UAE still confident despite heavy defeat against Thailand in T20 World Cup Qualifier

Top-ranked side ease to seven-wicket win at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi

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Chaya Mughal is confident UAE can bounce back from their opening day defeat to Thailand in the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

The national team were soundly beaten by seven wickets in the opening match of the competition at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The two finalists in the eight-team competition will progress to the main event in South Africa next February.

Despite the tough start against the top-ranked side in their group, UAE are still able to progress.

They face Papua New Guinea in the second game at Tolerance Oval on Monday. Victory in that will set up a deciding fixture against Zimbabwe in their final group match on Wednesday.

PNG were beaten by eight wickets by Zimbabwe at the same time as UAE were losing to the Thais on the adjacent field in the capital.

“I wouldn’t say that we were nervous but coming to a bigger platform is a different stage altogether,” Mughal, the UAE captain, said.

“The girls were prepared, and we know things like this can happen in the game of cricket.

“There are a lot of positives we have taken from the game today, and we will come back stronger. We have not lost anything today.”

The host nation’s bid to upset one of the favourites to win the Qualifier was derailed almost as soon as it had begun.

In the face of probing bowling by Nattaya Boochatham and Chanida Sutthiruang, UAE were three down for just seven runs after four overs.

Kavisha Kumari, who top scored with 40 not out, and Natasha Cherriath put on a half-century stand for the fourth wicket, so UAE could at least post 92-5 from their 20 overs.

It proved a long way short of being a challenge for the Thai side, for whom Natthakan Chantham was again in punishing form.

Chantham, the highest ranked batter in the competition, made 39 from 37 balls as Thailand chased the win with 22 balls to spare.

Kumari limped off the field towards the end of the chase with cramp after a sapping day, but Mughal is confident her side will be fit and firing when they return to face PNG.

“We can’t blame the heat,” Mughal said. “We are used to playing in such conditions. We were short of 20 to 30 runs. I’m sure if we got those runs, we could have got the result in our favour.

“It is just a matter of our batting clicking at the right time. I’m sure that right time is coming [against PNG].

“It is about going back to our basics and getting those right, and keeping our fundamentals right.

“We are not taking any pressure from this. We are only looking at the positives, and leaving the negatives behind.”

Updated: September 18, 2022, 2:49 PM