Shafali has brought happiness and positivity to team: Harmanpreet Kaur

back icon
safari
04 Mar 2020 | 09:11 AM
authorPTI

Shafali has brought happiness and positivity to team: Harmanpreet Kaur

Meanwhile England captain Heather Knight feels tackling spinners, particularly the in-form Poonam Yadav, will be crucial to her side's chances

heart

Share

Shafali Verma has not only lit up the ICC Women's T20 World Cup with her explosive batting but the "naughty" teenager has also added immense happiness and positivity to the Indian team off the field, feels captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

The 16-year-old Verma has scored 161 runs at a stunning strike rate of 161 in Australia, setting the tone for India's four Group A victories with fearless batting despite being in her first global tournament.

Ahead of Thursday's (5th March) semifinal showdown with England at the Sydney Cricket Ground, her captain acknowledged what the fresh-faced teenager has offered India behind the scenes.

"She's very naughty, gets so much happiness and positivity to the team, always wants to enjoy it," Kaur said.

"And when batting with her she's motivating you and releasing pressure, that kind of player you need in your team. Whoever is playing, wants to play for the country and give their best, she's enjoying for the team," she added.

Kaur said since this Indian side has been together for a while, it has now built a conducive environment for youngsters like Verma to prosper.

"Now this team has been together for a long time, we learn a lot from each other, learn a lot of cricket. It makes it easier for players such as Shafali because when anybody enters the team, they see everyone is working together.

"They also feel nice and try to do what others are doing,"she said.

The skipper, herself known to be a power-hitter, has endured a poor start to the tournament by failing to reach double digit scores.

Kaur insisted that everyone in the team is being handed out their roles to ensure that the side continues to perform well.

"Right now, what we are trying to do, is give individual roles so that everyone can come and perform for the team. I didn't perform with the bat but the team is doing well and we are enjoying that. That is more important for us."

Verma has certainly been in form Down Under but there's no getting away from India's disappointing women's T20 World Cup record against England.

They have never beaten Heather Knight's side in the competition, a run which includes an eight-wicket defeat in the 2018 semifinals.

But India are riding a wave in Australia, with an opening-night victory over the hosts paving the way for a flawless group stage.

"After losing the last semifinal, as a team we realised that we have to work as a unit, and right now you will see that our team is working as a unit and we are not reliant on just one or two players," Kaur said.

"We just need to keep doing the right things and just focus on the right things instead of worrying about the past. We cannot change that, we are looking positive and I hope we will play as a team and try to win," she added.

Tackling Poonam Yadav will be key against India: Heather Knight

England captain Heather Knight feels tackling spinners, particularly the in-form Poonam Yadav, will be crucial to her side's chances of upstaging an unbeaten India in the semifinal clash of the women's T20 World Cup.

Yadav bamboozled hosts Australia in the opening match of this tournament and her wicket-taking exploits haven't stopped there. She is leading the charts with nine scalps in four matches.

But the leg-spinner couldn't cast her spell the last time India met England in the tournament, conceding 29 from her four overs as Knight's side romped to an eight-wicket victory to reach the final two years ago.

"We've practised for her a lot, I thought we played her outstandingly in the last T20 World Cup and that was due to the preparation we had," Knight said on the eve of the match.

"We don't have (assistant coach) Ali Maiden anymore, who bowled brilliant leg-spin, but we've got a few coaches who have bowled it brilliantly and we've been really clear on how we're going to do things against her," she added.

Yadav has gone on to become India's leading T20I wicket-taker and her ability to deceive on Australian pitches has forced Knight to take note ahead of their crunch match.

"She's a massive threat for them and is an improved bowler since the last World Cup, so for us to be successful, we're going to have to play her and all their spinners well. That's going to be key in the game," the England skipper said.

The Indian bowlers have been in phenomenal form, apart from Yadav, Shikha Pandey stands fifth with seven wickets. And the two have been complemented well by the likes of Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma.

After losing to their opening game to South Africa, England have been under the pump to keep their semifinal hopes alive, which the skipper feels will go in their favour.

"It feels like we've built some momentum, we were gutted after the South Africa game and we've been playing knockout cricket since game two, that stands us in very good stead going into the knockout stages.

"We've started to get some players in real form and the players that aren't, you feel like they're just round the corner and can produce in a massive game such as the semi-final."

With rain forecast for parts of the day, a degree of flexibility will likely be required against India, a change in approach that Knight is willing to take on.

"We'll have a chat about what our strategy is. We'll be quite clear about how we want to do things but we'll have to be flexible.

"A lot of us have played in rain-reduced games before and it's all about who switches on the fastest, who adapts very quickly and who ultimately performs in that short space."

Tammy Beaumont opened the batting against West Indies but a potential reduction in overs on Thursday could lead to England loading their top-order with big hitters.

Her side are no strangers to battling the elements with Knight keen to press home the importance of being switched on from ball one, with a place in the final at stake.

"It can be quite manic if it is a rain-reduced game, we're make sure as a team that we're quite calm with the way we want to do things.

"The good thing about our team is that we've got a lot of variety, a lot of different skillsets bowling and batting, so we feel like we can adapt to any situation we're thrown in to."

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
India WomenEngland WomenShafali VermaHarmanpreet Kaur BhullarHeather Clare KnightICC Women's World T20, 2020India Women vs England Women - 1st Semi-Final - ICC Women's T20 World Cup, 2020

Related Articles

safari
INTERVIEW
Need to get better at handling pressure in knockout games as a team: Mandhana
The left-hander opens up about India's T20 World Cup campaign, Shafali Verma and much more
userHardik Worah
19 Apr 2020
safari
NEWS
Can't blame Shafali for loss: Harmanpreet
The 16-year-old India opener dropped Alyssa Healy's early in the match
userPTI
08 Mar 2020
safari
NEWS
India's win in the final could be 'start of a major breakthrough,' feels Lee
Hosts Australia will lock horns with India in the Women's T20 World Cup final
userPTI
07 Mar 2020
safari
WT20 FINAL PREVIEW
Clutch Australia await India as history beckons
India might be on a winning streak, but you don't bet against a team who have won this tournament four times
userHardik Worah
07 Mar 2020
safari
NEWS
Harmanpreet delighted at maiden T20 World Cup final
Meanwhile England skipper Heather Knight called for a rule change after rain knocked England out of the tournament
userPTI
05 Mar 2020
safari
IND-ENG PREVIEW
India set out to end ICC events England hoodoo
Heavy rain is predicted on the day of the two semi-finals and if both games are called off, India and South Africa will make it to the final
userHardik Worah
04 Mar 2020
safari
NEWS
Brett Lee backs India to make maiden women's T20 World Cup final
Only a special effort from their opponents can stop India from reaching their maiden final, feels Lee
userPTI
03 Mar 2020
safari
NEWS
Mandhana delighted with Shafali Verma's big-hitting prowess
The 16-year-old has scored 68 runs across two games in this World Cup, including five sixes and seven fours, at an impressive strike rate of 212
userPTI
26 Feb 2020
safari
NEWS
Need to come up together, can't rely on just one or two players: Harmanpreet
Kaur said with sprightly teenagers like Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma in the ranks, the team is "mentally very fresh"
userPTI
20 Feb 2020
safari
NEWS
Handling pressure will be key in T20 World Cup: Harmanpreet Kaur
India made a semi-final exit from the last T20 World Cup and in the previous ODI World Cup, they had finished as runners-up
userPTI
23 Jan 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved