UAE all-rounder Natasha Michael says it’s a surreal feeling that the team have reached the next stage of the Women’s World Twenty20 qualifiers in their first ICC tournament.
A 34-run victory over Malaysia yesterday saw the UAE book their place in today’s final of the World Twenty20 Asian qualifiers against hosts Malaysia.
But more significantly, having finished in the top two of the competition, the UAE will fly to the Netherlands early next year for the Global Qualifiers – the final qualifying tournament for the 2018 showpiece event in West Indies.
The win over Malaysia in Bangkok made it four wins out of five after beating China, Nepal and Hong Kong earlier in the week and the achievement adds to an impressive list for the UAE women’s side, who only entered their first competition in 2007.
Since then, they have won two back-to-back Gulf Cup titles as well as reaching the final of the UAE Women’s International Cup in Sharjah last December.
They can now look forward to matches against the likes of Ireland, Scotland and Bangladesh in next year’s Global Qualifiers. For all-rounder Natasha Michael, who has been involved in the set-up since making her debut as a 12-year-old a decade ago, she ranks the qualification as the best ever.
“I don’t actually think it’s hit me that we’ve actually qualified for the Global Qualifiers in Netherlands next year,” said the 23-year-old.
“It feels very surreal that this is actually happening and this doesn’t compare to the other cups that we’ve won before. As much as they’re equally important to get us to this stage, this has been a dream that we’ve been chasing for the past 10 years, so for us to defeat teams like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, it’s by far the icing on the cake.”
Against Malaysia, Nisha Ali delivered another player-of-the-match performance for the third time in the competition. The 36-year-old scored an unbeaten 36 followed by a two-wicket haul as Malaysia fell short of the UAE’s 84-run target.
Michael insists yesterday’s result proved they are executing their game plan and hopes they can end their tournament on a high against Thailand today.
“It just shows that hard work pays off and we went in with a plan and we executed it,” he said. “We are glad to play cricket and it comes down to what steps are being taken because you need to have a Plan A and Plan B. The key to our success has been planning and how all the girls have come up with ideas.”
The 28-year-old is currently captaining the team during the ongoing Test series in India and will bring a wealth of experience to the brand-new 10-over format.
The first match for Chandimal and his men will be against the Maratha Arabians at 6pm on Friday, December 15.
Backing-up their skipper in the list released by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board are hard-hitting and part-time leg-spinner Dilshan Munaweera as well as middle-order batsman Kithruwan Vithanage.
Angelo Perera, who jump-started his career with a century for the under-19s against Bangladesh in 2009, will also feature alongside left-hander Shehan Jayasuriya .
Team members also include: Nipun Karunanayake, Wanidu Hasaranga, Kasun Madushanka, Vishva Fernando, Sachithra Senanayaka, Alankara Asanka, Ramik Rambukwella, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Shehan Madushanka Devapurag and, Lahiru Gedara.
Tickets are now on sale for the highly-anticipated T10 Cricket League scheduled to take place at Sharjah Cricket Stadium from December 14-17, 2017.
Tickets will be available at branches of the UAE Exchange, Al Fardan Exchange and Al Ghurair Exchange as well as Leopards Courier and Karachi Darbar outlets across the Emirates.
The prices for the four day are as followed: North Stand: AED 20; West Stand: AED 40; Grand Stand: AED 70; Member’s Enclosure: AED 100; and Celebrity Stand: AED 500.
The tickets are also available online at q-tickets.com/t10.
The fixtures for the four day-event are given below along with the respective timings.
December 14, 2017
Opening Ceremony from 1800 hours
Bengal Tigers v Kerala Kings
Maratha Arabians v Pakhtoons
December 15, 2017
Bengal Tigers v Punjabi Legends from 1600 hours
Maratha Arabians v Team Sri Lanka from 1800 hours
Punjab Legends v Kerala Kings from 2000 hours
Pakhtoons v Team Sri Lanka from 2200 hours
December 16, 2017
Team 1 of Group A v Team 3 of Group B from 1600 hours
Team 3 of Group A v Team 1 of Group B from 1800 hours
Team 2 of Group A v Team 2 of Group B from 2000 hours
Bottom 2 Teams of both the groups combined will play off for the 5th and 6th place from 2200 hours
December 17, 2017
First Semi Finals – Team 1 overall v Team 4 overall – match starting at 17:30 hours
Second Semi Finals – Team 2 overall v Team 3 overall
Followed by closing ceremony