India overcame a spirited effort from Bangladesh, who played their tournament opener, to register an 18-run win in their second match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Perth, Australia.
After being sent in, 16-year-old sensation Shafali Verma whacked three sixes in her first seven deliveries to get India off to a flyer. She then smashed her fourth six with a sublime chip down the ground much to the delight of the strong Indian contingent in the terraces. Her whirlwind 17-ball 39 ended when she holed out to a juggled catch by Shamima Sultana.
India lost regular wickets, including two calamitous run-outs, but were powered by a late flurry from Veda Krishnamurthy (20 from 11) to reach 142/6.
Bangladesh fought hard but never seriously threatened in their chase finishing at 124-8. In-form Indian spinner Poonam Yadav continued her impressive form with three wickets.
Here is what Shikha Pandey had to say at the post-match press conference.
Shikha, you’re two wins from two. What’s the mood in the dressing room? Considering the history last time you played Bangladesh, how was the mood coming into this game?
SHIKHA PANDEY: The mood in the dressing room, I’ve not gotten back to the dressing room actually. Obviously, winning two games in two games, it’s good for us. We’d just like to take the moment in my head. We are not really thinking about what has happened before. That’s one thing that we’ve been working as a team. Whether we win, whether we lose, we’re just looking at the game ahead and taking the positives, and things that we would want to be corrected or things that we would learn, we’re just taking that ahead.
Your analysis of the battle half? After that start, it looked like – did you think you were a few runs short?
SHIKHA PANDEY: Actually – we actually thought 140 was a good score to defend because we believe a lot in our bowling department, and we knew that, if we had to get to 140, we got a few runs in the last two, three overs, and we knew, if we had to touch 140, it’s going to be a good target for them. Like I said, we had full faith in the bowling.
Hi, Shikha. How crucial was Veda’s performance at the end? She did hit a rough patch prior to the start of the World Cup. Her knock against Australia was quite significant in that she stayed unbeaten, and those were big blows. Your thoughts on Veda’s performance?
SHIKHA PANDEY: Veda is one of the experienced players on the team, and we bank a lot on her. The runs that she can get in the last few overs makes a lot of difference, like the way they did today, and I’m really happy she got those runs for us because that will do a world of good to her confidence and for us as a team. So going ahead, it’s a positive for us.
Your 16-year-old opener is quite amazing. Can you quite believe she’s doing that at her age?
SHIKHA PANDEY: At 16, I hadn’t even started training to become a cricketer. I was playing gully cricket until then. So it’s amazing that a 16-year-old is playing for India. I think she has – I mean, I started playing when I was 18. I actually started learning to play cricket when I was 18. So she’s amazing. It’s just not Shafali. There’s another 16-year-old, Richa, which played today. It’s amazing when you see them doing things that they are doing today for us.
In terms of the future for both of those 16-year-olds, what do you predict?
SHIKHA PANDEY: It can only go up for them. We are really pleased to have such young kids on the team. First, they’re fearless. They do not fear. They do not play against names. That’s the first thing. There’s no baggage. And they express themselves on the field, which is amazing.
Just on Shafali, I think she hit three sixes in the first seven balls. Does that give the team a lot of swagger to see what she can do from the top?
SHIKHA PANDEY: She’s been given free licence to play her game. We actually picked her up in domestic cricket, and we knew there’s this kid who’s 15 then and she’s playing fearless cricket. So we haven’t really asked her to change anything in her game. We’re just giving her the licence to go play there and play the brand of cricket she’s known for.
We’ve seen Australia and England slip up so far. Do you think India deserve to be the title favorites?
SHIKHA PANDEY: We’re not really thinking that ahead of the tournament. We’re just thinking about the next game in hand. We’re going to be playing New Zealand in Melbourne. So we’re just thinking about our games, and we’re not actually worried about what other teams are doing.
We are quite familiar with crowds chanting the names of batters. Here we got to here Poonam Yadav’s being chanted every now and then. As a spokesperson of the bowling contingent, would you mind commenting on that.
SHIKHA PANDEY: I’m really happy. The last – it was amazing to actually hear the crowd chanting Poonam’s name firstly. Not just that, not just as a bowler, but I have huge respect for her as a cricketer, to come back, even though she was not fielding alongside us in the Tri-Cities, she was still bowling in the match, which is amazing.
Her level of dedication is something that all of us could match up to. She’s a real fighter. To come back after that injury and to take a cut and bowl the first wicket, it just shows what guts she’s made up of.
Staying with bowling, there was a bit of a discussion in the wake of last night’s game between England and South Africa regarding the dismissal around backing up, which around cricket circles is known as Mankading, more famously. Does this conversation in the Indian dressing room take place? Do you think there are chances or opportunities of Indian bowlers affecting a dismissal of that sort?
SHIKHA PANDEY: We haven’t really discussed that in the team meetings. Like I said, we do not discuss the other teams at all. Personally, I wouldn’t do that. I would probably give the batter a warning. Even then if the batter does it, then I’ll think about it, but I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think any of my teammates would do it, no.
How do you enjoy bowling in the WACA?
SHIKHA PANDEY: I’m really excited. As a kid, I remember getting up early in the mornings to watch matches in the Australia, The Ashes. I’ve seen some great spells of fast bowling on WACA. And I spoke to my father before coming, and he was so excited I was playing at WACA.
He reminded me of a spell that Curtly Ambrose bowled, and I made it a point that I watched it on YouTube. I’ve seen a lot of great spells – Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan. There’s a huge list of seeing it live on TV, and I’m very fortunate that we could play on WACA given the circumstances that the other stadium is getting a lot of publicity. But I am privileged, and I took a picture as well. I’m really fortunate.
With Inputs from AFP and ICC Media