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Saturday March 25, 2023

Cricket: Pakistan's Nida Dar among five to watch at Women's T20 World Cup

Pakistan's 36-year-old off-spinner Nida Dar has played 84 ODIs and over 100 T20Is

By AFP
February 09, 2023
Off-spinner Nida Dar was named Pakistans player of the tournament at the 2018 T20 World Cup. — AFP/File
Off-spinner Nida Dar was named Pakistan's player of the tournament at the 2018 T20 World Cup. — AFP/File

As the women's T20 World Cup gets ready to start in South Africa on Friday, AFP Sport picks out five cricketers to watch.

India: Shafali Verma

At the end of January, Shafali Verma led India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup. Barely two weeks later, the 19-year-old batter is back in South Africa to help India in their bid to win the women's T20.

As a child she disguised herself as a boy in order to play but after breaking into the senior women's game, there has been no stopping her.

Indias Shafali Verma (R) disguised herself as a boy when she was young in order to play cricket. — AFP/File
India's Shafali Verma (R) disguised herself as a boy when she was young in order to play cricket. — AFP/File

Youngest international, youngest to score 50 which she did against West Indies in her first series and the youngest to play in all three formats for India.

Her aggressive batting style has resulted in the nickname "Lady Sehwag", after explosive Indian men's opener Virender Sehwag, but it was seeing Sachin Tendulkar batting when she was just nine that inspired her to chase the game.

Ahead of the 2020 edition, when India were runners-up to Australia, Verma ranked as number one T20 batter in the world. She has now played 51 T20Is, racking up over 1200 runs at an impressive strike rate of 134.5.

England: Alice Capsey

If England are to unseat defending champions Australia they will need their 18-year-old all-rounder Alice Capsey to live up to and exceed her already remarkable progress.

First, though, they need her to be fit - she broke her collarbone during England's tour of the West indies in December. But if she is firing on all cylinders the batting all-rounder will be crucial.

Teenager Alice Capsey (right) was Englands top runscorer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. — AFP/File
Teenager Alice Capsey (right) was England's top runscorer at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. — AFP/File

She made her international debut last summer and was England's highest scorer at the Commonwealth Games. A two-time winner of The Hundred with Oval Invincibles, she has also starred for Melbourne Stars in the women's Big Bash in Australia.

Australia: Kim Garth

Kim Garth was only 14 when she made her international debut in an ODI against New Zealand in 2010.

That, however, was in the green shirt of her native Ireland with whom she won 114 caps in total as well as being vice-captain.

Kim Garth played 51 T20Is for her native Ireland before switching allegiance to Australia. — AFP/File
Kim Garth played 51 T20Is for her native Ireland before switching allegiance to Australia. — AFP/File

She was named Ireland cricketer of the decade in 2021 but by then had decided to try for a pro career in Australia.

It worked. The 26-year-old all-rounder did well enough to qualify for her new country, making her debut in a T20 in Mumbai in December.

Defending champions Austrlalia have a side packed with big names so Garth's opportunities may be limited but if she should get some time in the spotlight, expect her to make the most of it. One thing she will be glad, however, is that Ireland are in the other group.

Pakistan: Nida Dar

Amid the young guns, an old-stager in the shape of Pakistan's 36-year-old off-spinner Nida Dar.

Pakistans Nida Dar is five wickets away from becoming the leading wickettaker in womens T20I cricket. — AFP
Pakistan's Nida Dar is five wickets away from becoming the leading wickettaker in women's T20I cricket. — AFP

After making her international debut against Ireland in 2010, she has gone on to play 84 ODIs and over 100 T20Is.

She was named Pakistan's player of the tournament at the 2018 T20 World Cup and featured again in 2020. She is now just five short of West Indies' Anisa Mohammed's record of 125 T20 wickets.

Her nickname "Lady Boom Boom" is a reminder that she is also a useful slugger with the bat.

South Africa: Marizanne Kapp

When Dane van Niekerk was cut from the squad there was a fear that her wife Marizanne Kapp might also step away.

But the 33-year-old stayed with the team which, realistically, is only likely to progress from a group that includes Australia and New Zealand, if she delivers.

Marizanne Kapp is a key player for South Africa although the axing of her wife Dane van Niekerk has led to discontent. — AFP/File
Marizanne Kapp is a key player for South Africa although the axing of her wife Dane van Niekerk has led to discontent. — AFP/File

Kapp has had her problems, not least four bouts of Covid, but she is a class all-rounder with a Test hundred under her belt as well as a lorryload of wickets.

She was South Africa's standout performer in last year's ODI World Cup with 203 runs and 12 wickets.