UAE’s World Cup Report: Valuable lessons as young talent emerges
Wins – 1
Losses – 4
Finishing position – Sixth in Super Six Group 1
A terrific victory first up against Scotland set the UAE up for a good run at the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup, and they did progress to the Super Six stage.
But their remaining four matches of the tournament saw them pitted against some truly top-level opponents, and they failed to match India, tournament hosts South Africa, Australia or Bangladesh.
However, results were just a small part of the equation for UAE’s developing squad, and they fully embraced the opportunity to learn and grow their skillset throughout the tournament.
Some of the more impressive performances came from the younger members of the squad, who will certainly still be around for the next edition of the tournament.
VIEW FROM THE GROUND
Sonali Dhulap was part of the ICC’s team on the ground in South Africa, and had this to say about her experiences working with and alongside the squad:
“When UAE walked in to get their headshots and media day activity done, they brought along with them a portable speaker. They put music on a loud volume and just proceeded to have a blast.
“If entertainment was the goal, UAE delivered on it. They were game for anything: singing, dancing, and generally having a good time. They were chatty and interactive and were also seriously well-mannered, shaking hands with everyone and thanking all the staff after the conclusion of the media events.
“They had a contingent of 25 parents traveling with them to cheer their girls and the amount of support and encouragement they had for every game was amazing to watch.
“UAE had some good talent and it is a pity they didn’t progress further, but with their attitude the players certainly have a bright future ahead of them.”
STAR PERFORMER – Lavanya Keny
The young all-rounder only turned 16 in November, but belied her tender years to put in decent performances with bat and ball at the World Cup.
She finished with five wickets and 76 runs to her name, and stood up when her team needed her, returning extremely tidy figures with the ball throughout.
NOTABLE MENTION – Theertha Satish
The captain finished as her team’s top scorer with 106 runs at an average of 21.20.
Nobody looked as comfortable out in the middle for UAE as Satish, and she marshaled her troops well in the field even when on the receiving end of some tough treatment from India’s batters.
WHAT THE MENTOR SAID
Former South Africa captain and ICC Mentor Mignon Dupreez worked with UAE at the tournament.
“Spending some time with UAE’s captain Theertha Satish, she actually on her arm had a date written, which was a reminder of a day when it was really hard in the field and she was almost dehydrated and felt like she couldn’t go anymore, but that was the day that they qualified,” Dupreez revealed.
“She said that that was a reminder of all the hard work they put in to be where they are and to be at the World Cup. That’s really special.”
Scotland – Won by 6 wickets
A brilliant opening win saw a combined effort from the bowling attack restrict Scotland to just 99/9 in the first innings.
And the chase was made to look easy, with Mahika Gaur top-scoring with 33* from 25 balls as the target was reached in 16.2 overs.
India – Lost by 122 runs
UAE were unfortunate to come up against an Indian side when their big three batters all clicked.
The class of the India top three proved too much, but credit should go to Lavanya Keny (24) and Mahika Gaur (26) for ensuring that there was some fight from the UAE batters in a lost cause with the bat.
South Africa – Lost by 45 runs
It was a day to forget with the bat for UAE, as they overplayed in a chase of 113. With the win at a tantalising reach, seven batters fell for single-figure scores as the tournament hosts bowled them out for 67.
It had been a decent bowling performance to at least give them a chance of the win, with Lavanya Keny the pick with 2/10 from four overs.
Australia – Lost by 6 wickets
A classy half-century from opener Theertha Satish was a moment to relish for UAE against one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament.
Lavanya Keny was again excellent with the ball, taking 2/23, but the target of 108 proved not enough to trouble the Aussie batting line-up.
Bangladesh – Lost by 5 wickets
Lavanya Keny continued her excellent tournament with an anchoring innings of 29 from the top of the order, comfortably top-scoring as wickets tumbled around her.
69/9 was never likely to be enough, but the bowlers gave it a crack, with Bangladesh five-down when they reached the target.