India crush England to lift T20 Women’s U-19 World Cup | Cricket - Hindustan Times

India crush England to lift T20 Women’s U-19 World Cup

Jan 29, 2023 11:30 PM IST

They routed England for 68 and won by 7 wickets in the final, making some amends as the senior India women had lost three World Cup finals

Finally, the sequence of losing in the World Cup finals has ended for the Indian women cricketers. It was the youth team that sealed the first success in emphatic fashion beating England in the inaugural ICC Women’s U-19 World Cup final at Potchefstroom, South Africa on Sunday.

Indian women’s cricket could not have timed it any better with the inaugural Women’s Premier League due to be played in March.(PTI)
Indian women’s cricket could not have timed it any better with the inaugural Women’s Premier League due to be played in March.(PTI)

The Indian bowlers skittled out England for 68 and then eased to 69/3, completing a seven-wicket victory with six overs left in the T20 competition. There were smiles as well as tears of joy as the Indian players and the coaching staff rejoiced after the triumph.

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Shafali Verma, the India senior opener who was roped in to lead the team, got what she wanted as present day after her 19th birthday. An emotional captain, Shafali could not hold back her tears of joy before lifting the trophy.

“I am very happy, I can’t express my thrill. The players backed each other and we achieved what we came here for. I am grateful to the support staff who have been diligently working with us and making us believe that we can win the tournament. Everyone performed so well. Be it Shweta, Parshavi, Soumya, Archana, Richa… the list is long. Hopefully, we are going to win the bigger Cup soon.”

Shafali will get that opportunity as she will re-join the senior side for the T20 ICC Women’s World Cup which starts in South Africa on February 10.

It was a creditable performance by the Indians who overcame their only defeat in the tournament, a seven-wicket loss to Australia, and then dominated the final. The senior women had lost all the three finals they had reached (ODIs -- 2005, 2017 and T20 -- 2020), and finally an Indian woman’s team can celebrate as world champions.

Indian women’s cricket could not have timed it any better with the inaugural Women’s Premier League due to be played in March.

India could not have imagined the final would be so one-sided. Chasing a mere 69, India lost Shafali (15) and fellow opener Shweta Sehrawat (5), and Gongadi Trisha (24). Soumya Tiwari (24*) and Trisha got together to raise a 46-run third wicket partnership after England had reduced them to 20/2 in the fourth over.

Trisha and Soumya built the handy partnership and when the former was out, India needed just three runs for victory, which they achieved with 36 balls to spare.

India elected to bowl and left the England batters reeling. They were all out in 17.1 overs as the Indian spinners took control with off-break bowler Archana Devi (2/17) and leggie Parshavi Chopra (2/13) along with Mannat Kashyap (1/13), Sonam Yadav (1/3) and Shafali (1/16) doing most of the damage. Medium-pacer Titas Sadhu too stood out, taking two England top-order wickets, Liberty Heap (0) and Serene Smale (3) and conceding just four runs in her four overs.

The win can be termed extra special for coach Nooshin Al-Khadeer, who was a member of the Indian women’s team that finished runners-up in the 2005 World Cup. She and other staff members worked with the U-19 players at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before landing in South Africa. She said after the victory, “This is a moment we have waited for very long. We have a very good future.”

Khadeer was attached to the Railways team, guided them to many domestic titles. The junior Indian team was prepared over 10 months to help mount a strong challenge at the World Cup.

“There was self-belief in the team. We came here to win and the girls did the job with perfection. They were commendable throughout the world cup,” she added.

Shweta finished as the highest run-getter in the tournament, aggregating 297 in seven innings. However, Grace Scrivens, who scored 293 runs and took nine wickets, was declared Player-of-the-Tournament.

India made a wobbly start to their chase as Shafali’s lofted hit was brilliantly caught at mid-on by Alexa Stonehouse off leg-spinner Hannah Baker. Shweta top-edged a turning delivery from Scrivens to be caught at short fine-leg.

Soumya and Trisha then started cautiously before playing some lofted shots to guide India towards the target. Trisha was bowled by Stonehouse going for a heave to get the winning runs but India could afford that luxury.

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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