FILE PHOTO: Shafali Verma of India smiles as she is applauded from the field by fans and team mates.(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

As a young girl, Shafali Verma pretended to be a boy just so she could play cricket.

Now, the 16-year-old rose to the top spot in the ICC women’s T20 International rankings, thanks to her performance at the ongoing World Cup in Australia.

She took over New Zealand’s Suzie Bates, who had been the top batter since October 2018.

India will take on England on Thursday (5) in the first semi-finals of women’s T20 world cup.

Verma’s explosive batting at the top of the order saw her score 161 runs in four innings, including knocks of 47 and 46 against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

It helped her become only the second India batter after Mithali Raj to top the women’s T20I batting rankings, according to an ICC statement.

Shafali Verma (Photo:Twitter)

Shafali Verma was born on January 28, 2004, in Haryana, India. She made her WT20I debut for India, against South Africa, on 24 September 2019.

In T20Is she has scored 485 runs from 18 matches with an average of 28.52. Her highest score in this format is 73.

Verma was the youngest woman to play for India in a T20I match, and in November 2019 against the West Indies, became the youngest woman for India to score a half-century in international cricket.

In January 2020, she was named in India’s squad for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia and was awarded a central contract by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Among the Indian bowlers, Poonam Yadav is up four places to eighth after a good run in World Cup.

India’s Deepti Sharma has advanced nine places to seventh, the first time that she is among the top 10 in the all-rounders’ list after also moving up to 53rd among batters.

Australia remain at the top of the T20I team rankings with 290 points and England in second position with 278.