Theertha Satish and Chamani Seneviratna set up UAE's third win in T20 World Cup qualifier

Khushi Sharma takes five wickets after her roommate stars with the bat, as national team make it three from three in Dubai

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A schoolgirl, who only took up cricket seriously two years ago after being inspired by a Tamil-language movie, combined with a player who has a Test batting average of 148 to set up victory for UAE against Bhutan.

Chamani Seneviratna struck an unbeaten century for Sri Lanka in her lone Test match for the country of her birth back in 1998. That was six years before Theertha Satish was even born.

And yet the duo put on an alliance worth 131 to help UAE to a 47-run win at the ICC Academy, which maintains the home team’s push to advance to the next stage of T20 World Cup qualifying.

Opening the batting, Theertha top scored with 64 not out. Seneviratna made 63 as the hosts posted 149-2 from their 20 overs.

To add to Theertha’s delight, her roommate was the star with the ball. Khushi Sharma was named played of the match as she took 5-22 from her four overs, as Bhutan were restricted to 102-9 in reply.

The half-century was the second vital contribution Theertha has made in the UAE’s run of three consecutive wins so far in the tournament.

Her haul of 115 runs at an average of 57.50 is a fair effort for someone who only took to the game two years ago after watching Kanaa, a film about a farmer’s daughter who dreams of playing in a Cricket World Cup.

“That duly inspired me to take up the sport,” said the Chennai-born 17-year-old batter.

“At the same time, the UAE Under 19 development squad had started as well, so I thought I would give it a shot and see how that goes. This is the result of that.”

Theertha, who has lived in Dubai since she was a young child, has recently had real life inspiration in addition to that which she first found on the silver screen.

As an avid supporter of Chennai Super Kings, she was delighted to witness the Indian Premier League on UAE soil last month – especially given her role model shone so brightly.

“Recently, it has been Ruturaj Gaikwad,” Theertha said of her heroes in the game.

“I love the way he anchors the innings. The way he played for CSK was brilliant. I have been watching a lot of his videos to see what he does and I try to implement that.

“I went to the CSK game against Mumbai, and I think that inspired me even more. I understood my role more by watching him play.”

UAE currently top the six-team qualifier group, with three wins from three. They face winless Kuwait at the ICC Academy in their next match on Friday afternoon.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 2:51 PM