Melbourne: Defending champions Australia need to play mind games to stop a rampaging Shafali Verma during Sunday's women's T20 World Cup final against India, believes England opener Danni Wyatt.
The 16-year-old Shafali has been the star of the tournament, having amassed 161 runs at a strike rate of 161, consistently providing India solid starts.
"It's obvious what her weaknesses are and Shafali knows what they are. The Aussies have tried to bowl to those areas in the past. You've got to play a few mind games with her and hope she spoons one up," said Wyatt.
She shared the dressing room with the Indian star at the 2019 Women's T20 Challenge.
"When she fails, she's so hard on herself. I just tell her to relax and that it's only cricket.
"When you're opening the batting in T20, it can be brutal because your role is to go hard and you're always going to fail. She's very hard on herself when she does," she added.
Wyatt said it was Shafali's brutal hitting against the pacers from the men's team during a net session which convinced her about the Indian's phenomenal talent.
"Even before the session, she'd go to the nets for extra practice against our quickest male bowlers," recalled Wyatt.
"She'd bat for about an hour. She'd say 'yeah, come bowl' and go 'bang, bang.' And I went 'who's that?'
"She had an extra 20 minutes to do some drills after. I couldn't believe she was 15 when someone told me. She knew exactly what she wanted to get out of that session. At aged 15, that's pretty smart.
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Defending a modest 148, India were in a spot of bother but the spinners bowled extremely well and were supported by fielders to restrict the hosts to 140 for eight.
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England were cruising with opener Tammy Beaumont (59) and skipper Heather Knight (30) in the middle but Deepti dismissed both the batters off successive balls in the 14th over to bring India back into the match.