Review: Asia World T20 Qualifiers

The United Arab Emirates were the victors in the Asia segment of the ICC World T20 Regional Qualifiers, going through the tournament undefeated. 

  P W L NR Points
UAE 5 5 0 0 10
Hong Kong 5 4 1 0 8
Nepal 5 3 2 0 6
Malaysia 5 2 3 0 4
Bhutan 5 1 4 0 2
Kuwait 5 0 5 0 0
Final table

The tournament was wide open at the beginning with top ICC ranked teams Nepal and UAE expected to perform well, along with Hong Kong and Malaysia. It was expected that Bhutan and Kuwait would bring up the rear.

As the tournament progressed it became a three way battle between the top tier teams and it was not decided until the final day when UAE defeated Nepal to record five straight victories. It is a testimony to the strength of this Asian connection that three teams were still in the hunt on the final day.

The UAE will now progress to the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier where they will compete with seven other teams for two available spots in the 2023 T20 World Cup.

As it Happened

The tournament got off to s surprising start with Hong Kong narrowly defeating tournament favourites Nepal. This was a surprise on two counts. Firstly, Nepal entered the tournament with an ICC ranking of 16, the highest of the nations competing, while Hong Kong was ranked at 24. Secondly, of all the teams Nepal was the only one to have played international cricket in 2021, having a series against Qatar prior to the event.

That same opening day, Bhutan recorded their first ever win in T20 Internationals when they defeated Kuwait. UAE got their campaign underway with a comfortable win over Malaysia.

With only five matches played per team, a loss means you are already up against it and needing to ensure a good net run rate. Nepal did this with a solid victory over Bhutan and Malaysia easily accounted for Kuwait, keeping their campaign alive. For the two winning teams on Day One, only one could maintain a clean record and that was UAW defeating Hong Kong by 11 runs. Repeating a problem they had against Nepal, Hong Kong gave away too many wides while their fielding mishaps cost them dearly.

Day Three saw Hong Kong end Malaysia’s campaign defeating them by 4 wickets, while Nepal gave their net run rate a boost with a comprehensive victory over Kuwait who they bowled out for just 27. Maintaining their record, UAE defeated the plucky Bhutan team by 47 runs. By now the table was sorting itself out with UAE at the top followed by Nepal and Hong Kong on net run rate.

Day Four saw victories to each of the top three teams and it left a showdown for Day Five, with each of the top teams a mathematical chance of finishing first, although Hong Kong’s net run rate was well below that of UAE or Nepal. It meant that they would have to hand Kuwait a heavy defeat and hope that Nepal narrowly defeat the UAE.

They didn’t have to wait long. In the first game of the day the curtain closed for Hong Kong, for the UAE scored a solid 127/5 and bowled Nepal out for just 79. The victory gave the UAE its fifth straight and meant they won the tournament. For Hong Kong, their victory over Kuwait gave them four wins and second place.

Highlights

UAE

Theertha Satish, in her debut series was the leading run scorer (165) in the tournament. At just 17 years of age the compact left-hander batted with great style and finished with scores of 64*, 47 and 46, and showed that she is definitely a player to watch for in the future. The Sri Lankan veteran Chamani Seneviratne was also a solid performer with the bat along with Kavisha Egodage, who also finished in the top ten run scorers.

Khushi Sharma was the highest wicket taker (10) for the tournament, and while her 5-22 against Bhutan was a highlight, her consistency through the tournament added great value to the team. Samaira Dharnidharka‘s 4-5 against Nepal sealed that team’s fate in the final match, instrumental in giving her team the victory.

The skipper, Chaya Mughal, with 3 catches, was the equal best in the tournament along with Hong Kong’s Kary Chan and Malaysia’s Nur Arianna Natsya.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s captain Kary Chan was outstanding with her bowling choices and field placements. It is just a shame that the fielders did not back her up. Her bowling was also a highlight, but so too off-break bowler Betty Chan who bowled 11 consecutive dot balls against Nepal in the Powerplay and followed that up with 9 straight against the UAE.

With the bat Mariko Hill‘s 55 against Kuwait is the highest for a Hong Kong batter and Kary Chan’s 43 against Bhutan, equal second. Those two, along with Natasha Miles with scores of 40* and 37 were the mainstays of Hong Kong’s batting.

If Hong Kong can get on top of their fielding they have the makings of a very good team.

Nepal

Sita Magar‘s 40* against Hong Kong was a highlight while her 100 runs was the best for Nepal in the tournament. Indu Barma’s 81 runs was next best, but the fact that these two were the highlights suggests that the batting was a little short of its best.

With the ball, Sita Magar was again the leading performer with 6 wickets, but she was well supported by Sangita Rai, whose 3-2 against Kuwait was the best return for the team and indeed ninth best of all time for Nepal.

The team will be disappointed with where they finished. They are much better than they showed in this tournament.

Malaysia

Malaysia defeated the two teams below them and lost to the top three but by means were they heavy defeats. Mas Elysa had a good series with her allround skills, top scoring with the bat with 106 runs (4th overall) and with a top score of 43* against Kuwait while taking 4 wickets with her leg-breaks. The sixteen year old Elsa Hunter was another who impressed with her 39* against Nepal and 25* against UAE, both the top teams to give her 97 runs for the tournament.

Captain Winifred Duraisingam had one good knock, 44 against Kuwait but struggled elsewhere. However she delivered with the ball, taking 5 wickets at 11.60 with an economy of just 4.46.  Mahirah Izzati was also impressive with the ball, taking 7 wickets at 8.28 runs per wicket.

There is plenty to like about this team. With some more international exposure they will improve.

Bhutan

The Lady Dragons had a good tournament. Yes they only secured one victory but let’s remember that they started the tournament with first ever victory in T20 Internationals when they defeated Kuwait. The also gave a good account of themselves against Hong Kong and were on the way to victory against Malaysia before a sudden collapse.

Most consistent with the bat was Ngawang Choden with 88 runs in total, while there were good innings by Tshering Zangmo (34*) and Dechen Wangmo (35). If the team can manage to put some partnerships together they look good. Similar to Malaysia: need more exposure. One player who will get that in Hong Kong’s Fair Break domestic tournament is left arm seamer Anju Gurung who took 7 wickets and a best of 3-10.

Another bright aspect is the Bhutan uniform. It must be the brightest in world cricket.

Kuwait

Not a lot to sing about for Kuwait but the team will be a lot better for the experience and they were in some pretty tough company. One highlight is the fact that they made their highest total in T20 Internationals when they scored 120/4 chasing Hong Kong’s 153/3 in their final match, finishing the tournament on a high.

Most consistent with the bat was Maryam Omar who was the only player in the team to score over 100 runs (107). With the ball, leading wicket takers were Khadija Khalil and Maria Jasvi with 3 each.

Where Next?

UAE will now head to the Global Qualifiers in 2022 to join Scotland (Europe), Papua New Guinea (East Asia Pacific), United States (Americas), Zimbabwe (Africa) as well as Ireland (highest ranked) with Bangladesh and Thailand (2020 tournament). The two winning teams will participate in the 2023 T20 World Cup in South Africa.

Photo: © ICC

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