The Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year was quite a happening one for Indian team. They reached the final of the tournament riding on the back of some terrific individual and team performances. Such was the dominance of the Indian women that they did not lose a single match in the tournament before going down to Australia in the all-important final.
The Indian girls have not played a single match since that fateful final against Australia in March and would be raring to have a go in the field. Here, we look at five such players who would be longing to carry their form from the T20 World Cup to the Women’s T20 Challenge:
The 16 year old girl from Haryana was undoubtedly India’s biggest star during the T20 World Cup. Shafali entered the World Cup as world number one T20 batswoman and immediately lit up the tournament showing the world what she is capable of. While the more experienced stars like Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues failed to get going in the tournament, Shafali came up with extraordinary performances match after match. She scored a total of 163 runs in five innings at an astounding strike rate of 158.25 and was India’s highest run scorer in the tournament. Unfortunately, the final against Australia was not the best one for her as she first dropped an important catch and then failed to get going with the bat as India slipped to an embarrassing defeat. Not having played a match since then, the youngster would be itching to step on the field and forget the past demons.
The veteran leg spinner Poonam Yadav was at her lethal best throughout the World Cup and ended the tournament with 10 wickets in five games. With her loopy leg breaks, Poonam showcased why is she India’s best bet with the ball in the shortest format and did not go wicket-less even a single time during the course of the tournament. Poonam was the one her skipper turned to every time they needed a wicket. She had an immense impact in India’s campaign at the World Cup and this was well recognised when she was the only Indian to be named in the ICC’s Team of the Tournament.
A twenty year old left arm spinner who can wield her willow, Radha played just three matches in the World Cup. But those three matches were more than enough for her to leave an impact as she ended the tournament with six wickets in three innings and scored 15 runs in two innings she got to bat. Her four-fer against the Sri Lankan women almost single handedly won the match for India. Radha has been a permanent feature in the Indian squad for quite some time now and a brilliant Women’s T20 Challenge here would make the youngster an indispensable part of the starting eleven.
One of the more experienced members of this Indian team, Deepti Sharma is a proper all-rounder. She is highly versatile left handed batswoman who can bat anywhere in the lineup and can bowl proper off-spin. One of the most dependable players in this Indian team, Deepti ended the World Cup with a total of 4 wickets and 116 runs in five innings apiece. Her brilliant all-round show was the only shining light for India during their otherwise humiliating defeat in the final as she took 2-38 with the ball and later held the batting lineup together with a solid 33 while the others fell like a pack of cards.
A veteran bowling all-rounder, Shikha Pandey was at her absolute best during the tournament and provided the Indian skipper with wickets at will. She put her wealth of experience in use and led the otherwise inexperienced Indian pace attack with extreme ease. There were questions raised about her performance before the start of the World Cup but she put all the naysayers to rest, picking up 7 wickets and scoring 19 runs in five and three innings respectively. The final against Australia was a disappointing one for Pandey as she was carted all along the park for 52 runs in her four overs without any wickets to show and she later managed only 2 runs with the bat. Pandey would surely like to put that terrible show behind her back while she steps on to the field during the Women’s T20 challenge.