Photo Credit: ICC
- Videos of the captains’ pre-match interviews are available for download in the OMZ here
India and New Zealand will face off in the first-ever ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final on Friday and both teams are thrilled at the opportunity that awaits them in Potchefstroom.
New Zealand’s young side have kept a low profile throughout the tournament, navigating their way to the final four undefeated. Well led by Izzy Sharp, the Kiwis are looking to play their very best cricket as they enter the business end of the tournament.
“We are very proud of how far we have come, and I am extremely proud to be captain of this team,” Sharp said of her team’s journey to this point.
“It’s been a privilege and captaincy has brought the best out of me. We’ve been soaking up this experience of the first ever ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup as a team, and we have a great team of staff that keeps us on track,” she added.
Leg-spinner Kate Chandler, batters Emma McLeod and Georgia Plimmer, as well as the all-round contributions of Anna Browning have been central to New Zealand’s success thus far. They have also been razor-sharp in their fielding, and they will need to build on that on Friday morning.
In typical New Zealand fashion, Sharp said they were happy to be the less fancied side in their clash against India.
“We are happy to be the underdogs. We are keeping our focus on us, and not them,” she added.
India captain, Shafali Verma, explained that they were equally excited to be amongst the first four teams to play in a semi-final of this tournament.
“We are really happy to be here and excited for what will come. We are backing each other and just enjoying South Africa,” she said cheerfully.
Verma added that she had sought advice from former India captain and tournament ambassador, Mithali Raj.
“I have been learning day by day, but I also looked at how she was doing things. I spoke to her before the World Cup, and she just told me to keep calm and to believe in myself and the team,” she explained.
India had one blip at the start of the Super Six stage, when they lost to Australia, but they bounced back immediately and have had their match-winners, Parshavi Chopra, Shweta Sehrawat, the dangerous Richa Ghosh and the skipper, producing the goods ever since.
“We are in the semis and we know what we need to do. These next two games are very crucial.
Every player knows that doing well here can get them to the senior level, going forward. We just want to do well for the country,” she said ahead of the clash against New Zealand.
Both captains reiterated their delight at being part of this historic tournament, adding that it was wonderful to see so many countries participating and really developing their cricket through exposure to top competition.
India vs New Zealand starts at 10h00 (SAST) at JB Marks Oval. Entrance is free of charge.