Home » ‘Simba’ and the magician give ‘fearless’ UAE a shot at place in Qualifier semi-finals

‘Simba’ and the magician give ‘fearless’ UAE a shot at place in Qualifier semi-finals

Esha Oza has urged the UAE to play “fearless” cricket as they chase a place in the last four of the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

UAE results
Ireland beat UAE by six wickets
Zimbabwe beat UAE by eight wickets
UAE beat Netherlands by 10 wickets

Fixtures
UAE v Vanuatu, Thursday, 3pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium
Ireland v Netherlands, 7.30pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium

Group B table
1) Ireland 3 3 0 6 +2.407
2. Netherlands 3 2 1 4 +1.117
3) UAE 3 1 2 2 0.000
4) Zimbabwe 4 1 3 2 -0.844
5) Vanuatu 3 1 2 2 -2.180

The two finalists at the 10-team event in Abu Dhabi will book their place at September’s main event in Bangladesh.

The national team remain in with a shot at qualification. With one game left in Group B, they sit third, two points behind the Netherlands.

The two sides vying for a semi-final berth will both be in action on Friday. The Netherlands have the advantage of playing second, against table-topping Ireland, after the UAE’s game against Vanuatu.

For the national team to overhaul the Dutch, they have to beat Vanuatu convincingly and hope the Irish win the later game.

In the process, the UAE have to attempt to improve a net run-rate that is currently +1.117 inferior to the Dutch, to leapfrog them in the table.

Although much has to go their way for them to stand a chance, the national team are in fine spirits, following their thrashing of the Dutch last time out.

Their 10-wicket win at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Monday night was the most complete performance yet by a UAE team that is appearing for just the second time at a global qualifier.

It was a fine comeback from a sluggish start to the competition in which they had suffered defeats to Ireland and Zimbabwe.

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The Zimbabwe loss was particularly disappointing for the team, given the UAE had beaten them the last time the sides met, and the African team had suffered a shock loss to Vanuatu in their opening game.

But Oza, the UAE captain, said Zimbabwe had taught her side a valuable lesson.

“We were quite disappointed after the [Zimbabwe] game,” said Oza, who was player of the match against the Netherlands for her rapid half-century in the run chase.

“We expected a better result, but Zimbabwe showed us that anything is possible. Given the loss they were coming off, the way they fought back against us helped us understand that anything is possible.

“It is all about being fearless. Anything can happen if you are fearless, so hopefully that can work our way, too.”

Happily, the UAE side is infused with the fearlessness of youth. Amid the fine collective display against the Dutch, two of the outstanding performers are aged just 17.

Samaira Dharnidharka set the platform for victory with her excellence with the new ball, before a bewitching spell of leg-spin from Vaishnave Mahesh consolidated their advantage.

“They are our young guns,” Oza said. “We call Samaira ‘Simba’ [after the character from the Lion King movie] because she is our baby lion and she shows it out on the field.

“And Vaishnave is a magician with the way she spins the ball both ways. They are both just 17 but they play as though they are way older than they are.”

Dharnidharka finished the Netherlands innings with figures of three for 11, and that included a boundary off the penultimate ball of her four overs.

She listed it as her favourite day in cricket – other than when she took four for five in a match against Nepal that clinched UAE qualification for the last global qualifier.

“I think it is the best day yet – after Nepal,” she said. “I just kept bowling to my strengths, hitting the deck and trying to do what I do best, and hope they make the mistake. We can still make it to the semis and we are hoping to win the next game, too.”

Whoever does eventually advance in second place from Group B will almost certainly be pitted against mighty Sri Lanka.

Chamari Athapaththu’s side have won all three of their matches in the competition so far, with Scotland in second place in that group going into the final round of matches.

Updated: May 02, 2024, 6:27 AM

Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

UAE results
Ireland beat UAE by six wickets
Zimbabwe beat UAE by eight wickets
UAE beat Netherlands by 10 wickets

Fixtures
UAE v Vanuatu, Thursday, 3pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium
Ireland v Netherlands, 7.30pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium

Group B table
1) Ireland 3 3 0 6 +2.407
2. Netherlands 3 2 1 4 +1.117
3) UAE 3 1 2 2 0.000
4) Zimbabwe 4 1 3 2 -0.844
5) Vanuatu 3 1 2 2 -2.180