U19 World Cup: First edition of Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup begins today, India faces host South Africa

Pankaj Prasad
Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma
Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma

The Indian team, led by explosive batsman Shafali Verma, would like to start with a win in the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup starting here on Saturday.

The Indian team, led by explosive batsman Shafali Verma, would like to start with a win in the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup starting here on Saturday. India's first match will be against the host South Africa.

Women's Under-19 Cricket World Cup (50-50 overs) started in 1988, but this is the first edition of T20. In the ODI World Cup, the defending champions Indian women have won the U-19 title the maximum number of times, five times, while finishing runners-up three times. India is being considered as a strong contender for the title under the captaincy of Shefali Verma, who made it to the senior team at the age of just 16.

Verma turns 19 on 28th Shefali will turn 19 on January 28th. She would like her team to reach the final of the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup to be held on January 29, just a day after her birthday and win the title.

There will be 41 matches between 16 teams. A total of 41 matches will be played between 16 teams in this tournament. Earlier this tournament was to be held in 2021, but due to the Covid-19 epidemic, it was pushed forward by two years. ICC full members India, Australia, Bangladesh, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe automatically qualified for the World Cup. The five teams are USA, UAE, Rwanda, Scotland and Indonesia.

Shefali will get Richa's support All the teams have been divided into 4-4 groups. India are in Group D along with hosts South Africa, Scotland and UAE. Shafali Verma will be supported by senior wicket-keeper batsman Richa Ghosh during the World Cup. Richa has played 17 ODIs and 30 international T20 matches in the senior team. The Indian team will get the benefit of both the experienced players. Shafali has played 51 T20 Internationals, two Tests and 21 ODIs with the senior team. She is also part of the squad for the Senior T20 Women's World Cup to be held in South Africa next month.

Mithali boosted the morale of the team

Prior to the World Cup, Mithali Raj, India's legendary women cricketer, encouraged the players by talking to them. Apart from India, Australia is also being considered as a contender in this tournament. The Afghanistan team will not play in the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup due to the Taliban's ban on women. Under-19 women's team has potential to be best: Tendulkar

Batting great Sachin Tendulkar believes that the U-19 women's team has the potential to be the best. Shefali will do well in the team led by Verma. Sachin wrote in the ICC column that young women cricketers will get to learn a lot from the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup being held for the first time. He said, there is a good combination of experienced and young talent in the team. The 49-year-old Tendulkar wrote that women's cricket has made a lot of progress. However, more work is needed in some areas. The inaugural edition of the tournament will help in bringing forward junior talents, he added.