Young Shafali Verma, who, on Sunday had become the youngest Indian cricketer to score an international fifty after she surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s 30-year-old record, was at it again in the second T20I against West Indies as she led the way in a clinical run chase to help India take a 2-0 lead in the series. Verma smashed an unbeaten 69 off just 35 deliveries after Deepti Sharma’s heroics helped restrict the rivals to just 103 for 7 in their 20 overs.
Sharma returned with figures of 4 for 10 at the Darren Sammy Stadium at Gros Islet before the duo of Verma and Smriti Mandhana notched up their second successive hundred-plus stand for the opening wicket as the Eves in Blue won by 10 wickets with 57 deliveries to spare.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, the West Indian opening duo of Hayley Matthews and Stacy-Ann King struggled to find runs on a slow wicket before the latter fell to Shikha Pandey’s fast bowling. Radha Yadav then got Shemaine Campbell out for a duck as the pressure increased on the hosts. A cautious partnership between Matthews and Chedean Nation followed, but the two were unable to take the attack to the Indians as the run rate drastically dipped. The former was eventually sent back by Pooja Vastrakar for 23 that came in 35 balls.
Nation then combined with Natasha McLean to help up the ante with some counter-attacking knocks in the last few overs, but Sharma proved to be the nemesis as she bagged three wickets in her last two overs. West Indies could only muster up 22 runs in the last four overs and could only end with a score of a little more than 100.
Verma took little time to get going as she hit four successive fours off the bowling of Chinelle Henry in the first over and followed it up with two more in the next to set up the run chase. Mandhana, at the other end, found regular boundaries too but was overshadowed by the young Verma, who got to her fifty in just 26 balls in only the eighth over of the innings.
It was the hard fastest half-century for India by a women’s cricketer, with Mandhana occupying the top two spots. Verma ended the match with ten boundaries and two sixes while the left-handed Mandhana scored four fours in her unbeaten knock of 30.
The next match of the five-match series will be played on November 14 at the Providence Stadium at Guyana.
Brief scores: West Indies 103/7 in 20 overs (Chedean Nation 32, Hayley Matthews 23; Deepti Sharma 4-10) lost to India 104/0 in 10.3 overs (Shafali Verma 69*, Smriti Mandhana 30*) by 10 wickets.