UAE coach Murali Sockalingam admits their last-over defeat against Papua New Guinea (PNG) effectively cost them the chance to reach the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier semi-finals but is proud of his team’s efforts in Netherlands.
The UAE will fly back to Dubai in the early hours of Monday having finished seventh in the eight-team tournament following their thrilling Super Over win against the Dutch on Saturday.
They could have finished much higher and secured a place in the last-four if it wasn’t for their agonizing two-wicket loss to PNG last Sunday in which the South Western Pacific nation reached their 84-run target with one ball to spare.
Sockalingam insists the loss was a game that had a big impact on his players.
“That game cost us,” he said. “If we won that we would have reached the semi-finals and possibly a final. We could have given a good fight against Ireland (in the semi-finals). The game toppled everything for us and the confidence of the players went a bit low.
“It’s a sad thing. One small thing can change the whole complex of a match and scenario. That game against PNG was a decider. There were a few dropped catches which cost us the game.”
The UAE’s dream of claiming one of the two available berths for the 2018 showpiece event in West Indies was ended following their loss to Bangladesh in their final group game.
And after losing to Thailand in the fifth-place play-off, there was something to smile for the UAE as they stunned the Dutch on their own patch for the second time in a week.
Subha Srinivasan claimed two wickets in the Super Over to deny the Dutch after the scores were level at 146. And despite three defeats from five games, Sockalingam says the UAE can take a lot of positives from their second-ever ICC tournament.
“The 14 girls who played the tournament have gained valuable experience where they can learn a lot,” he said. “It will help them to practice hard and become better players and for them to be compatible in this level of cricket.
“We are all part-timers because people go to work and study whereas Bangladesh and Ireland (who qualified) have been playing cricket consistently. Hats off to our girls for their efforts who have put in a lot of work for this tournament. They gave a good account of themselves and performed well especially as we didn’t have any international matches in the preparation and in what was different conditions to what we are used to.”
UAE women’s captain Humaira Tasneem has challenged her team-mates to take more responsibility with the bat if they want to beat Netherlands again and end their World Twenty20 Qualifier campaign on a high.
The UAE take on the hosts on Saturday in the 7/8th place play-off with both sides playing for pride after seeing their qualification hopes ended in the group stage.
Tasneem’s side come into the game on the back of a seven-wicket defeat to Thailand on Thursday in which they were bowled out for 50.
It was the third straight match that the UAE fared poorly with the bat after scores of 39 and 83 against Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea respectively.
But their six-wicket victory against the Netherlands a week ago where they chased 137 shows there’s strong talent in the batting department and Tasneem wants to see that kind of performance in their final game.
“I think in the last three games, our batting hasn’t been great,” said the spinner. “Not one of the batters has taken responsibility and I hope we do it on Saturday. Someone has to take responsibility and play our shots and stay there and at least scoring a run a ball. I hope that happens because we need to improve as a team as a batting unit.”
“The win against the Netherlands will give us a lot confidence because we chased a total in order to beat them. That was very important for us and we started the tournament by winning against them and that is how we want to end it.
“We will play against Netherlands in good spirit and want to try and win our last game here.”
The victory against the Dutch put them in a strong position of reaching the semi-finals. A win against either Papua New Guinea or Asian Twenty20 champions Bangladesh in the group would have sealed their spot in the last-four.
But they fell to a last-ball defeat to Papua New Guinea before coming up short against Bangladesh as their dream of reaching their first-ever World Twenty20 ended.
Ireland and Bangladesh, who will meet in Saturday’s final, will complete the line-up for November’s showpiece event in the West Indies. Tasneem admits things could have been different if they scored big totals.
“We are upset we didn’t reach the semis,” she said. “The game against PNG was really close. If we had won that we would have reached the semi-finals and keep the dream alive. T20 cricket is a format where anything can happen. We didn’t click as a batting unit and if that had happened things would have been different today.”
The UAE women’s team struggled with the bat as they fell to a seven-wicket loss to Thailand in the World Twenty20 Qualifier on Thursday.
After both nations failed to qualify for the semi-finals, the Asian sides met in the play-offs in Utrecht, Netherlands.
The UAE saw their dreams of reaching their first-ever World Twenty20 dashed when they were bowled out for 39 in their eight-wicket loss to Bangladesh on Tuesday.
And they struggled again as Esha Oza (15) was the only batter to reach double figures as the UAE were all out for 50.
Despite the UAE’s best efforts with the ball, including Subha Srinivasan’s 2-15, Thailand reached their target in the 15th over.
The UAE will now play hosts the Netherlands in the 7th/8th place play-off on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Ireland and Bangladesh have booked their places in the World Twenty20 in November after winning their respective semi-finals.
With only two available berths, Ireland defeated Papua New Guinea by 27 runs while Bangladesh registered a 49-run win over Scotland.