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Women's Cricket

Shweta Sehrawat turns things around with help from Shafali Varma

Vice-captain Shweta Sehrawat was on 6 (12) at one stage before going on to score a match-winning 92* (57) as India won their opening U19 World Cup match.

Shweta Sehrawat turns things around with help from Shafali Varma

Shweta Sehrawat on way to her 92* vs South Africa (BCCI)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 Jan 2023 3:22 PM GMT

Shweta Sehrawat admitted her 92* off 57 balls, which led India to a 7-wicket win over South Africa in the U19 World Cup on Saturday, was the best T20 knock she had ever played.

Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony after being adjudged the Player of the Match, the Indian vice-captain said, "This was my best ever T20 knock. In the beginning, I couldn't time the ball very well, but then later I covered up for it. My natural game is also attacking, but we have decided as a team to have a combination of me and Shafali at the top, so my job at the beginning was just to stay in the middle."

When Sehrawat said she was having some troubles at the start of her innings, she was not being modest. It seemed for a while that the nerves had gotten to her as India began the chase of 167.

Shafali was seen walking up to Shweta several times, asking her to calm down and to keep her eyes on the ball.

At one point, Shweta was on 6 off 12 balls even as captain Shafali went on a rampage at the other end. South Africa looked awed by Shafali's reputation, but bowled much harder lengths to Shweta. At one point, Shafali even correctly predicted from the non-striker's end that the next ball would be overpitched.

The exchanges between the two youngsters - both from north India, one from Chandigarh and one from Delhi - also made for some interesting hearing on the stump mic.

But it was after Shafali's wicket that Shweta came into her own - pulverising the bowlers at will.

On air, Mignon du Preez compared Shweta to Harmanpreet. That she idolised Smriti Mandhana's batting and Virat Kohli's captaincy was also mentioned by the commentators. What could also have been mentioned by them was how the opener had turned things around after a poor start - much like how Rahul Tewatia had come up with a miraculous knock in the IPL.

Shweta fittingly hit the winning runs, a boundary through covers, to remain unbeaten on 92 as India won the match by 7 wickets with more than 3 overs to spare.

It was fitting also because it would have probably been her who would have been the captain of the side had the U19 team not drafted in Shafali and Richa Ghosh, like how some other teams had not called up international players for this tournament.

Shweta Sehrawat becomes the first Indian woman to score a fifty at the U19 World Cup. This was also her first international fifty.

Going by the range of shots the opening batter played vs South Africa, it seems Shweta Sehrawat is here to stay.

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