UAE women's team batter Kavisha Kumari hits historic ton against boys in Gulf Cup

Teenage all-rounder finally overcomes nervous nineties with landmark innings in Ajman

UAE's Kavisha Kumar scored a century against Young Talents Cricket Academy’s Under 15s boys side in Ajman. Chris Whiteoak/ The National
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The longest running and largest junior cricket competition in the region has seen most things during its 20-year history.

And yet the Gulf Cup experienced a first when a female player struck a century against boys for the first time.

The tournament involves 58 teams and 135 matches across a range of age groups, and will culminate in a finals day this month.

A 14-year-old Ben Stokes played in the 2005 Gulf Cup as part of a touring Durham Academy side, while fellow England internationals Mark Wood and Scott Borthwick have also featured.

This season’s tournament was initially memorable for an innings worth 274 not out in a 30-over, Under 11s game by Fathhurahman Mohammed - an opening batter for an academy side touring from Sri Lanka.

Then, on Boxing Day, Kavisha Kumari scored the first ton by a female against males in the competition’s history.

The 18-year-old all-rounder was opening the batting for the UAE women’s team. As part of the development plan for the women's game in the country, the leading national team players regularly play against boys age-group sides.

Kumari’s century came in a 154-run win in a 30-over match against Young Talents Cricket Academy’s Under 15s side in Ajman.

“I could tell within the first two balls it was coming onto the bat nicely and I was connecting with it well,” Kumari said.

“At that point it was just a case of carrying on and playing each ball on its merit. It was my first century against boys and my second century overall.

“In 2019 I scored a T20 century against girls. I have been close a number of times to getting a second one after that 2019 century, and finally getting it against the boys was amazing – I don’t have words to describe it.”

Kumari said she was concerned she might run out of deliveries to reach the landmark – especially given she has experienced that feeling a number of times before.

However, she made it to three figures with a classic drive for two to extra cover when she was on 98 in the penultimate over of the innings.

“I was more focused on scoring runs, but there was a little nervousness in the 90s because the overs were running out," Kumari said.

“There was a fear that I might not make it, especially as I have been stranded in the 90s a few times before against the boys. I have made 90, 97, 93, all not out in the past.

“So there was a nervousness, and I was trying to get on strike when I was in the 90s and make the runs.

“I asked Chaya [Mughal, the UAE captain], who was at the non-striker’s end, to look for singles and doubles. I just wanted to be on strike and we ran quite a few nervy singles.”

Kavisha made 106 from 89 balls with the help of 12 fours as the UAE women's team made 259-3 in 30 overs. Their opponents were bowled out for 105, with Khushi Sharma picking up 5-21.

Updated: January 04, 2022, 2:40 AM