Shafali Verma (India)
Perhaps the biggest star to feature in the inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, Shafali Verma’s presence in South Africa since early January shows India’s seriousness about the two ICC events. In the U19 World Cup, Verma was given the captaincy and got off to a sparkling start in her role as an opener.
At the end of the Super Six stage, she had hit 147 runs at a strike rate of 213.04, playing a starring role in India’s wins over South Africa (45 from 16) and UAE (78 from 34).
She also took the opportunity to give her bowling a bit of a workout, hinting that it may be of use to India’s senior side next month.
Verma’s form will be a huge factor in determining India’s fate in the two World Cups.
Amy Hunter (Ireland)
Amy Hunter has plenty of international experience on her side. She made her mark quite early in international cricket by becoming the youngest international centurion at 16, and the youngster was also a part of the Ireland team which recently won a T20I series against Pakistan in Pakistan. She played a crucial role in sealing the decider in that series with a resolute 40 from 34.
Hunter was named as the Ireland skipper for the U19 World Cup, and featured in the two warm-up games leading up to the tournament, scoring 54 runs.
In the group stages, Hunter scored 21 from 25 in a close loss against the West Indies, but was then forced to sit out the rest of the tournament due to an injury. Given her talent, Ireland will be hoping that she regains full fitness before the Women’s T20 World Cup begins.
Richa Ghosh (India)
India’s first-choice wicket-keeper is renowned for her aggressive batting style, and can put any bowling line-up to the sword as her T20I strike rate of 134.27 shows.
Richa Ghosh came into the World Cups after a fascinating series against Australia, where she shone in the fourth T20I by nearly getting India over the line with her scintillating batting (40* from 19).
After adding 82 runs in the group stages, Ghosh produced a pair of low scores against Australia (7 from 7) and Sri Lanka (4 from 2).
Like Verma, she’ll be a crucial first-choice player in the senior side in the role of a middle-order batter.
Fran Jonas (New Zealand)
Marked as a cricketer with international pedigree early on in her career, Fran Jonas was the youngest player to receive a development contract with the New Zealand women’s cricket side back in 2020. Her slow left-arm orthodox bowling has been particularly effective in T20Is, garnering her 13 wickets at an average of 13.46 and a miserly economy of 4.08.
onas was originally a part of the New Zealand squad for the U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, but was withdrawn after picking up a calf injury. She was given a two-week rehabilitation time frame, which means that the bowler is expected to be available for the Women’s T20 World Cup despite her lack of U19 action.
Georgia Plimmer (New Zealand)
The right-handed batter from Wellington has enjoyed a solid outing in the World Cup so far, scoring 120 runs at a strike rate of 157.89.
Her standout knocks include a 41* from 22 against West Indies and 53 from 38 against Pakistan.
While she has floated around the top and middle order for the senior side, during the U19 World Cup Plimmer played as a top-order batter.
Georgina Dempsey (Ireland)
The Ireland medium-fast bowler is also a useful lower-order batter for the senior side. The new ball bowler has impressive economy rates in ODIs (4.8) and T20Is (7.16), and is often relied upon to rein in the opposition’s scoring rates.
For the U19 team, she takes the ball and bats in the middle order. She was disciplined with the ball in the group stages, returning 0/24 against West Indies, 1/27 against New Zealand and 1/5 against Indonesia. She also displayed her batting skills with a 50 from 38 against Indonesia.
Still a student like her countrymate Hunter, Dempsey will look to excel in the sterner cricketing examinations to come at the senior tournament.