In the third group match against New Zealand played at Junction Oval, Melbourne on 27th February, Shafali Verma played another blinder of an innings scoring a quickfire 46 off 34 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. After being invited to bat, Verma showed her attacking stroke play and took advantage of power play overs. She was dropped twice during the innings and was finally dismissed trying to hit another big shot. The Indian middle-order struggled and made 133 for 8 in 20 overs.
Despite Amelia Kerr superb batting, Shikha Pandey held her nerves to help India clinch a thrilling 3 run win to go top of the points table.
In the final league game played at Junction Oval, Melbourne on 29th February, Verma made the batting look easy and played innovative strokes which helped India chase down the target of 114 runs with ease. The hard-hitting batter scored 47 off 34 balls with 7 fours and 1 six. For her superb knock, Shafali Verma was awarded the player of the match.
The semi-finals match against England was washed out due to rain which meant India made into their maiden World T20 finals against Australia.
Chasing 185 runs to win in the finals against Australia played on 8th March at iconic MCG Ground, Shafali Verma was dismissed cheaply for 2 by Megan Schutt which dented India’s hope and were bowled out for 99 runs. She had tears in her eyes for not doing a job for the team. Despite her failure in the finals, Verma had an outstanding debut at World stage scoring 163 runs from 5 matches with 3 half-centuries to her name.
Before the World Cup started, the Indian team took part in the Tri-series including hosts Australia and England. She had scores of 30, 5, 8, 49, 10. In the 2nd round-robin match against Australia, India was chasing 174 runs, Verma looked in sensational touch scoring a quickfire 49 off 28 balls which laid a strong foundation for a great 7 wicket win.
She needs to improve her running and convert starts into big scores. It was an amazing performance by the youngster who proved her worth on the massive stage against top-quality teams.
Shafali Verma made her T20I debut for India against South Africa on 24th September at Surat. In November 2019, she became the youngest to score a fifty in international cricket. During the five-match T20I series against West Indies in West Indies last year, Verma scored 158. She was awarded the player of the series.
With the 50 over World Cup coming up next year, Verma would be looking to stamp her authority and help Team India win the title.