UAE extend winning streak to 14 games with clean-sweep over Hong Kong

Youthful national women's team pick up fourth victory in Ajman as they look ahead to World Cup Qualifier

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Chaya Mughal, the UAE captain, said the future of the women’s game in the country is in safe hands after her side closed out a series whitewash of Hong Kong.

The team continued their domination of their Asian rivals with a nine-wicket win in Ajman on Saturday morning, which was completed with more than 11 overs to spare.

It was a fourth win in successive days against the same opposition, and a 14th consecutive success in all in T20 internationals. The record longest winning sequence is 17 games, which was set by Thailand.

Mughal said her side’s focus is less on that record and more on making it to next year’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

They will take part in an eight-team qualifying tournament later this year, possibly on home soil, with the top two sides advancing to the main event.

“Whatever we have planned so far, we have been able to fulfil it,” said Mughal, who took 2-8 as Hong Kong were dismissed for 62 at the Malek Cricket Ground.

“We are working towards the global qualifier. We have a set target in our minds and we are working hard towards that.

“Since we are working towards specific targets, whatever opportunities are coming our way we are trying to grab with both hands.

“Whether it is FairBreak [Invitational, in which four UAE players will be playing alongside global stars], or a World Cup Qualifier, everything feels like it is falling into place at the right time.

“We are really excited to be part of this. We want to be part of major tournaments and this season is really busy for us. This is the first time we have ever had so many things in the same season, which is really good.”

When she is not captaining the national cricket team, Mughal is a teacher. Her expertise in that profession probably serve her well on the cricket field, given the age profile of the national team.

The XI which played the final game against Hong Kong had an average age of 20. It included eight teenagers, three of which are 15-year-olds who have been undertaking school exams in the same week as the series.

“It is really exciting because we are preparing them for the future,” Mughal said.

“UAE has a good set of players and it feels like the future is in safe hands. They are also soon going for their U19 World Cup qualifiers as well.

“We want to give them enough opportunities so they can go, play and perform there as well.”

The player of the match, Siya Gokhale, is a 16-year-old seam bowler who was playing her first game of the series.

“I was waiting for the opportunity to strike because I knew my time would come,” said Gokhale, who took 3-14 from her four overs.

“The pressure is always there but the good thing is you have 10 other players to share that pressure with you.

“We have been doing well with the 14-game winning streak and we want to keep that going. We’d like to break Thailand’s record, and that creates a healthy pressure.

“We haven’t spoken about it [the record], it is just something that is in the background. If we do manage it, it would be a great achievement, so you could say it is an incentive for us to keep performing.”

Updated: April 30, 2022, 10:42 AM
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