Dubai-raised Mahika Gaur makes England debut and UAE beat Bhutan

Fast bowler took a wicket in win over Sri Lanka on same day her former side made fine start to T20 World Cup qualifying

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Having spent her formative years in cricket in Dubai, Mahika Gaur will rarely have experienced rainfall at all.

There are plenty of things the teenage fast bowler will have to get used to having switched her allegiance from the UAE to England. Maybe chief among them will be having to dodge showers.

The former Dubai College schoolgirl made a fine impression on her debut for England in a rain-affected win over Sri Lanka on Thursday night.

The start to the T20 international in Hove in the south of the UK was delayed by drizzle.

Ahead of a revised 17-over game, she was handed her cap by Kate Cross, her Thunder teammate who has played a key role in her switch from Dubai to England.

She was forced to wait to get into the action after Sri Lanka opted to bowl first. England amassed an impressive 186 for four in their 17 overs, built on a brisk half century by Alex Capsey.

Gaur bowled the second over of the reply, ahead of which she was high-fived by a number of her teammates, while Cross patted her on the back and offered words of encouragement.

Gaur’s first ball was a nervy one, erring slightly down the leg side for three wides, but her second provided a glimpse as to why the 17-year-old quick is so highly regarded.

Vishmi Gunaratne played and missed at a big inswinger, which prompted an appeal from all the England players as it thudded into her pads. The appeal was rebuffed, and England opted not to review.

Having bowled one ball of her second over, the players were forced from the field by another heavy shower.

When they returned, Sri Lanka’s target was revised down to 68 runs in six overs. They fell short, reaching just 55 for three, but the second passage of play was chiefly memorable for Gaur’s first wicket in new colours.

Gaur was playing her 20th T20 international, but her first for England. Coincidentally, her best figures in her career with the UAE, which started when she was only 12 years old, were a three-wicket haul against the Sri Lankans in the Asia Cup last year.

Her first wicket for England was the prize scalp of Sri Lanka’s outstanding player, their captain Chamari Athapaththu.

The left-hander edged a rising ball outside the off stump to the wicketkeeper Amy Jones, who took the catch.

On the same day, Gaur’s former colleagues were making an emphatic start to their Asia regional qualifying event for the T20 World Cup.

The national team thrashed Bhutan in Kuala Lumpur in the opening game of the 11-team competition.

Chaya Mughal, the captain, took three for eight, and Vaishnave Mahesh, the 16-year-old leg spinner, took three for seven, as Bhutan were fired out for 32. The UAE needed just 3.4 overs to complete the chase.

Updated: September 01, 2023, 4:30 AM