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18-year-old Indian superstar Shafali Verma blasts six boundaries off a single over

Shafali Verma is not just India’s star player at the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, she’s the star player at the tournament full stop.

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Verma captains and opens the batting for India, and the 18-year-old brings a wealth of experience with her to the tournament in South Africa.

Capped for the first time by the senior India women’s team at the age of just 15, Verma has already played at both a full ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, and she was also a member of the silver-winning side from last summer’s Commonwealth Games.

In terms of pedigree, Verma is on another level to her competitors at this tournament, having already played 74 full internationals for India despite her still tender years (she will turn 19 a day before the final of this tournament).

And Verma’s quality shone through in a stunning first outing by the Indian team at the U19 T20 World Cup.

Video U19 Women’s T20WC 14 Jan 23
India overcome South Africa in a run-fest | U19 Women's T20 World Cup

Verma and opening partner Shweta Sehrawat put on 70 runs in the powerplay as they looked to chase down South Africa’s impressive total of 166. But it was the sixth and final over of that Powerplay where Verma took over.

South African right-arm medium pacer Nthabiseng Nini saw her first ball of the over go to the boundary for four runs.

And that was followed by another four, and another, and another, and another.

Not content with five consecutive boundaries, Verma strummed the sixth and final ball of the over for six, racking up 26 runs off the over and accelerating from 18 off 7 to 44 from 13.

That was effectively all-she-wrote for Verma, who fell shortly afterwards for 45, but the damage inflicted in that one brutal over had set up the chase and put India in charge of the required run rate.

Video cwc19 14 Jan 23
Wicket - Shafali-Verma - South-Africa-U19s-Women v India-U19s-Women ICC U19W T20WC 2023

Her opening partner Sehrawat top-scored with a brilliant and unbeaten 92* off just 57 deliveries as India made the chase look straightforward.

But it was Verma’s blitz that broke South Africa’s spirit, and sent a message out to the rest of the contenders at this tournament.

With Verma set to join back up with the senior squad along with her U19 teammate Richa Ghosh following the conclusion of this tournament, the next two months could be historic for a teenager with the brightest of futures.

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