Smriti Mandhana has always been in the limelight for her wonderful performance as the star opener. The talented girl said that she felt relieved from the pressure of expectations and credited the rise of the teenage prodigy Shafali Verma.
The wonder girl Shafali Verma is a fearless player who scores without any hesitation, making her name globally. The 16-year-old have scored 68 runs across two games so far (vs Australia and Bangladesh), including five sixes and seven fours, at an impressive strike rate of 212.
Shafali, who is making her ICC Women’s T20 World Cup debut in Australia, picked up the Player of the Match award for her 39 runs against Bangladesh, in the same match in which Mandhana did not play due to viral fever.
There were times in the past when the absence of Mandhana in the opening overs would be a big deal to worry about but things are not the same anymore. According to Mandhana too Verma is capable of filling her boots.
“Shafali has been a huge positive coming into the T20 side,” said Mandhana. “The way she’s going about her batting, it’s so easy to bat alongside her.
Understanding the similarities in style Mandhana further said:
“I used to score a lot of our runs in the last two or three years, especially in the Powerplay, but now with Shafali coming in, she’s getting the runs in the way I do. It makes the team more balanced.”
The senior player was all-praises while appreciating young Shafali and said, “She’s got a routine she likes to follow, and that’s the best thing about her. No-one has gone in and told her she has to change that.
“I used to have a major role in Powerplays, but Shafali is getting the quick runs in those first overs now too. She’s made a huge impact and the team has become more balanced thanks to her.
“I don’t think we’ll be going into the game thinking about a total, but we will continue playing the way that is working for all of our batters,” She added.
Verma’s entry that she made in Australia, made her undoubtedly the talk of India’s next opponents New Zealand, who they face at Melbourne’s Junction Oval on Thursday, 27th February 2020.
The White Ferns won their opener against Sri Lanka in addition to captain Sophie Devine’s record-breaking half-century. On the other hand for India who has had two consecutive stunning wins, hence winning their third game in Melbourne would secure their progress to the semi-final stage. But the situations aren’t as easy as it seems. It would be a cut-throat competition.
“Personally, I love the thought of facing Verma,” said Tahuhu. “It makes me fire up a little bit more and I’m really looking forward to playing here, she added confidently.
Recalling the times when she faced Verma the bowler said, “I actually played her in the T20 Challenge in India last year and I know she’s not going to take a step back.
“I’ve had a pretty good lead into this tournament playing in the Women’s Big Bash League over here and the Super Smash competition back home.
“I’m in a pretty happy place with my bowling at the moment and I have experience of the conditions have been in Melbourne for a few years with the Renegades.
This article was first published on ICC