Indian women’s cricket team became the only side, which has cemented their place in the WT20 2020 semi-finals after a thrilling last-ball nail-biting game.
On Feb 27, Harmanpreet Kaur & Co. defeated New Zealand women by 3 runs and registered their third consecutive win in the T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.
Shafali Verma’s blistering knock, 46 off 34 Balls with the help of four 4s and three 6s, rewarded by “Player-of-the-Match” in the last game and this was the second consecutive reward.
But there was a silent performer in the match against Kiwi women who not only bowled well but also made important 14 runs with a strike rate of 150+ during the death overs of the first innings.
Radha Yadav played a good hand in securing a spot in the WT20 semis, bowled an economic spell (4-0-25-1), made crucial runs with the help of one maximum at No.9 spot and helped fellow bowler with sharp fielding efforts.
In the fourth WT20 league match against Sri Lanka women, Left Arm orthodox spinner started from where she left in the last match against White Ferns.
Radha’s splendid bowling efforts, 3-0-23-4, restricted the Sri Lankan team to a mere total of 113/9 in 20 overs. She provided the breakthrough in each over of his magical spell that led Indian women to a fourth consecutive win in WT20 2020 by 7 wickets.
She Won the Payer-of-the-Match for her best T20I bowling performance and said, “ I was just thinking of bowling stump to stump and tried to keep it simple. We did well as a bowling unit. And we need to keep this momentum going forward. ”
How did it all start?
In 2013, A thirteen-year-old girl was playing with the boys in the bylanes of Mahaveer Nagar, Mumbai and got the Praful Naik’s attention who was on the way towards his niece’s cricket coaching classes.
Mr. Naik was so impressed with the girl that he even went up to the vegetable vendor to ask – “Where does that girl stay?”
The vegetable vendor was Radha’s father, Omprakash Yadav and asked, what happened? She is my daughter.
Naik said she plays well and asked Radha to join his coaching classes.
The joint leading wicket-taker in women WT20I, used to live in a 200 square-feet house with eight other family members couldn’t deny the offer but honestly said, ‘I can’t afford to pay coaching class fees’.
And thus started the journey of a rising star in making.
In her very first inter-school championship tournament, Radha was the part of Lady of Remedy High School’s team that beat the St Joseph’s Convent High School team (Jemimah Rodrigues’ team) in the finals.
Radha was leaving no stone unturned at the domestic level to get the selectors’ attention and the hard work paid her back, she got a maiden call-up for the U19s in 2014-15.
Yadav left Mumbai and switched the base to Baroda as her coach Naik shifted in 2015. She quoted, “What could I have done in Mumbai without him? Since he moved to Baroda, I also followed him.”
“When I saw Yadav at the Baroda nets for the first time, her body language and attitude brimmed with positivity”
– Geeta Gayakwad, chair of the Baroda women’s cricket selection panel.
Yadav’s magical fingers made the BCCI U-19 inter-zonal team champions in the 2016-17 season that became the ladder in becoming the skipper of the U-23 side in 2017 and later of the Baroda senior team in 2018.
The big stage was set for the leggie as she got selected for the India Women tour of South Africa, 2018, which didn’t kick start like everybody was expecting but selectors wanted to see more.
Home tri-series against England and Australia were also not in favor of Radha Prakash Yadav.
Somehow, she got the place in the WT20 2018 squad, Radha performed as she would never have gotten another chance to prove herself. She ended the ICC tournament with a joint-highest wicket-taker (8 wickets) for India with Poonam Yadav.
“It’s not just me or my wife – all her three older siblings have played a role in Radha’s growth,” says Omprakash, 55. “My older daughter, Sonee, used to be an even better cricketer than Radha, but she sacrificed her own career to help Radha make hers.”
After breaking all the barriers Radha reached a career-best No.2 T20I bowling ranking last year and got selected in the ICC’s 2019 Women’s T20I Team of the Year.
That being said, one wonders, if there could be anything better than her consistent performances that enable the team to lift their maiden T20 World Cup trophy?