A little over a week after the curtain came down on the UAE’s hosting of a first World Cup in cricket, some of the country’s leading players will begin their own bid to make it to a global showpiece.
Just across the Dubai Sports City precinct from where Australia beat New Zealand to claim the men’s T20 World Cup last week, the ICC Academy will host the Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier.
Six teams will be vying for one place to advance the global qualifier next year. The top two sides in that eight-team competition will progress to the 2023 World Cup in South Africa.
UAE will face Malaysia in the opening match of the competition on Monday morning.
The national team are the second highest ranked of the six teams in the event, which is played in a league format, behind Nepal, whom they are scheduled to face on the last day.
Chaya Mughal, the Dubai-based schoolteacher who captains the UAE team, said her side were inspired by the feats of the non-Test sides at the T20 World Cup.
Scotland beat Bangladesh to make it to the Super 12 stage of the tournament, while Namibia also advanced to the main event in the UAE.
“Playing in the World Cup is a dream for every cricketer and knowing that it’s just two steps away will certainly push everyone to give their best,” Mughal said.
“The team is anticipating a successful campaign with all the positive vibes around.
“It has been extremely motivating to see the Associate teams in World Cups. We had five Associate teams in World Cup this time and two of them made it to the Super 12s.
"This is certainly a platform where each player dreams to showcase their talent.”
Nepal captain Rubina Chhetry Belbashi, whose side open their campaign against Hong Kong, termed the chance to play in a World Cup “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
“I am very excited to play in the qualifiers because it has been a dream for me and my team for the past 15 years to qualify and play in the World Cup,” she said.