Women’s Asia Cup: Deepti Sharma and India up next for UAE after Sri Lanka disappointment

National team face world’s No 4-ranked side at the tournament in Sylhet

Esha Oza believes the UAE are capable of holding their own against India at the Asia Cup. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Two days after a storm punctured their hopes of taking their biggest scalp to date, UAE’s women will be back in action at the Asia Cup in Bangladesh when they face India.

The vast majority of UAE’s players are of Indian origin. Even those who are not are well aware of the household names they will be up against in Sylhet.

The likes of Jemimah Rodrigues, who top scored in India’s opening day win, Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma are heroes to many.

And yet the national team have some stars in the making of their own. Esha Oza, for example, holds records which India’s batters would envy.

The UAE opener has two T20I centuries to her name, the first of which is the second highest individual score – 158 not out - in the format among women.

She was also the fastest woman to 1,000 T20I runs, a record she did not just pinch, but obliterated. Her 31 matches was four faster than the next best, England great Charlotte Edwards.

Although she missed out in the opening game, an 11-run loss to Sri Lanka on Sunday, as she made just 4, she hinted at a return to form with a breezy 37 against United States last week.

“It was good confidence booster to have a good innings before going to another big tournament like the Asia Cup,” Oza said of that knock, in the last game of the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi.

“In the previous few games I wasn’t playing as freely as I could. The game [against United States] gave me immense confidence, and to the entire team, too.

“To get a victory off the final ball again put everyone in good heart. We are feeling good, thinking, yes, we can win.

“We didn’t start that tournament as well as we wanted to, but we ended it well.”

Women’s Asia Cup

Sylhet, Bangladesh

UAE results
Lost to Sri Lanka by 11 runs

UAE fixtures
Tue Oct 4, v India
Wed Oct 5, v Malaysia
Fri Oct 7, v Thailand
Sun Oct 9, v Pakistan
Tue Oct 11, v Bangladesh

The defeat to Sri Lanka means UAE have now lost seven of their past nine matches, but Oza says confidence remains high because of the standard of cricket they have been playing.

“Even in the warm up game [ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier] against Bangladesh, I feel we did pretty well,” Oza said after the Qualifier.

“OK, we didn’t get a win, but that was the first game we were playing against a big side. Bangladesh are playing at the World Cup, and we fared pretty well against them.

“In that game, we lost wickets at crucial intervals. That is why we lost that game, but we fared pretty well and we learnt a lot from all of those games.

“If we apply all the things we learnt from [the T20 World Cup Qualifier] we can hopefully surprise some teams.”

The appeared well set to shock Sri Lanka in the opening game, only for the weather to undermine their chase.

Vaishnave Mahesh and Mahika Gaur took three wickets each as they limited their illustrious opposition to 109 for nine.

Having reached 20 for one off four in reply, a thunderstorm disrupted play. When they returned to the field, UAE required 66 from 11 overs, but they fell short.

“When there is an interruption it really breaks the flow,” Chaya Mughal, the UAE captain, said.

“The momentum that we were carrying forward stopped for our batters. That break meant we lost our momentum.

“When you have a target in your mind, then the balls are reduced, that takes the relaxation away from you.

"It broke our flow, but nevertheless we did a good job. We are not sad, we are really happy we did a good job.”

Vaishnave said the success she enjoyed in taking three for 15 was offset by the disappointment of the defeat.

“It is a bittersweet moment, but it is a team game it is not an individual person’s game,” she said.

“We did some things well and some things not so good. We will work on the not so good parts and come back stronger in the next match.

“There is always room for improvement and you never want to stagnate at a specific point.”

Updated: October 03, 2022, 7:42 AM
Women’s Asia Cup

Sylhet, Bangladesh

UAE results
Lost to Sri Lanka by 11 runs

UAE fixtures
Tue Oct 4, v India
Wed Oct 5, v Malaysia
Fri Oct 7, v Thailand
Sun Oct 9, v Pakistan
Tue Oct 11, v Bangladesh

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