Exclusive: 'Tears of joy' for UAE girls after advancing to Global T20 World Cup qualifiers

UAE players celebrate with the trophy after booking their berth in the ICC 2023 T20 World Cup global qualifiers. (Supplied photos)
UAE players celebrate with the trophy after booking their berth in the ICC 2023 T20 World Cup global qualifiers. (Supplied photos)

Sunday's emphatic victory over Nepal in the Asian qualifiers (November 22-28) came after UAE had beaten Malaysia, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Bhutan



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 12:12 AM

In the end, the grand finale lacked drama and tension. Such was the UAE dominance that their opponents, Nepal, raised the white flag, conceding a 48-run defeat and paving the way for the home team’s march into next year’s global qualifiers for the 2023 ICC T20 World Cup.

Deprived of international cricket for two years by the Covid-19 pandemic, UAE showed no signs of rustiness in the Asian qualifiers, winning all five matches at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai.

Sunday’s emphatic victory over Nepal in the Asian qualifiers (November 22-28) came after UAE had beaten Malaysia, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Bhutan.

“I can’t describe it in words. To be a part of a winning team is always special. To realise that you have achieved the targets that were set for you, it’s immensely satisfying,” UAE captain Chaya Mughal told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

On Sunday, the hero was Chamani Seneviratna who scored 52 and shared 49 runs for the third wicket with opener Theertha Satish (47) to help UAE post 127 for five in 20 overs against Nepal.

Seneviratna then got two wickets for six runs as Nepal were bowled out for 79 in 19.4 overs.

While Seneviratna was named player of the match, it was Samaira Dharnidharka, the 14-year-old prodigy, who stole the show with a magical spell of 4-0-5-4.

Mughal said Dharnidharka was kept as a secret weapon for Nepal, the only team that had a chance to deny UAE a place in the global qualifiers.

“Samaira is very special for each one of us. She was very keen to bowl in the main matches. Somehow, we had kept her for the main match (against Nepal). It was a strategy and it worked for us. And the way she bowled today, she could have bowled out any team,” Mughal said.

The UAE skipper then doffed her hat to the teams’ cheerleaders — the parents and relatives of the players that turned up to cheer for them in every match.

“A big thanks to all the supporters, all the parents and relatives who turned up today. It was the first day of the week, and still many of them came out and cheered for us,” she said.

And the scenes in the dressing room were dramatic after the final Nepal wicket fell.

“There were tears of joy. It was a really emotional moment for each one of us because we had been waiting for so long. And finally, it was the day that you know we really proved ourselves and showed the world that you UAE also have talent,” she said.

“We are not an underdog or any other team that can be submissive to other strong teams. We really wanted to show the world that, yes, we have got talent. We want to come in front of other teams and then show them that, ‘you all can come to play with us and we’re gonna give you a tough fight’.”


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