Cricketer Shafali Verma, all of 15 years of age, announced herself on the big stage with a promising knock in Velocity's win over Trailblazers in the Women's T20 Challenge in Jaipur on Wednesday.
Chasing down a modest target of 113, Shafali took on some of the leading bowlers in the world in Trailblazers' ranks to make 34 off 31 balls. However, it could have all gone horribly wrong for the youngster had Sophie Ecclestone managed to hold on to a difficult return catch when Shafali was on 0.
The Haryana girl made most of her second opportunity by launching into a flurry of strokes, particularly off Rajeshwari Gayakwad's left-arm orthodox and Shakera Selman. She looked assured in the middle when she pulled Selam for back-to-back boundaries to get herself going.
Despite losing her experienced partner Hayley Matthews, Shafali maintained the team's positive start by smacking Gayakwad thrice to the fence before lofting her for a six over long-on.
Her pursuit for boundaries eventually cost her, when she looked to go big off Harleen Deol only to spoon a catch to the point fielder.
After Velocity's win, Shafali told former India captain Anjum Chopra, "I wasn't nervous. I enjoyed my batting. I wanted to give a good contribution to my team. My association and my father have shaped me as a batter."
Asked about her favourite player, the teen replied, "Sachin Tendulkar is my favourite player and role model."
In February this year, Shafali scored 128 off 56 balls, third highest score in women's T20, for Haryana against Nagaland in the Indian Senior T20 competition.
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