Clinical India lift inaugural ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup

Shafali Verma and Co lift inaugural ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup

Shajin Mohanan S
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India celebrate World Cup win © Getty Images

Shafali Verma led India put on a clinical performance to become the champions of the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Sunday (January 29). Pacer Titas Sadhu set the tone for the day with an incredible spell of seam bowling, while some stunning piece of fielding made sure that England could never get away after the early blows.

With only 69 to get, India eased their way into the target and the trophy despite losing their dangerous opening duo of Shafali Verma and Shweta Sehrawat early.

Dream opening spell

Opting to field first, India were given a great start by pacer Sadhu when she removed big hitting Liberty Heap with the fourth ball of the opening over. The right arm pacer dugged it into the pitch and the batter couldn’t control the shot after she went for a pull and ended up offering a simple return catch to the bowler.

With left hander Grace Scrivens at the crease, India chose to open the bowling with off spinner Archana Devi instead of Mannat Kashyap. And Niamh Holland fell soon trying to scoop a ball from outside the off stump and was bowled. 

However, it was fielding brilliance from G Trisha that sent Scrivens back. England’s skipper slinked down the crease against Archana and lofted a wider delivery to long-off before Trisha plunged forward to complete the catch.

The 18-year-old Bengal pacer then got the ball to nip back to dismiss wicket-keeper Seren Smale. Shafali kept her on and Sadhu finished with enviable figures of 6 for 2 from her four overs. 

Fielders fantastic

With England reeling at 22 for 4, India kept the pressure up with some incredible ground fielding. Apart from Richa Ghosh dropping Ryana MacDonald-Gay, there weren’t many blemishes on the field. 

But the best effort the day came from Archana as she pulled off a one-handed stunner at extra-cover to remove MacDonald-Gay. India didn’t stop there, Soumya Tiwari then ran Josie Groves out with only one stump to aim at the non-striking end.

Hrishita Basu was quick on the field and stopped a couple of boundaries with a vigilant Kashyap stopping a few hard hits at point.

Spinners Strangle

It wasn’t just Archana who strangled the England batters, other spinners also chipped in. India’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament, leg spinner Parshavi Chopra picked up a couple of wickets, while Kashyap, Shafali and Sonam Yadav had a wicket apiece.

Eventually England were bowled out for 68 in the 18th over with only four batters getting into the double figures but none of them reached the 20-run mark.

England strike back

Although Shafali started with a boundary and then a six, Alexa Stonehouse pulled off a good catch to send the big hitter back in the third over of the innings bowled by Hannah Baker. All the six overs were bowled by the spinner in the power play.

Then Scrivens struck with the big wicket of Shweta Sehrawat, the leading run-getter of the tournament, as the batter top edged one to short fine-leg. Soumya Tiwari lofted Baker over extra-cover to get off the mark with a boundary. On the next delivery, she received a reprieve as Scrivens put down a tough change at slip.

India ended the power play 30 for 2 with Trisha giving Tiwari company.

Calm partnership

Once they lost their openers, India needed their number three and four to bat sensibly to get them over them the line. And that’s exactly what Tiwari and Trisha did. They didn’t take unnecessary risk and picked runs by hitting the balls to empty spaces even as England kept an attacking field.

Even though Trisha was struggling at one end, Tiwari tucked Sophia for a four through fine-leg before cutting Groves for another boundary. Once the pacers came on, Trisha managed to shake off her rustiness and hit three boundaries to reduce the target to one shot. 

Even though she fell in the attempt to that glory shot, Trisha had already made sure that India had one hand in the trophy. Eventually 

Brief Scores: England 68/10 in 17.1 overs (Ryana MacDonald-Gay 19; Titas Sadhu 2/6, Parshavi Chopra 2/13) lost to India 69/3 in 14 overs (Soumya Tiwari 24*, G Trisha 24; Hannah Baker 1/14) by 7 wickets POTM: Shafali Verma; POTS: Shweta Sherawat