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Thailand and the United Arab Emirates are looking to give a good account of themselves, as they prepare to take on more fancied sides in the upcoming ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier 2018 in the Netherlands from 7-14 July.
Thailand, who have figured in both previous editions of the tournament, are placed in Group B along with Ireland, Scotland and Uganda while the UAE’s maiden appearance will see them fight it out in Group A along with Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea.
The tournament will be held at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen and Kampong Cricket Club in Utrecht, with the finalists joining Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and host West Indies in the event proper from 9-24 November.
Thailand, who finished fifth in the 2013 Qualifier and seventh in the 2015 event, have made it this time after winning in the ICC Women’s World T20 Asia Qualifier, beating the UAE in the final.
They take on Ireland upfront and coach Janak Gamage is hoping the team can come up with some fine all-round performances and put recent experience to good use.
“We will not take any match easy and we will give our 100 per cent effort against all teams, especially Ireland, since their ranking is higher than ours. We have some fine all-rounders in the side and we got the opportunity to play with strong teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup in Malaysia,” he said.
Captain Somnarin Tippoch wants the team to pull off a few tricks and make it to the West Indies in November.
“We want to be at our best during this big tournament. We have practiced with the men’s under-19 players and our team has had exposure in the Asia Cup and on a tour of Sri Lanka. The team has been adapting well and we hope to continue to improve as a team,” she said.
The UAE cricketers too have been preparing well and coach Murali Sockalingam is hoping the team is able to make its presence felt on the international stage.
“It is for the first time that the UAE team is on the world stage against opposition like Bangladesh and the Netherlands (in the league) who already have international experience. Playing them is the toughest challenge but our objective is to play the World T20 in the West Indies by winning the Qualifiers,” he said.
UAE captain Humaira Tasneem, who like coach Sockalingam, is banking on opener Esha Oza, all-rounder Nisha Ali and former Sri Lanka captain Chamani Senevirathne doing well, says the team has been playing indoors to prepare for the cold conditions in the Netherlands.
Nisha scored 90 runs in six matches at the Asia Qualifier and was also their most successful bowler with 12 wickets, including tournament-best figures of five for seven against Thailand.
“Keeping ourselves injury-free is very important. There have been times where we have lost important players because of injuries. We want to make sure that we go into the league matches with our full strength and give our absolute all in the matches. This way we can be one of the top teams in our pool,” Humaira said.
“Our number one goal is to qualify for the ICC World T20. Our motto is ‘One dream, One team.’ If we play as a team and go according to our plans and strategies whilst also being tactical, then we are pretty much on target. We want to earn the right to qualify for the World Cup and play against teams like Australia, India and New Zealand,” she added.
7 July - Ireland v Thailand, Kampong (1200-1445); Sue Redfern and Jacqueline Williams (on-field), Ahmed Shah Pakteen (reserve umpire)
8 July – Uganda v Thailand, Kampong (1200-1445); Ahmed Shah Pakteen and Roland Black (on-field umpires), Claire Polosak (reserve umpire)
10 July – Thailand v Scotland, Kampong (1200-1445); Claire Polosak and Pim van Liemt (on-field umpires), Roland Black (reserve umpire)
Thailand squad – Somnarin Tippoch (captain); Nattaya Boochatham; Naruemol Chaiwai; Natthakan Chantham; Onnicha Khamchomphu; Rosenanee Kanoh; Nannapat Koncharonkai; Suleeporn Laomi; Wongpaka Liengprasert; Rattanaporn Padunglerd; Srinitra Saengsakaorat; Sainamin Saenya; Chanida Sutthiruang and Arriya Yenyueak. Janak Gamage (coach)
7 July – Netherlands v UAE (1600-1845); Ahmed Shah Pakteen and Jacqueline Williams (on-field umpires), Sue Redfern (reserve umpire)
8 July – PNG v UAE, VRA (1600-1845); Jacqueline Williams and Sue Redfern (on-field umpires), Pim van Liemt (reserve umpire)
10 July – UAE v Bangladesh, Kampong (1600-1845); Roland Black and Pim van Piemt (on-field umpires), Claire Polosak (reserve umpire)
UAE squad - Humaira Tasneem (captain); Chamani Senevirathne; Chaya Mughal; Esha Oza; Heena Hotchandani; Ishni Senavirathna; Judit Cleetus; Kavisha Kumari; Namita Dsouza; Neha Sharma; Nisha Ali; Roopa Nagaraj; Subha Srinivasan and Udeni Kuruppuarachchi. Murali Sockalingam (coach)