Shafali, Smriti shine as India bring WI to knees

Shafali, Smriti shine as India bring WI to knees

Shafali Verma becomes youngest Indian to score international fifty, surpasses Sachin Tendulkar’s 30-year-old record

St Lucia : The Indian eves were off to a great start in the five-match T20I rubber against West Indies as they thrashed the hosts by 84 runs in the first match at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Asked to bat, openers Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana gave India an upper hand as the duo shared a 143-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Fifteen-year-old Shafali became the youngest Indian cricketer to score a half-century in international cricket, her 49-ball 73 in the first T20 International against West Indies, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar's 30-year-old record.

Playing in only her fifth T20I, Shafali put the West Indies attack to the sword, blasting six fours and four sixes on way to her maiden fifty at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Shafali achieved the feat at 15 years and 285 days, surpassing batting legend Tendulkar, who had notched up his maiden Test fifty at 16 years and 214 days.

Shafali's knock was laced with six boundaries and four hits into the stands.

The Haryana teenager shared a record opening stand of 143 – India's highest partnership in women's T20Is -- with Smriti Mandhana, who amassed 67 runs from 46 deliveries, to help her team post a challenging 185 for four after being asked to take first strike by the hosts.

Shafali, who had scored 46 in her career's second T20I against South Africa at Surat last month, exploded in the second over, smashing Shakera Selman for two fours and a six.

She then launched an assault on Chinelle Henry, crossing the fence four times before depositing one at the stands in the fourth over.

The result was that she had raced away to an 18-ball 43 at the end of the powerplay.

Shafali and Mandhana took India past the 100-mark in 10 overs before the former fell to Selman in the 16th over.

After the dismissal of the Indian opening pair, the visitors lost couple of wickets in quick succession, however, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur chipped in with valuable unbeaten 21 runs off 13 deliveries to guide India to a massive total.

In return, West Indies never looked in control and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, thanks to some quality bowling by the Indian bowlers.

Shemaine Campbelle was the only one to show some resistance as she top scored for her side with 33 runs while all other batswomen failed to contribute.

For India, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav bagged two wickets each and helped their side restrict the hosts on 101/9 in the 20 overs.

With the win, India have taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

The two sides will now meet in the second T20I at the same venue late on Sunday.

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