Shweta Sehrawat: The Indian run-machine who has dominated a tournament
Any squad including players of the calibre of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh was always likely to perform well at this level. Captain Verma is one of the most feared batters in world cricket, with the 18-year-old already having 74 full international caps to her name. And India’s first-choice keeper Ghosh has vast experience too, already having played 17 full ODIs and 30 senior T20Is.
But, while both Verma and Ghosh have played well, the star of India’s run to the final of the tournament has not been either of those players.
Opening batter and U19 vice-captain Shweta Sehrawat has yet to be capped by the senior India team. But such an honour won’t be far away after a brilliant run of individual performances on the world stage.
The 18-year-old opened her account with a classy and unbeaten 92* against South Africa in her opening appearance of the tournament.
And that knock set the tone for her dominance in the run-scoring charts, with only England’s Grace Scrivens in the same league as India’s run machine.
She smashed 74* against UAE and 31* against Scotland to finish the first group stage in style, but had a relative slump during the Super Six matches, suffering her first dismissals of the tournament with 21 against Australia and 13 against Sri Lanka.
However, any concerns that Sehrawat’s early run-scoring had been a flash in the pan were dispelled in the semi-final.
New Zealand’s bowling attack had been a threat throughout the tournament. But the India opener looked a cut above as she made light work of a run-chase, hitting ten boundaries in her superb 61* from just 45 deliveries.
One of those fours brought about the winning runs – a deserved moment of triumph for India’s rising star.
Sehrawat says she was first inspired to take up the game by watching her sister in the nets, and then later by the brilliance of Harmanpreet Kaur.
“Her semi-final knock against Australia in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup was brilliant,” Sehrawat said of Kaur.
“I saw how amazing women’s cricket could be with all the power-hitting and I wanted to learn it too.
“My current dream is to win this U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, and then to make a place for myself in the senior team.
In six innings en route to the U19 World Cup final, Sehrawat amassed 292 runs and was dismissed just twice, giving her an extraordinary tournament average of 146 after six games.
And a strike rate of 141.06 and a total of 51 boundaries (49 fours) highlighted the brilliance of her batting.
If this World Cup run is anything to go by, then you should remember the name Shweta Sehrawat. India have just unearthed another gem.