Women’s All Stars T10 decided in Super Over as UAE female cricket makes history with live broadcast

Hawks and Falcons - two scratch sides selected from the leading talents in the game - played out a competitive match in Sharjah

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Paul Radley. Sport. Cricket. Hawks captain Chaya Mughal runs out Falcons Lavanya Keny. The Women's All Stars D10, ECB Hawks and ECB Falcons. Monday, April 5th, 2021. Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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In 20 years as a cricketer, Chaya Mughal must have thought she had been there, done that, and got the fast-wicking, polyester t-shirt on most things the sport can throw up.

Even she, though, betrayed signs of nerves as the country’s leading female players played in front of TV cameras for the first time at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday night.

The 34-year-old schoolteacher sent down the first ball of the Women's All Stars T10, which was UAE female cricket's debut on a live broadcast. Unusually for her, it erred in direction, and was signalled as a wide.

It was understandable the players were amped up. There was a potential audience online of thousands, and even a sizeable amount present in the flesh.

The one-off fixture attracted an appreciably larger crowd than any of the men’s matches in the D10 competition over the past two weeks.

And if it ever slipped their mind that they were being watched, they only had to look up at the scoreboard, where the action was being relayed live on the big screen.

No matter the first night nerves, it did not take long for the ECB Hawks captain to regain her poise.

With one stump to aim at, Mughal affected a brilliant run out off to the first ball of the second over of the match.

Any tension about the extraneous circumstances quickly dissipated thereafter. Instead, the players became invested in the stress of the match.

The Hawks and the Falcons were two scratch sides, selected from the leading talents in the game here for the benefit of this exhibition match. As it turned out, they could not have been more evenly matched.

First, the Falcons posted 56 for six off their 10 overs, with Kavisha Kumari, their captain, batting through till the penultimate over for 38.

Chamani Senevirathne checked the Falcons’ late-overs progress with two wickets in two balls, and the Hawks carried that momentum into their reply.

Mughal led the pursuit herself, making 27 opening the batting. When she was trapped lbw by Samaira Dharnidharka, a player who is younger than half Mughal’s age, the Hawks appeared to be cruising, on 42 for one at the start of the seventh over.

They stumbled, though. Dharnidharka picked up a direct hit run out in the next over, and Mahika Gaur and Kumari – who bowled a nerveless final over – combined twice for runs outs in the final balls, and the scores finished level.

The match had been scheduled as a curtain-raiser for the final of the men’s Emirates D10. A super over had not been catered for, but they played an impromptu one anyway.

Again, Kumari bowled with composure and courage, as she required treatment for a head injury sustained in catching Mughal off her own bowling.

She went for seven off her over, and the Hawks were able to defend it as Senevirathne trapped both her Sri Lankan compatriot Kumari and Gaur lbw with just two scored.