Esha Oza, bowlers help UAE take unassailable lead against Hong Kong

Esha Oza during her 158* against Bahrain © Instagram/ Esha Oza

An all-round team performance led by Esha Oza helped UAE make it two-in-two take an unassailable lead in the four-match T20I series against Hong Kong. Oza scored a fifty and shared a 61-run partnership with Theertha Satish to help the hosts put up a competitive total. A combined bowling effort meant Hong Kong fell short of the target by 28 runs at the Malek Cricket Ground in Ajman on Thursday (April 29).

Put into bat by the visitors, UAE openers Oza and Kavisha Egodage started very cautiously adding only 22 runs from the first eight overs. Not a single boundary was hit during this period with Hong Kong bowlers keeping it tight.

In the ninth over, Oza was dropped and Egodage finally broke the stalemate in the next ball with a boundary through backward-point. Taking confidence from her partner, Oza struck two boundaries through the off side off Ruchitha Venkatesh in the next over.

However, Hong Kong eventually struck one back with Marina Lamplough removing Egodage for 16. That was when Satish joined Oza and she started with a couple of fours off Maryam Bibi. Oza had few more reprieves before she brought up her fifty with three consecutive boundaries off Venkatesh.

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With Satish also going well at the other end, it looked like UAE would put up a huge score, but introduction of Mariko Hill into the attack helped Hong Kong change things. Hill removed Oza and Chamani Seneviratne in the same over before getting skipper Chaya Mughal in the next.

A few aggressive shots from Satish helped UAE finish on 131 for 5 from their 20 overs with Hill taking three wickets for just 14 runs.

Chasing 132 to level the series, Hill started with two hits to the fence but was castled by Mughal for eight in the third over. Mughal had her second wicket in the same over with Natasha Miles bagging her second duck of the series. Opener  Shanzeen Shahzad played second fiddle to Kary Chan as she tried to resurrect her side’s innings.

Chan ran hard between the wicket scoring 39 off 45 balls with only one boundary. By the time their partnership was broken by a run out, the required run rate seemed beyond the reach for Hong Kong.

Once Vaishnave Mahesh got Chan, whatever little hope Hong Kong had went with it. For UAE, Mughal, Mahesh, and Khushi Sharma picked up two wickets apiece.

Brief Scores: UAE 131/5 in 20 overs (Esha Oza 53, Theertha Satish 47; Mariko Hill 3/14) beat Hong Kong 103/8 in 20 overs (Kary Chan 39; Chaya Mughal 2/10, Khushi Sharma 2/10) by 28 runs POTM: Esha Oza