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Women's World Cup: Innings against Bangladesh gave me so much confidence, says Shafali Verma

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Christchurch, March 26 (IANS) After making a mid-way comeback into India’s playing eleven in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, opener Shafali Verma on Saturday stated that her knock of 42 against Bangladesh at Hamilton gave her the much-needed confidence.

Shafali will be a vital cog in the wheel for India if they are to book a semi-final spot in the mega event when they face South Africa in a must-win match at Hagley Oval on Sunday. With South Africa already qualified for the semi-finals, India now need a win against the Proteas to reach the last-four stage.

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“The innings in last game gave me so much confidence. I was always thinking to improve and back myself rather than (thinking) if I am good or not. Just thinking to do well for the team for tomorrow’s game. Currently, I have got a lot of confidence after the last match. I hope I can do well for the team,” said Shafali in the pre-match virtual press conference.

Shafali had a rough time in ODIs in the run-up to the World Cup, making 12, 24, 51, 0 and 9 in bilateral series against New Zealand. Against Pakistan, she was bowled for a duck and was left out of subsequent matches. She then made a comeback in the match against Australia, making 12 before showing glimpses of form against Bangladesh.

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The batter from Haryana explained how she focused on her processes on time spent on the sidelines. “In the time where I was out of the team, it was my bad time and I was trying to focus more on my processes because when there are no good days, then we tend to work on our processes. Whatever the mistakes I made, I have been working on them day by day. I am trying to improve myself physically, mentally and skills-wise. What has been a learning for me is that if you learn something new from every day, you will go a long way.”

Asked about the area of improvement India are targeting to achieve against South Africa, Shafali pointed towards stitching partnerships with the bat. “With such a very crucial game tomorrow, everyone in the team knows their roles. All in the team are ready to give their hundred percent. Whenever someone goes out to bat, we always think of creating partnerships and taking others along with you and back each other all the time in batting. I just hope that we get good partnerships tomorrow as a batting unit. Our bowling and fielding units have also got a lot better.”

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Shafali signed off by saying how sports psychologist Dr. Mugdha Bavare is helping the players to be calm ahead of a high-stakes clash. “All of us know how crucial is tomorrow’s match. We all are focused on it. The sports psychologist is always teaching us to be calm in every situation and that it works for us. She makes us do breathing exercises like inhale and exhale and we get to learn a lot from it. Whatever difficulties we have, we speak about it to her and she tries to solve it.”

–IANS

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