UAE teen Vaishnave Mahesh shines in stunning T20 World Cup Qualifier win against Zimbabwe

Schoolgirl spinner takes three wickets and hits the winning runs in Abu Dhabi

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Vaishnave Mahesh produced one of the finest moments in the history of UAE cricket as the national team stunned Zimbabwe in the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi.

The schoolgirl spin-bowler had been moved to tears after the previous defeat in the competition, against Papua New Guinea, had spelt the end of UAE’s chances of making it to the World Cup.

The way she bounced back to bring about an extraordinary four-wicket win over Zimbabwe showed a strength of character that belies her tender years.

First of all, Vaishnave, who is one of three 15-year-olds in the UAE line up, was outstanding with her leg spin.

After two overs, she had two wickets for two runs, including the scalp of Kelis Ndlovu, who had arguably been the tournament’s leading player so far.

She ended her quota of four with three for 15. Even that failed to flatter her, seeing as her final three deliveries went for seven.

The fact Zimbabwe closed on 120 for seven after their 20 overs meant quite the task still faced the home team.

And yet they were bubbling with the enthusiasm as they left the field, given their excellence with the ball.

Despite the loss of Theertha Satish off the second ball of their reply, UAE started the run chase with verve.

Esha Oza returned to form in spectacular fashion. The opener has two centuries to her name in T20 international cricket, but had been light on runs just of late.

Oza hit two sixes on her way to 36 from 26 deliveries. When she went, though, it felt as if the UAE’s chances went, too.

Kavisha Kumari marshalled the rest of the chase and ended 41 not out.

The hero, though, was her partner at the other end in the final over, which UAE started off requiring 14 to win.

It was whittled down to four off the last, and Vaishnave found the boundary rope to complete the victory.

Zimbabwe, though, still advance to the next phase. Ireland stand between them and a place at the World Cup, after the Irish progressed to the semi-finals with victory over Scotland.

Gaby Lewis, the 21-year-old opener, struck 66 from 37 balls to set up Ireland’s 19-run win over their neighbours Scotland on the first match of the day at Tolerance Oval.

Bangladesh eased to a third win in a row as they beat United States by 55 runs at Zayed Cricket Stadium, thanks largely to Murshida Khatun’s unbeaten 77.

It means the reigning Asia Cup champions topped their group. They will play Thailand in Friday’s other semi-final.

Updated: September 21, 2022, 6:36 PM
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