Indian Women’s T20 opener Shafali Verma has attained a new high in her career on Wednesday as she was awarded the number 1 position in Women T20I Rankings list that was released by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
At just 16 years of age, Shafali has now become the youngest cricketer ever – in both men’s and women’s –to have attained the number 1 rank in any of ICC’s Player Rankings tables. To attain this feat, Verma jumped 19 places and overtook Suzie Bates, the former captain of New Zealand team.
Verma now sits at number 1 position with 761 points with a comfortable lead of 11 points. In the ongoing Women’s T20I World Cup held in Australia, Shafali has scored 161 in just 4 matches with a strike rate of 161 and an average of 40.25, no wonder she is one of the key players in the Indian squad. Her strike rate is the best amongst all the batswomen in this tournament.
As a young girl, Shafali Verma pretended to be a boy just so she could play cricket.— ICC (@ICC) March 4, 2020
Now, the 16-year-old has risen to be the No.1 T20I batter in the world!
She sat down with us for an exclusive chat about her inspiring journey 📽️ pic.twitter.com/40I8E60u4F
Shefali’s contribution in the tournament so far has been titanic and is one of the reasons why the team in blue has not been beaten yet in the current Women’s T20 World Cup. Also, She is the 2nd player to have reached the No. 1 rank in Women’s T20I batters after Mithali Raj.
It took the teen prodigy less than 6 months to conquer the T20I universe. Verma, from Rohtak, made her debut in September 2019 when she played against South Africa in Surat. In 18 T20I matches so far, Verma has scored 485 runs with a strike rate of 146.96 and an average of 28.52.
Meanwhile, Smriti Mandhana who is Shafali’s opener partner fell two spots in the latest ICC Ranking to 6th position after a string of poor performances in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Jamimah Rodrigues, slipped 2 ranks as well, she ranks 9th now.
In the bowling rankings for T20I, Endlang’s spinner, Sophie Ecclestone, dethroned Megan Schutt from Australia to take the 1st position, and by doing so, she became the only 2nd English player to be ranked No. 1 after Anya Shrubsole took the spot in April 2016.
🚨 RANKINGS UPDATE 🚨— ICC (@ICC) March 4, 2020
Youngsters at the top of the world! New No.1 on the @MRFWorldwide ICC Women's T20I Rankings following the #T20WorldCup group stage!
Batting ▶️ Shafali Verma 🇮🇳
Bowling ▶️ Sophie Ecclestone 🏴 pic.twitter.com/KU4pAjKIxr
Currently, Ecclestone is the second highest wicket taker in the Women’s T20I World Cup with 8 wickets. Poonam Yadav tops the rank with 9 wickets taken in 4 matches. Yadav too has made in the top 10 of ICC Rankings for women bowlers in T20I. Deepti Sharma ranks 5th, Radha Yadav ranks 7th, and Poonam Yadav ranks 8th.
The rise of both Ecclestone and Shafali has filled the fans with excitement as India and England are set to face each other in the semifinal of the Women’s T20I WC which will be played on 5th March in Sydney. The other semifinal will be played between South Africa and Australia on the same date and at the same venue but at night.
In the competition, India was the only team to have won all the games in the groups. Australia who is hosting the Women’s T20I WC has booked its place in the knockout stage as they won their match against New Zealand on Monday and will face South Africa who topped Group B with 7 points.