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Samaira Dharnidharka and Esha Oza star as UAE stun Netherlands in T20 World Cup Qualifier



The UAE have battled their way back into contention for a semi-final place at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier after a crushing win over the Netherlands.

The national team dominated the Dutch as they claimed a 10-wicket victory at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

It breathed life back into their qualification hopes. Their chances had been damaged by losses to Ireland and Zimbabwe in their opening two games.

However, the win against the Dutch means four teams are now level on two points in the group, with Ireland leading the way with two wins from two.

The national team play Vanuatu on Friday requiring a convincing win. If other results then go their way, they could earn a place in the last four. The two finalists in this 10-team competition will advance to the World Cup.

This was the UAE’s most polished display to date at this level. They did get arguably a bigger scalp when they first played at a global qualifier, in beating Zimbabwe on the neighbouring field at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

That win, though, was attained in nervy fashion, with Zimbabwean jitters contributing to a thrilling last ball win for the host nation.

This time around, the UAE were giving away just one place in the ICC rankings, but from start to finish they outclassed their opposition.

Their effort in the field was book ended by the excellence of Samaira Dharnidharka. The Sharjah-born pace-bowler, who only recently turned 17, accounted for the two mainstays of the Dutch batting line up.

First she trapped Sterre Kalis, the opener who has experience of playing in the Hundred in the UK, in front first ball. She then bowled Babette de Leede for six.

Dharnidharka’s final figures of 3-11 did not flatter her in the slightest. Neither did those of Vaishnave Mahesh, a fellow 17-year-old, whose eye-catching spell of leg-spin brought her 2-16 from four overs.

Although the hosts were buzzing after restricting the Dutch to 101-9 from their 20 overs, the chase was not a given.

The national team had struggled to 105 in each of their previous innings in this tournament. While that would clearly be good enough for a win this time around, it spoke of a batting line up who were yet to find their range.

They clicked straight into gear this time around, though. Or, at least the only two batters who were required to make it to the crease did, as the UAE cruised to their target with no wickets lost, and just 11 balls after the mid-innings drinks break.

Theertha Satish, whose glovework had been another outstanding feature of the UAE fielding effort, made a stylish 36 not out off 33 balls.

But the limelight was stolen by her opening partner, Esha Oza. The side’s captain hurried her side to victory with a majestic display of clean striking.

Oza hit 66 not out in just 39 balls, and sealed the win in glorious fashion with the second six of her innings.

Updated: April 29, 2024, 6:46 PM

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