Shafali Verma, Sophie Ecclestone enter T20 World Cup semifinals as No.1s

Sophie Ecclestone (L) and Shafali Verma.

India opener Shafali Verma and England spinner Sophie Ecclestone go into the semifinals of the ongoing T20 World Cup as the top ranked batter and bowler in the ICC Women’s T20 Players’ Rankings, announced Wednesday (March 4).

The 16-year-old Shafali has been explosive at the top of the order for India in the World Cup accumulating 161 runs in four innings till now. Although she missed on well-deserved half-centuries against Sri Lanka (47) and New Zealand (46), Shafali became only the second India batter after ODI captain Mithali Raj to top the T20I batting rankings.

In the process, Shafali takes over from New Zealand’s Suzie Bates (48 in four innings in T20 World Cup), who held the spot since October 2018. Among the other Indians, Shafali’s opening partner has dropped two places to sixth while another youngster Jemimah Rodrigues also dropped a couple of spots to ninth. India’s middle-order batter Deepti Sharma also benefitted 18 places to 53rd.

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Others to have benefitted from the World Cup are Sri Lankan captain Chamari Atapattu, England skipper Heather Knight, South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt and more. While Atapattu rose four places to 14th, Knight is back again in the top 15 courtesy her 193 runs which include a century against Thailand. Knight’s teammate Natalie Sciver is back again in the top 10.

On the other hand, Ecclestone’s eight wickets in four matches in the T20 World Cup so far have leaped her to the No.1 spot – first England bowler since Anya Shrubsole in April 2016 and first England spinner at the top since Danni Hazell in August 2015. India’s pint-sized pocket dynamo Poonam Yadav rose four places to eight while her teammates Deepti and Radha Yadav lost one and three places to drop at fifth and seventh respectively.

Among others, leg-spinners Amelia Kerr of New Zealand (up two places to fourth) and Australia’s George Wareham (up nine places to 10th) have made significant gains in the latest rankings update. Pakistan’s Diana Baig (up 34 places to 13th), Shrubsole (up five places to 17th), South Africa skipper Dane van Niekerk (up 12 places to joint-22nd) also made significant risings.

ALSO READ: Diana Baig – Her tryst with cricket 

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine is now the sole number one allrounder after coming into the tournament as a joint top-ranked along with Australia’s Ellyse Perry. Deepti has advanced nine places to seventh, the first time that she is among the top 10 in the allrounders’ list. Australia remain at the top of the T20I Team Rankings with 290 points and England in the second position with 278.

Fiery Volleys ft. Shikha Pandey

 Video   September 19, 2021

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