When Soumya Tiwari punched Hannah Baker through covers to help India beat England by seven wickets while chasing just 69, it was the first time that an Indian women’s team has won an ICC trophy, indicating the impressive growth of women’s cricket in India.
For Shafali, already a seasoned international cricketer at 19, it brought back memories of the heartbreak in Melbourne three years ago when India took a beating at the hands of Australia in the T20 World Cup final.
𝗖.𝗛.𝗔.𝗠.𝗣.𝗜.𝗢.𝗡.𝗦! 🏆🎉Meet the winners of the inaugural #U19T20WorldCup INDIA 🇮🇳 #TeamIndia https://t.co/ljtScy6MXb
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1675001140000
“The final in 2020 was a very emotional moment for me. When I joined the U-19 team, I was only thinking that we need to win this World Cup. I am going to miss this batch. They have given me a perfect birthday gift,” Shafali, who turned 19 a day before the final, told the media.
Hopefully, this triumph proves to be a catalyst to the growth of women’s cricket at the grassroots level.
A special message from Lucknow for India’s ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup-winning team 🙌 🙌#TeamIndia |… https://t.co/KCI5sROCT2
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1675022167000
“Yes, women’s cricket has reached that point where young girls will have women cricketers as role models before naming men cricketers,” Shafali responded to a query from TOI.
I would often criticise Shafali Verma for playing reckless shots and getting out; not living up to the talent she p… https://t.co/LuCLPh7MJN
— Rizwan Khan 🇮🇳 (@Common_Bharatiy) 1675010254000
“BCCI has put a lot of money into women’s cricket. It’s our duty now to win more and more tournaments. Women’s cricket will grow tournament by tournament. We know we have to work hard to do that. But we have to be equally good as men’s cricket,” she added.
Shafali and Richa Ghoshwho have already played in senior World Cups, were supposed to carry this U-19 team on their shoulders. Instead, like Shafali mentioned, it was the likes of hard-hitting batter Shweta Sehrawatleg-spinner Parshavi Chopra and medium-pacer Titas Sadhu who laid the foundation for this historic moment.
India win inaugural Women’s U-19 T20 World Cup with thumping win over England
Titas set the tone on Sunday by getting a wicket off the fourth ball of the match before finishing her spell with figures of 2/6. Parshavi and Archana Devi returned figures of 2/13 and 2/17 respectively.
Indian women’s cricket is on the up! First the announcement of the #WPL & now the #U19T20WorldCup win.Congratulat… https://t.co/CpiZMmJRc4
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) 1675011503000
The Indian girls were impressive in the field too, be it Gingadi Trisha’s catch diving forward to dismiss England captain Grace Scrivens at long off or Archana Devi’s stunner at extra-cover to dismiss Ryana MacDonald-Gay.
As much as this U-19 World Cup has been a stepping stone for young aspiring girls, it was a chance for the likes of Shafali and coach Nooshin Al Khadeer to settle scores. While Shafali made amends for the T20 final three years ago, Nooshin had also lost a World Cup final for India here in 2005. That was the first time an Indian women’s team had reached a World Cup final.
From #TeamIndia to #TeamIndia🇮🇳 Well done!!! We are so proud of you! 🤝 https://t.co/YzLsZtmNZr
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1675006373000
“I will take this confidence forward to the senior T20 World Cup here this month. I was not thinking about the senior World Cup during the U-19 World Cup. But I will be switched on when I join the senior team here on Feb 3,” Shafali claimed while asserting she is not done winning world titles.
The Neeraj Chopra effect
India’s javelin star Neeraj Chopra proved to be a big factor behind Sunday’s triumph. The Tokyo Olympics gold medallist visited the girls on the eve of the final. He also watched the game at the ground. “We all know what he has done for the country. He motivated us. He shared his experience of competing in a big final,” Shafali said.
Enjoyed watching this moment from the stands. Congratulations Team India @BCCIWomen on making history #INDvENG… https://t.co/mQxOZy6eLO
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) 1675007162000