NEW DELHI: Shafali Verma hit a sizzling 45-ball 84 in Delhi Capitals campaign opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai on Saturday. Shafali's explosive 162-run partnership with her opening partner and skipper Meg Lanning helped Delhi cruise to a commanding 60-run victory.
After the match Shafali admitted that she was nervous at the start but Lanning played a pivotal role in calming her down.
Delhi Capitals piled up an imposing 223 for two on a batter-friendly track as Shafali and Lanning (72) toyed with the RCB attack.
"I was a bit nervous at the start. The experience of playing with Lanning was good, she's a good friend of mine and she told me to be responsible with the bat," Shafali said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Shafali managed just 102 runs with a best of 33 not out in the recently-concluded Women's T20 World Cup where India made a semifinal exit.
"We just wanted to play good shots and play according to our strength. You feel happy when you get to a landmark, yes, happy with the total," she said about their strategy.
Delhi Capitals skipper Lanning said she was always confident of their batting prowess and was relieved that their bowling also came off well after defending the target on a batting-friendly strip.
"We were thinking about (our) bowling but we weren't too concerned about the batting," Lanning said.
In reply, RCB managed 163/8 with DC's left-arm quick from the USA Tara Norris returning with 5/29.
"We felt like it was a good score but it was such a good wicket so we knew we had to bowl well. It's great to begin the tournament with a win," added Lanning, who recently led Australia to an unprecedented sixth Women's T20 World Cup title.
On her rollicking 162-run opening stand with Indian batting sensation Shafali, she said: "(It) was fun watching Shafali bat from the other end. We were smiling all the time.
"That's the great thing about this competition, you get to play with players you wouldn't have otherwise played with."
Tara Norris, who was adjudged Player of the Match for her fifer, said she was delighted with her performance and the outcome of the contest.
"Delighted. Meg (Lanning) and Shafali started well with the bat and the bowlers executed their plans. It is amazing to be here and delighted with the win. The first wicket is pretty special and will definitely take that."
Gave away 20-30 runs extra: Smriti
The losing team skipper, Smriti Mandhana, while conceding her team gave away far too many runs, added there were still plenty of positives in defeat.
"We gave away too many runs, around 20-30 runs too many. As a pace bowling unit, we didn't go about badly, that's something we'll take away from this game.
"We have back-to-back games, we'll have to take away some positives from the game before coming back tomorrow. We got plenty of starts, but couldn't continue and play a big innings. The wicket didn't change a lot, just needed someone to take it till the 20th over."
(With inputs from PTI)