Hosts UAE, Hong Kong, and Bhutan recorded impressive victories on the opening day of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier at the ICC Academy ground.
UAE produced an all-round show to stop Malaysia while Hong Kong subdued Nepal through their superior batting strength. Bhutan bowled and fielded brilliantly to outplay Kuwait.
UAE vs Malaysia
Hosts UAE got off to a winning start by riding on debutant Theertha Satish’s knock of 46 runs and some tight bowling to down Malaysia by 30 runs on the opening day of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier at the ICC Academy ground.
Malaysia won the toss and elected to field and picked an early wicket when opener Kavisha Egodage got clean bowled to Malaysia skipper Winifred Duraisingam to the last ball of the first over for 4. Theertha Satish joined opener Esha Oza and steadily accelerated the run flow. Oza, who began by hitting Wan Nor Zulaika for two consecutive boundaries, went for her shots. She went on to score 33 off 30 balls with three boundaries before Mahirah Izzati Ismail had her caught by Duraisingam. Oza and Peter had put on 56 runs for the second wicket. Chamani Seneviratna fell after scoring ten runs, trapped leg before by Ismail, and after putting on 30 more runs for the third wicket.
UAE skipper Chaya Mughal steered her team past the 100 run mark in the 16th over. Satish kept the scoreboard moving by picking the gaps. In the 19th over, Satish fell four short of her half-century when she got caught behind off Nur Arianna Natsya. Her T20 International debut knock of 46 came off 48 balls with three boundaries. UAE went on to post 131 for 4 with Mughal chipping in with an unbeaten 24 off 21 balls.
Chasing a run rate of 6.55, Malaysian openers Duraisingam and Wan Julia put on 43 runs but consumed 10.4 overs. The UAE bowlers, especially the spinners, bowled tightly. Egodage picked the first wicket when Duraisingam was brilliantly caught by Mughal for 12. Julia went on to hit 44 runs off 50 balls before Priyanjali caught her off Venkataraman Suba. Esla Hunter remained unbeaten on 25, but Malaysia who scored at a run rate of 5.02 an over, could muster only 101 for 2.
UAE’s top scorer Satish won the Player of the Match award in her debut match. “It felt special to win the Player of the Match award on my debut. My teammates and the other batsmen gave me the confidence to go and play such a knock. I am thankful to everyone on my team,” she said.
Malaysian skipper Duraisingam admitted that her team should have gotten off to a quicker start. “They (UAE) bowled well but we should have pushed early for the runs. We will come back stronger in the next match,” she said.
UAE skipper Mughal lauded her spinners and Satish for their contribution towards the victory, “Spinners are the strength of any team though pacers too play a vital role. We have the perfect combination. Satish is someone who loves to play the anchor role and she did it to perfection today.”
UAE beat Malaysia by 30 runs. UAE 131 for 4 in 20 overs; Malaysia 101 for 2 in 20 overs
Player of the Match: Theertha Satish
Hong Kong vs Nepal
Mariko Hill’s elegant unbeaten knock of 42 steered Hong Kong to a six-wicket win over Nepal. Her knock from 38 balls contained four boundaries and ensured that her team maintained the required run rate to reach the target. She also pulled off two catches while restricting Nepal to 104 for 3 in 20 overs.
Hong Kong followed the usual trend of winning the toss and electing to field. Nepal lost their opener Kabita Kunwar, caught by Hill to the second ball of the first over from Betty Chan for a duck. Opener Sita Rana Magar and Kajal Shrestha took the score to 21 before Hills took her second catch to dismiss Shrestha off skipper Kary Chan for 4. Though Indu Barma (31) and Magar tried hard to push the run rate, Hong Kong bowled tightly to restrict them to 104 for 3. Magar remained unbeaten on 40 off 58 balls with four boundaries.
Hong Kong too began their chase losing an early wicket when their opener Yasmin Daswani got caught behind off Kabita Kunwar for 2. Then Mariko Hill began to stroke beautifully picking the gaps along with Natasha Miles and took the score to 27. Sabnam Rai clean bowled Miles for 16. Kary Chan joined Hill and steered the total past the 50 run mark at the halfway mark. Magar struck to clean bowl Chan for 17. Though Shanzeen Shahzad got run out for 7, Hill and Emma Lai carried their team safely to the target. Lai remained unbeaten on 14 and together with Hill ensured the win with 12 balls to spare.
Hill, who bagged the Player of the Match award, attributed her performance to backing herself with confidence. “I not only back myself but also back my team. I always go out to bat removing all negativity. 2019 was a tough one and I had struggled with both, the bat and ball. But I backed myself and thanks to my teammates who bestowed confidence in me. Thank you all my teammates,” said Hill, who idolizes England’s Jason Roy and South African pacer Dale Steyn.
Hong Kong bt Nepal by 6 wickets; Nepal 104 for 3 in 20 overs.
Player of the Match: Mariko Hill
Bhutan vs Kuwait
Kuwait, playing the third match of the day, also decided to bowl first after winning the toss. Bhutan opener Ngawang Choden was the first to go trapped leg before by Khadija Khalil for 6. Wicketkeeper Sonam Paldon took the score to 24 before she got clean bowled by skipper Amna Tariq for 11. Bhutan skipper Yeshey Choden, together with Dechen Wangmo tried hard to increase the run flow. But Maryam Omar clean bowled Choden for 11. Wangmo too got run out for 17 thus upsetting their plans.
Tshering Zagmo rose to the challenge and along with Pema Seldon steered their team past the 100-run mark. They put on 45 runs for the fifth wicket before Seldon got run out to the first ball of the last over for 18. Zagmo remained unbeaten with run-a-ball 37 with four boundaries.
Chasing Bhutan’s total of 113 for 6, Kuwait lost their opener Zeefa Jilani to the last ball of the first over when she got run out for a duck. The second wicket to fall too was through a run-out when Khaldija Khalil fell for 9. Skipper Tariq joined Piyada Murali but Karma Samten removed Murali for 10. Tariq became the third to get run out for 7. At the halfway mark, Bhutan took a firm grip when Zangmo trapped Siobah Gomez leg before for a duck. With half the side back in the pavilion for just 36 runs, Bhutan went for the kill taking wickets at regular intervals. Maryam Omar stood amidst the ruins and played some lovely shots to score 29 runs before she too became the fourth run-out victim. When Aakriti Bose too got run out, Kuwait’s half the side got out to run-outs resulting in a 40 run win for Bhutan.
Bhutan’s Tshering Zagmo who was adjudged the Player of the Match said: “I am delighted to receive this award but I will not be satisfied with this honour. I will want to contribute more to the team.” Kuwait skipper Amna Tariq attributed the defeat to “the pressure of playing on the big platform.”
“It was our first match. We are sure we can chase a bigger total. We accept the run-outs as part of the game and we will keep learning from this experience.”
When Bhutan skipper Yeshey Choden was asked about what was the secret behind her team producing the run-outs, she said: “We stand united and play as a unit. Our fitness training under our trainer Sangay Younten Gyamtsho has been outstanding and that is showing on the field.”
Bhutan beat Kuwait by 40 runs. Bhutan 113 for 6 in 20 overs; Kuwait 74 in 19.3 overs
Player of the Match: Tshering Zagmo.