Teenage sensation Shafali enables Sydney Sixers to win a thriller

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Indian girls are dominating the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. As many as eight Indian girls are representing different franchises in WBBL this season.

Last night teenage sensation Shafali Verma was the Player of the Match in the WBBL thriller for Sydney Sixers against Hobart Hurricanes at Hobart. She outshone Australian stars Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner by her daring stroke-play.

Sent in to bat, Hobart Hurricanes scored 5 for 125 in the allotted 20 overs. Radha Yadav, the left arm spinner from India, took two wickets conceding 31 runs.

Then it was all Shafali. Opening the batting, she hit six splendid fours in her 57 off only 50 balls, adding 63 runs with Perry for the third wicket. The Sydney Sixers won in the final over by five wickets.

Shafali Verma, who this year became the youngest player, male or female, to represent India in all three formats of international cricket at just 17 years in age, hit freely in her second Big Bash match. The knock was made even more impressive following the dismissals of star players Healy and Gardner, who both managed just three with the bat.

After the match, Sixers’ teammate Nicole Bolton was full of praise for the Indian teenager’s performance in a crisis.

“We all knew what she was capable of,” Bolton said. “I thought for someone who is 17; that is years beyond. Hopefully, now she’s got that confidence that she’s stepped up and won us the game with her bat, and hopefully that will take her through the rest of the tournament.”

Shafali’s success with the bat was assisted by the bowling performances of Perry, Yadav and Maitlan Brown which restricted the Hurricanes.

Perry followed her bowling efforts with 27 runs in a support role with Shafali. Hurricanes’ star bowler Molly Strano (3 for19) collected her third wicket to end Verma’s brilliant innings to give Hobart a glimmer of hope.

But needing two runs from the final five balls, Bolton (17 not out) and Brown (4 not out) finished the job for Sydney Sixers to record their second win in two matches.

We expect greater glory from teen sensation Shafali in years to come.

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