India women's team captain Harmanpreet Kaur & co enter the T20 World Cup finals for the first time after semi-final match against England was abandoned due to rain.
India women's team captain Harmanpreet Kaur & co enter the T20 World Cup finals for the first time after semi-final match against England was abandoned due to rain.
BCCI

In the tournament finale, India set to lock horns once again with Australia after their previous outing in the tournament opener marked Women in Blues triumph over the four-time champions.

The Indian women's cricket team reached their maiden T20 World Cup final after the semi-final clash against England was abandoned without a single ball being bowled due to heavy rain at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Though rain played spoilsport in the semi-final encounter, India deserved their spot in the finals after a series of spectacular performances from the team throughout the tournament which saw them top Group 'A' by winning all the games.

And after such performances under the brilliant captaincy of Harmanpreet Kaur, here are the players to watch out for in the finals of Women's T20 World Cup.

#1 Shafali Verma

The 16-year-old Shafali Verma announced her emergence on the global stage by becoming the fourth-highest run getter in the ongoing tournament. She has so far scored 161 runs, hitting 18 fours and nine sixes in four matches at an astounding strike rate of 161.

"Shafali is someone who loves to play big shots, and we don't want to stop her. She should continue doing the same and she should continue enjoying her game," said skipper Harmanpreet.

Verma earned comparisons with Virender Sehwag for her batting and earlier, the opener surpassed South Africa's Chloe Tryon and Australia's Alyssa Healy to have highest strike rate in the shortest format.

Aussie pacer Megan Schutt was hit for four boundaries by Verma in her opening over of the tournament, and she admitted her concerns about bowling to Indian openers.

"I just hate playing India - they've got the wood over me," Schutt was quoted as saying by the official website of the ICC.

"Smriti and Shefali have got me covered. That six Shafali hit me for in the tri-series was probably the biggest one I've ever been hit for."

With this level of dominance, Verma is surely one of the most important player to watch out for.

#2 Poonam Yadav

Poonam Yadav - best leg-spinner in the modern game (according to Ian Bishop) - is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 9.

In their previous encounter against India, wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy was full of praise for the leggie after her 4-wicket haul. "Full credit to Poonam, she bowled quite cleverly tonight. She bowled that first over as a regulation leg-spinner and then slowed it up. We did not adapt to that well enough," Healy said.

Verma did not fail to pick scalps in any of the four encounters of the group stage and that makes her a huge threat to the rival batswomen.

#3 Shikha Pandey

Like Verma, medium pacer Shikha Pandey also came up with impressive bowling figures in the tournament. Picking up a scalp in each of her game, Pandey stands 4th in the highest wicket-taker list of the tournament.

While Verma's googlies bamboozle the batsmen, Pandey's medium paced balls could prove to be very useful for varied attacking options in the bowling line-up.

Other notable mention goes to Taniya Bhatia. The 22-year-old has the highest dismissals as a wicket-keeper.

Radha Yadav is another notable player to watch out for after the spinner flummoxed the rival batting line-up with a career-best 4/23 against Sri Lanka in their fourth fixture.

India will take on four-time winners Australia, who defeated South Africa by five runs in what was also a rain-hit semifinal match, curtailed to 13 overs after Australia's innings. The two teams will clash on Sunday, which also happens to be International Women's Day.

In the earlier seven editions, India had never reached the final but this time, they have emerged as serious title contenders after a string of superlative performances.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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