Exclusive: It's the result of hard work, says Chaya Mughal on UAE's Asia Cup qualification

The UAE qualified for this year's Women's Asia Cup by reaching the final of the Asian T20 Championships in Kuala Lumpur



UAE captain Chaya Mughal (centre) celebrates a wicket with her teammates at the Asian T20 Championships. (Supplied photo)
UAE captain Chaya Mughal (centre) celebrates a wicket with her teammates at the Asian T20 Championships. (Supplied photo)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 24 Jun 2022, 7:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Jun 2022, 8:18 PM

Few would grudge the slice of luck the UAE enjoyed in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Having played with flair and freedom since last December when they won the T20 World Cup Asia qualifiers on home soil, the UAE women’s cricket team have been on a roll, winning matches with incredible regularity.

The reigning Gulf Cup champions entered the semifinal against Nepal in the Asian T20 Championships – the qualifying event for this year’s Asia Cup –on the back of 19 consecutive wins.

But their unbeaten record was under a serious threat when a combination of swing and seam from Nepal’s Ashmina Karmacharya (5-10) restricted them to 81 all out in 19.5 overs.

With only the two finalists earning a place in the Asia Cup, the uncharacteristic batting collapse dealt a big blow to the UAE hopes.

But a torrential downpour played havoc with the outfield and the organisers were forced to call off play even before Nepal could start their chase, paving the way to the final as well as the Asia Cup for the Chaya Mughal-led UAE team.

Notwithstanding the slice of luck, the UAE advanced to the final on the back of their superior display in the group stages.

Easily the most dominant team in the tournament, the UAE topped Group A with seven points, having beaten Singapore, Malaysia and Qatar by big margins (Nepal, on the other hand, had finished second in Group B with six points).

For the UAE, the reward is a rare opportunity to rub soldiers with Smriti Mandhana’s India, Bismah Maroof’s Pakistan and Chamari Athapaththu’s Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.

“It's the result of a lot of work and effort. Playing against top teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh was motivation enough for us to put in the work, and I'm very happy to see that our dream is coming true,” Mughal told the Khaleej Times from Kuala Lumpur on Friday, hours after the team booked their berth at the Asia Cup.

What also helped Mughal’s team was the influx of young blood as several members of the squad also featured in the Under 19 team that recently qualified for the ICC Under T20 World Cup.

“When I look at successful teams, they all have a good mix of experienced and young players. I am incredibly happy and satisfied to see many of the Under 19 players entering our senior team,” the UAE captain said.

“This not only reinforces the foundation of our team but also gives young girls who have chosen to play cricket a lot of hope for the future of cricket in the UAE.”

Mughal is now hopeful of ending the tournament on a high, by winning the final on Saturday against hosts Malaysia, a team they had beaten comprehensively in the group stages.

“Yes, without a doubt, we want the winning streak to continue. We won't ever be able to relax, even though we have already qualified for the Asia Cup,” Mughal said.

“Malaysia would undoubtedly come back hard after our victory over them. They wouldn't give up easily, but we are ready for it.”

How UAE qualified for the Asia Cup

They reached the final of Asian T20 Championships – the qualifying event for this year’s Asia Cup. Only the two finalists qualify for the Asia Cup.

UAE’s results in Asian T20 Championships:

Group A

June 17: UAE vs Oman (26/3 in 8.4 overs). No result due to bad weather.

June 18: UAE (33/0 in 2.4 overs) beat Singapore (29 all out) by 10 wickets.

June 20: UAE (134/1 in 20 overs) beat Malaysia (103/8) by 31 runs

June 22: UAE (214/1 in 20 overs) beat Qatar (61/7) by 153 runs.

Semifinal

June 24: UAE (81 all out in 19.5 overs) vs Nepal. No result due to rain. UAE advanced on the back of their superior record in group stages.

Final

Saturday

Malaysia vs UAE

Note: By reaching the final, both Malaysia and UAE have qualified for the Asia Cup.

Top performers for UAE so far

Most runs

Esha Oza 185 runs from 5 matches (highest 115)

Theertha Satish 115 runs from five matches (highest 55 not out)

Kavisha Kumari 76 runs from five matches (highest 45 not out)

Most wickets

Suraksha Kotte 6 wickets from 4 matches (best 4/11)

Indhuja Nandakumar 5 wickets from 5 matches (best 4/10)

Chaya Mughal 5 wickets from 5 matches (best 3/9)


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