The national women’s team have been on a sharp ascent in recent times. They are undefeated since November last year, equalling England’s world record of 20 T20 international matches without a loss in the process.
The run culminated in them beating Malaysia to win the ACC Women’s T20 Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
By reaching the final, the two sides secured qualification for the Asia Cup. It means India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand lie in wait later this year.
“It is a big moment for all of us,” said Theertha, was named player of the tournament after UAE’s success in Malaysia.
“It will be the first time for all of us to play [in a tournament of that standing].
“It is a big thing for UAE and Malaysian cricket, and hopefully the standard of our cricket will keep improving as we go further.”
The player of the tournament award capped an extraordinary start to international cricket by Theertha.
The 18-year-old opener, who only took up the sport three years ago after being inspired by a movie about cricket, captained the national age-group side to qualification for the Under 19 Women’s T20 World Cup earlier in the month.
Since making her T20I debut back in November, she has played 25 matches between the senior and U19 sides, and has yet to lose one.
In the ACC tournament, she scored three half-centuries, including the decisive one in the final which helped UAE chase down the 101 they needed to take the title.
“We just planned to keep our game simple, get the singles and doubles to keep the scoreboard ticking,” Theertha said.
“I think we did it well. We managed to take the singles, and the occasional boundary did come.
“It is down to all the players efforts. The bowling was really good. Only because of them we were able to keep the target to 101.
“That made it easier for the batters to chase it down.”
Chaya Mughal, the captain who has overseen the unprecedented run of success for the UAE team, says they are benefiting from years of hard work.
“This something we have planned for, this is something we have spent our past 15 days [trying for],” Mughal, who is a Dubai-based schoolteacher, said.
“We have been preparing for the past two years, and the reward is now.”