At 16 years and 40 days old, India’s teenage opener Shafali Verma on Sunday became the youngest player ever (female or male) to feature in a Cricket World Cup Final (across both 20 & 50 over tournaments). As soon as Shafali took the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the all-important Women’s T20 World Cup final vs Australia on Sunday, she made the record her own.
The record was previously held by West Indies’ women’s cricketer Shaquana Quintyne when she played the ODI World Cup final in 2013 at an age of 17 years and 45 days old.
However, the final didn’t start on a great note for Shafali as she failed to grab a catch offered by opener Alyssa Healy on the 5th ball of the match bowled by Deepti Sharma. Till the time of writing, Australia had got off to a flying start with 14 runs off the 1st over.
Earlier, Australia captain Meg Lanning won the toss and opted to bat first at the MCG. Her counterpart Harmanpreet Kaur, who turned 31 on Sunday, said that she wanted to bat first too but seemed “confident” for the upcoming chase.
“My mom’s sitting somewhere in the stands. It’s a pressure game and we also wanted to bat first. We are quite confident while chasing, hopefully, the bowlers restrict them. We did some indoor practice. We are trying to staying together because you are not getting games it tends to affect your focus. We want to treat this like any other game and give our best shot,” Harmanpreet said at the toss.
While Australia are eyeing their 2nd T20 World Cup title in succession (5th overall), India are still searching for their maiden ICC tournament victory.
Both teams were unchanged from their previous games.
India Women (Playing XI): Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Taniya Bhatia(w), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Australia Women (Playing XI): Alyssa Healy(w), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning(c), Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Sophie Molineux, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Georgia Wareham, Delissa Kimmince, Megan Schutt
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