UAE extended their winning run recording their third successive victory in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier at the ICC Cricket Academy ground.
The hosts defeated Bhutan by 47 runs on the third day of the tournament. Hong Kong bounced back from their earlier defeat to the UAE to register a four-wicket win over Malaysia while Nepal trounced Kuwait by nine wickets.
Bhutan vs UAE
Half-centuries from opener Theertha Suresh and Chamani Seneviratna helped the UAE post an impressive 149 for 2 in 20 overs. Chasing the total, Bhutan could muster only 102 for 9 in 20 overs as Khushi Sharma produced a deadly five-wicket spell giving away just 22 runs.
Bhutan won the toss and picked an early UAE wicket of opener Esha Oza for 9. Oza, while going off the back foot and trying to glance Anju Gurung, missed the line and got trapped leg before. Seneviratna joined Suresh and the pair picked the gaps to keep the scoreboard moving. Very soon they began to unleash their drives and put on a 131 runs partnership for the second wicket before Gurung clean bowled Seneviratna for 63. Her knock from 58 balls contained four boundaries. Satish remained unbeaten on 64 from 53 balls that included six boundaries.
Bhutan began their chase well through their openers Sonam Paldon and Ngawang Choden who put on a 50 runs partnership in 10.4 overs before Khushi Sharma clean bowled Choden for 25 that had four boundaries. Sharma also clean bowled Dechen Wangmo for 8.
Tshering Zangmo joined Paldon but at the score of 70, Sharma picked her third wicket having Paldon caught by Oza for 26. Paldon's 41 balls knock had two boundaries. Then when Sharma clean bowled Bhutan captain Yeshey Choden for a duck, it looked like the hosts had taken a firm grip on the match. Meanwhile, Samaira Dharnidharka bowled Pema Seldon too for a duck. Sharma went on to pick her fifth wicket clean bowling Sonam Choden for 8. Seneviratna then bagged two quick wickets to ensure that Bhutan was restricted to 102 for 9 and the UAE won by 47 runs.
Commenting on her spell, Sharma, who received the Player of the Match award, said: “The first wicket among the five was crucial since that provided the breakthrough. This helped us come back strongly and maintain the momentum towards our victory.”
This is Sharma’s first five-wicket spell in international cricket, although she had done this before in domestic cricket. “I had once picked five wickets playing for Victoria Cricket Academy against the Under-17 boys. But it is a very special feeling to get five wickets in international cricket. All that I did was to keep the ball on the stumps while varying my pace.”
UAE skipper Chaya Mughal attributed the victory to her team's combination. “We have a good blend of pace and spin. Our batting is also strong. So even if we lose early wickets, we have a strong middle order to take on. But we are taking it one game at a time and not looking at the points for now.”
Bhutan skipper Yeshey Choden said: “We are happy that we gave a good fight against a strong squad like the UAE. In fact, we are delighted to have crossed the 100 run mark. I am happy that our support staff has shaped us well to perform this way and we will keep improving with these experiences.”
UAE beat Bhutan by 47 runs. UAE 149 for 2 in 20 overs; Bhutan 102 for 9 in 20 overs
Player of the Match: Khushi Sharma
Kuwait vs Nepal
Nepal recorded an emphatic nine-wicket victory over Kuwait. Off-spinners Rubina Chhetry and Sangita Rai bowled out Kuwait for a paltry 27 runs in 15.4 overs. Chhetry, who is also the skipper of the team, then hit an unbeaten 12 along with Indu Barma (13 n.o) to record an easy win in 3.3 overs.
Chhetry, with figures of 3 for 3, won the Player of the Match award while Rai bagged three wickets for just two runs.
For Kuwait, opener Priyada Murali was the only player to reach double figures. Unfortunately, she got run out for 10. In fact, Kuwait had won the toss and opted to bat first but kept losing wickets at regular intervals. It was Saraswati Kumari who set the trend removing opener Jeefa Jilani for a duck. After that five more fell for a duck.
Talking about her team’s impressive show, Chhetry said: “We played this match rectifying our defects. We have shown how good we are as a team. We wanted to play good cricket and we have done that in this match.”
Chhetry also revealed her team’s approach. “We always try and forget what happened in the past, analyse where we went wrong, and move forward. We have all decided to play the best cricket but we will focus on our matches one by one.”
Sangita Rai, who produced a deadly spell of three wickets for just two runs, said: “I am an off-spinner and idolize India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. I took up cricket from school days and keep on trying to sharpen my skill every day. I am happy with today’s performance and wish I could produce many more such spells.”
In her earlier playing days, Chhetry was a medium pacer. “For a long time, I bowled medium pace before I tried out off-spin. The wicket was actually a batsman’s wicket but we both decided to bowl a tight line and length and reaped the benefits.”
Kuwait skipper Amna Tariq, despite the defeat, was confident of learning from every game and said: “We have come here after a tough time and I am proud of my team that they are trying to give their best. Fingers will be pointed at us for such a show but we assure you all that we will improve with experience.”
Nepal beat Kuwait by 9 wickets. Kuwait 27 in 15.4 overs; Nepal 28 for 1 in 3.3 overs
Player of the Match: Rubina Chhetry
Malaysia vs Hong Kong
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to field. At the score of 15, Malaysia lost their skipper and opener Winifred Duraisingam for 6 when Kary Chan had her caught by Maryam Bibi. Two runs later, Bibi ran out Elsa Hunter for a duck. Opener Wan Julia and Mas Elysa added 20 more runs before Julia became an Iqra Sahar victim for 19. This was followed by a stubborn 53 runs partnership between Elysa and Mahirah Ismail for the fourth wicket. Hong Kong's bowling was very tight and it wasn't easy for Malaysia to score at a good pace.
Elysa got caught and bowled by Kary Chan for 38. Bibi produced another brilliant bit of fielding to run out Ismail for 18. In the end, Malaysia could muster only 101 for 5 in their 20 overs.
Malaysian skipper Duraisingam gave her team a brilliant start by taking the wickets of Hong Kong opener Shanzeen Shahzad and one-drop Natasha Miles. She clean bowled Shahzad for a duck and trapped Miles leg before, also for a duck.
The responsibility of lifting the team from trouble then fell on the consistent Mariko Hill. Her skipper Kary Chan joined Hill and together they steered their team from two wickets down for no score to 69 in 11.4 overs. At this score, Hill got bowled by Ainna Hashim for 36. Her knock came off 35 balls with three boundaries.
Hong Kong lost two more wickets in quick succession when Nik Nur Atiela struck repeatedly. Wicketkeeper Hiu Ying Cheung chipped in with 11 runs before she got run out. Chan, through an unbeaten 38 off 40 balls with three boundaries, then steered her team to the target with 14 balls to spare.
Chan, who received the Player of the Match award for her unbeaten knock and two-wicket spell, said: “Though we lost two quick wickets, we decided to stay at the wicket and put on a good partnership. Hill and I could ensure that we kept going towards the target.” Chan also lauded Hills’s contribution: “Hill has been scoring consistently and we knew what to do to keep up the partnership. Since we play together for the same team, we have a good understanding too.”
Malaysian skipper Duraisingam attributed their defeat to poor batting. “We should have posted a total of around 150. But I think we fought till the end even though our total was not huge. Unfortunately, we did not have enough runs on the board to defend and get them out.”
Hong Kong beat Malaysia by 4 wickets. Malaysia 101 for 5 in 20 overs; Hong Kong 102 for 6 in 17.4 overs
Player of the match: Kary Chan
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