Kavisha Kumari upbeat despite dismissal by her hero Chamari Athapaththu in Dubai

UAE opener was caught behind off her role model as Barmy Army lost out to Falcons in the FairBreak Invitational

Deandra Dottin and Kavisha Kumari at the Fairbreak Invitational 2022 T20 match between Barmy Army and Falcons in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Getty.
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Amid the array of world stars who have headed to Dubai for the first FairBreak Invitational, there was always going to be one who stood out for Kavisha Kumari.

As a Sri Lankan citizen, the UAE opener has always looked up to Chamari Athapaththu, the shining light of women’s cricket in the country.

On Wednesday, the first night of the new T20 tournament at Dubai International Stadium provided ample evidence as to why she is a role model for so many.

Athapaththu lashed 107 off a mere 55 balls to get the competition off to the most rousing start possible.

So when Kumari was faced with her hero coming into bowl at her while opening the batting for the Barmy Army, she might have been forgiven for feeling distracted.

The 19-year-old batter did, in fact, fall to Athapaththu’s off-spin — but only because she mistimed a shot and was caught at the wicket, not because she was star struck, she said.

“I was focused on the ball, not the bowler,” Kumari said.

“I was only looking at the ball, then when I got to the non-striker’s end I was like, ‘That’s Chamari!’ Other than that, it was the ball I was focused on.

Nanapat Koncharoenkai of Falcons appeals for the wicket of Kavisha	Kumari during their T20 match. Getty.

“I just wanted to hit her, to rotate the strike, and get the best out of it. But there was a feather touch [on her dismissal].”

Kumari made 24 and was the dominant partner in an opening stand worth 49 with Deandra Dottin, the big-hitting West Indies opener.

Dottin, who wears the name “World Boss” on the back of her shirt rather than her surname, found her range shortly after being parted from Kumari.

She ended with 80 not out from 59 balls as Barmy Army reached 152 for three from their 20 overs.

“She is very supportive,” Kumari said of batting with Dottin.

“She calms me down. It is a really humbling experience to play with the World Boss. When she goes for it, I’m like, ‘Whoa.’

“Sometimes I’m a bit wary at the non-striker’s end in case the ball comes straight at me.

“Once we had stayed at the wicket for a while, Dottin and I found it much easier. We thought, let’s not give our wicket away and try to capitalise as much as we could.”

Falcons chased their target with eight wickets and 15 balls to spare, with Athapaththu blazing 42 from 31 balls, and Danni Wyatt taking the player of the match award after ended not out on 76.

Despite the defeat, Kumari remained upbeat.

“This is a good platform,” she said. “To get to play with these sort of players is a dream come true.

“I feel very humbled and happy to have this opportunity. Win or lose, experience matters. Hopefully we can bounce back soon.”

Updated: May 06, 2022, 5:30 PM