Her job done, Shafali Verma stayed back at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to watch the day’s second match of the Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy. She had hammered a 52-ball 91 not out to lead India-A to a nine-wicket victory against India-B.
The teenaged India opener, who has won fans the cricketing world over with her aggressive batting, was keenly watching India-C and India-D battle it out at the imposing, but virtually empty, stadium. She seemed to have enjoyed watching another opener making a 90-odd score.
Yastika Bhatia was stranded on 99 not out. It turned out she didn’t get the ball-counting right. She got just about everything else right, though. Especially, her shot-selection and the way she paced her innings.
The innings by Yastika and Shafali have stood out in this tournament, which has two more round-robin matches to be played before Saturday’s final. But these two are familiar players whom the potential Women’s IPL franchises may already have considered.
With 56 of India’s finest players here — star batters Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur and spinner Radha Yadav are the only ones missing — the Women’s IPL teams could not have hoped for a bigger showcase. Before that, there is the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, to be held in February. Not to mention the five-match series against Australia next month.
So uncapped players like Anjali Sarvani, Shraddha Pokharkar, Sahana Pawar, Shreyanka Patil, Shivali Shinde and Jasia Akhter, those wanting to make a comeback into the national team like Shikha Pandey and Nuzhat Parween should be fairly pleased with their efforts here so far. They, and the others, will be keen to make the best out of the rest of the tournament.
On Thursday, India-A takes on India-D which has won both its matches to virtually ensure a place in the final, and India-B meets India-C which is looking for its first win.