India seamer Shikha Pandey said on Monday that India will be urging their youngsters to keep playing fearless cricket after Shafali Verma produced another striking display in their 18-run victory over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup. The batting spotlight was once again on Verma as the 16-year-old smashed a 17-ball 39, including four sixes, in the Powerplay to steer India to 142/6 -- the highest total of the T20 World Cup so far.
While Verma was the star of the show, 19-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues also impressed with a measured 34 off 37 balls. Pandey is confident that the world will see more of the same from the exciting young pair in Australia.
"We haven't asked her (Verma) to change anything. She's been given free licence to play her fearless brand of cricket. She's amazing. At 16, I hadn't even started training to become a cricketer. I'm very pleased to have such young fearless players in our team. It's amazing to see them doing what they did for us.
"There's no baggage, that's the biggest thing, and they express themselves so well in the team. We thought we had a great score on the board to defend because we believe in our bowling department. We knew it would be a tough target for them to chase," Pandey said.
The win against Bangladesh was India's second victory at the T20 World Cup from as many games. For Bangladesh, Nigar Sultana Joty top scored with 35 off 26 balls, but struggled to build a partnership in the middle as Bangladesh were halted at 124/8 in their chase.
While Joty was full of admiration for Verma, she also pointed out the 30-run contribution of young Bangladesh batter Murshida Khatun at the top of the order.
"Shafali Verma played brilliantly. But Murshida Khatun too played very well - she's in good form nowadays. I think she is going to be one of the best players in our team. It is her first World Cup but she's been with us for the last 18 months, so she's gelled well," Joty said.