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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Emotional Shafali Verma eyes off historic South Africa double


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Potchefstroom (SA): Victorious ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup-winning captain Shafali Verma has wasted no time in turning her attention to leading India to more success at next month’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

An emotional Shafali played a pivotal role in helping India claim the inaugural U19 title with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over England on Sunday and the 19-year-old is now eyeing off a historic double.

Shafali is already an established star in India’s senior side and wants to make the visit to South Africa even more worthwhile with another piece of silverware at next month’s tournament, ICC reported.

“No, the big one also,” Shafali noted when asked if the U19 trophy was the only one she was looking to take back from South Africa.

“I am someone who focuses on task at hand,” she said.

“When I entered the Under-19s, I only focused on winning the Under-19 Cup and we have won that today,” Shafali said.

“I will look to take this winning confidence with me and win the senior World Cup,” she said.

“I will try and forget this and get involved with the senior setup and gel with the team and win the World Cup,” Shafali said.

Shafali was part of India’s squad that fell at the final hurdle at the 2020 T20 World Cup, when Australia defeated the Asian side by 85 runs in front of more than 85,000 fans at the MCG.

Shafli was a baby-faced 17-year-old when that final took place in Melbourne almost three years ago, but the India star said she still feels the pain from the loss.

“Melbourne was a very emotional day for me in that final game, we didn’t win the game,” Shafali recalled.

“When I joined the Under-19 team, I’m just thinking, ‘you know, we have to win this Cup.’ I’m just telling all the girls, ‘We have to win this Cup, we are here for the Cup,” she said.

“We had lost the World Cup and it was tears of sadness. Today, they were tears of happiness because we achieved what we came here for,” Shafali said

“I tried controlling it but it couldn’t happen. I will look at this as a big achievement and look to use this to learn something more. I will try to score more runs for India and am not going to be satisfied with this Cup. This is just the beginning,” she said.

Shafali finished the U19 event as the third leading run scorer with a total of 172 runs, with teammate and fellow opener Shweta Sehrawat topping the charts with a whopping 297 runs.

Spinners Parshavi Chopra (12 wickets) and Mannat Kashyap (nine) were among the leading wicket-takers at the tournament and India coach Nooshin Al Khadeer said there was even contributions from the entire squad.

“The most special thing about (this group) is the belief,” he said,

“It was a bad game against Australia but the way they have gathered and played thereafter, all credit to the vibes we have. We kept it very simple; we thought we would just play proper cricket and simple cricket, and we would achieve this, Khadeer said,

“We have a good future back in India,” she added.

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