Playing against AUS feels like playing against men's team: Shafali

Australia leads the current five-game T20I series in India 2-1, but going into the fourth game at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday night
Shafali Verma
Shafali Verma BCCI/ Twitter

MUMBAI: Ahead of the fourth T20I against Australia, India opener Shafali Verma said that the Women in Yellow team remind her of the men's squad and she loves competing against them.

Verma will play her 50th T20I match when India lock horns with Australia at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.

Australia leads the current five-game T20I series in India 2-1, but going into the fourth game at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday night, the visitors are aware that they will need to play well to claim the victory. The Indian players enjoy competing at their highest level against the top women's squad.

When questioned about playing the Australians during the pre-game news conference at the Cricket Club of India, India opener Verma said, "When I play against Australia, it feels like I'm playing against men because their game is like that. If they see a small mistake that you are making, they will take advantage of it. So we have to be on top of our game against them."

"You can't make mistakes against them. You have to play your best shots, which you are confident about. I learnt a lot while playing against Australia. I love playing against them. Aisa lagta hai ki ladkon ke sath hi khel rahe hain (it seems you are playing against a men's team)," she said.

Shafali made her debut for the Indian team in 2019, and since then, she has participated in 13 T20 Internationals against Australia, scoring 283 runs at an average of 21.76.

Her only fifty (in the T20I format) against Australia came on Wednesday when she scored 52 in the third match, despite having a history of strong starts.

"When I hit a four (against the Aussies), I get boosted, and feel that I've improved as a player, because Australia is the best side (in women's cricket). I'm always happy when I hit (boundaries) of the Australian (bowlers). I don't get so much happiness when I hit boundaries against England or any other team," said the Indian opener.

Shafali and captain Harmanpreet shared a 73-run third-wicket partnership during India's 173-run chase against Australia in the third women's T20I. There were signs of hope as the two excellent hitters smashed the Australian bowlers.

Shafali attempted to draw a length ball away as the pressure built, but in the end, she gave Ashleigh Gardner an easy catch.

"We were playing well, but the situation was such that we had to take risks. We were 30 runs behind, and that situation demanded that you had to go for shots if there was a loose ball. That shot usually goes for six, but on that day, unfortunately, I lost my wicket," she said.

"This wicket is not similar to the one at the DY Patil Stadium. Bowlers are generating good swing on this wicket, but we really can't give excuses. We are working on the singles under the guidance of the batting coach. Day by day, we are improving," said the Indian opener.

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