The teenage sensation, Shafali Verma rose to the top spot in ICC women’s T20 International Rankings after jumping 19 places to surpass former New Zealand captain, Suzie Gates, grabbing the spot with 761 points. She is the only Indian batsman after Mithali Raj to top the T20I batting rankings.
The teenager has been in top form at the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia, having gathered a total of 161 runs in four matches so far with an average of 40.25, despite being her first global tournament. The 16-year-old is the youngest player ever in Women’s Cricket as well as Men’s Cricket to achieve a World no. 1 ranking in International Cricket. Notably, she has the highest strike rate of 161 among all the batswomen in the World Cup tournament.
Verma has been one of the key players for India in their World Cup campaign so far and is one of the main reason for India remaining unbeaten till now. The right-handed batsman from Rohtak made her International debut in India vs South Africa (Women) in Surat last year. She has played 18 T20I matches till now and has amassed 485 runs with an average of 28.52, including 2 half-centuries with her highest score being 73 runs.
From No. 20 to No. 1 in just around 6 months is an outstanding and remarkable achievement by the teenager. Among the Indian bowlers, Poonam Yadav has advanced four places to the eighth position due to credible her performance at the World Cup.
However, Shafali’s partner, Smriti Mandhana fell two spots to fourth, due to low scores at the T20 World Cup. New Zealand captain, Sophie Devine is now the top all-rounder and Sophie Ecclestone from England is the top wicket-taker with a 779 rating.
However, Australia remains at the top of ICC Women’s Team rankings with 290 points followed by England with 278 points. India has advanced to the finals of the World Cup and will play against the hosts, Australia, on Sunday. Australian vice-captain, Rachael Haynes being quite impressed with Verma said, “ I watched her on the Gold Coast during the A-series, she’s a clean striker of the ball.” Talking about the final match against India, she said, ” They’ve got a really strong team, they are one of the best in the world at this format.”
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