Shafali Verma became the youngest ever player to score a fifty in international cricket, breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record. (Photo Credit: ICC Twitter)
For 30 years, Sachin Tendulkar had held the world record for being the youngest player to score an international half-century. However, on November 9, 2019, the record was finally broken by a 15-year-old woman cricketer from Haryana who is making giant strides. During the first Twenty20 International between India and West Indies at the Darren Sammy stadium in St Lucia, 15-year-old Shafali Verma from Rohtak, Haryana smashed 73 off 49 balls to help India register a convincing win against the current World T20 champions West Indies. At 15 years and 286 days, Shafali broke the record of Tendulkar who smashed 59 during the Faisalabad Test against Pakistan in 1989 at the age of 16 years and 214 days.
Things only got better for Shafali as she shared a record 143-run stand with Smriti Mandhana which was the highest-ever for India in the history of the Twenty20 International format for women. This bettered the 130 scored by Thirush Kamini and Punam Raut against Bangladesh in 2013. It was also the 14th highest overall, and eighth highest for the first wicket in T20Is.
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.
Shafali was the first to go when she was dismissed by Shakera Selman in the 16th over. Harmanpreet Kaur then produced a 13-ball 21, while Veda Krishnamurthy provided the late charge with a 7-ball 15 to take India to a challenging score. For the hosts, Selman and Anisa Mohammad snared two wickets each, while Hayley Mathews conceded 39 runs from her four overs and Chinelle Henry bled 26 from the only over she bowled as India finished on 185/4.
Chasing 186 to win, West Indies struggled to stitch partnerships with Shermaine Campbelle top-scoring with a 34-ball 33. Pacer Shikha Pandey (2/22), spin duo of Radha Yadav (2/10) and Poonam Yadav (2/24) claimed two wickets each, while both Deepti Sharma (1/15) and Pooja Vastrakar (1/21) accounted for one wicket as West Indies were restricted to 101/ 9 as India won by 84 runs.