ACC T20 Championship: UAE and Malaysia storm into semis; Bhutan end on a high

UAE, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Malaysia © Cricket Malaysia's Twitter

Esha Oza’s scintillating century powered UAE into the semi-finals of the ongoing Asian Cricket Council Women’s T20 Championship 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday, June 22. UAE vanquished Qatar by 153 runs to make it to the final four and will be joined by three more teams in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Nepal.

While Hong Kong’s unbeaten run in the tournament continued with a 30-run victory over Kuwait, it was a match-winning half-century from Malaysia’s skipper Winifred Duraisingam that helped the hosts bag a 53-run victory over Oman and a place in the semis. The last day of the group stage also saw Bhutan end their campaign on a high with a convincing 63-run win over Bahrain.

Malaysia thump Oman

Hosts came into the game under a bit of pressure as they had to register a win to grab a semi-final spot and the Malaysian skipper played an outstanding knock to help them cement the same. 

After asked to bat, Malaysia lost one of their openers early in Wan Julia with just 13 runs on the board but they recovered soon from the setback as Winifred Duraisingam steered them out of it.

She put an 87-run stand with Mas Elysa (33 runs off 29 balls) and that helped Malaysia set 135 runs on the board. Duraisingam was the chief architect of Malaysia’s innings. She scored 73 runs off 68 deliveries and struck at a rate of 107.35, including ten fours.

In reply, Oman could never get going and kept losing wickets in clusters. Apart from Priyanka Mendonca none of the other batters could find their feet in the middle and therefore Oman could only manage 82 for the loss of six wickets in their 20 overs. Mendonca struck 45 runs off 48 balls, including six fours, and remained unbeaten till the end.

ALSO READ: ACC T20 Championship: Hong Kong halt Nepal’s juggernaut; Kuwait and Qatar also emerge victorious

Hong Kong’s unbeaten run takes them to semis

Hong Kong were stretched in their last group game by Kuwait. Kuwait’s decision of putting Hong Kong into bat worked well for them. Kuwait’s bowlers bowled exceedingly well and kept the pressure on the Hong Kong batters right from the outset.

The brilliance of Kuwait’s bowling can be understood by the fact that only three Hong Kong batters were able to get into double digits. Hong Kong eventually posted 90 runs on the board for the loss of eight wickets.

In reply, Kuwait’s batters failed to capitalize on the momentum and crumbled under the relentless pressure that was applied by the Hong Kong bowlers. Maryam Bibi was the star for Hong Kong with the ball as she picked up a four-fer in her four-over spell while conceding just eight runs. Kuwait ultimately folded for 60 in 17.4 overs.

Bhutan end campaign on positive note

After being asked to set a total on the board, Bhutan lost their opener Yeshey Choden with just 16 runs on the board in the fifth over.

But their skipper Dechen Wangmo took it upon herself and took charge of Bhutan’s innings. Wangmo paced her innings really well and stitched a 110-run stand with Ngawang Choden (14 runs off 34 balls). Wangmo’s 64*-run unbeaten knock included three fours and one maximum and helped Bhutan post 126 on the board.

In pursuit of the total, Bahrain were totally blown away by Bhutan’s disciplined efforts in the bowling and the fielding department. Barring their opener, Tharanga Gajanayake, none of their other batters could even manage double-digit scores. Gajanayake’s 30-run knock eventually helped Bahrain to put up a respectable total in 63 for the loss of six wickets at the end of their 20 overs.

ALSO READ: ACC T20 Championship: Nepal and UAE continue undefeated streaks

UAE trounce Qatar

Esha Oza’s second T20I century turned out to be the major difference between UAE and Qatar in the last game of the group stage round.

Her 115-run knock that came off just 67 deliveries saw UAE post a mammoth total on the board (214/1) in their 20 overs. Her partner Theertha Satish played second fiddle to her throughout the innings and scored an unbeaten half-century herself.

The total was always going to be a daunting one for Qatar and that’s what happened in the end. Suraksha Kotte was exceptional with the ball in hand. Her four-wicket haul badly obliterated Qatar’s batting order and they could only score 61 for the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs and eventually lost the contest by a staggering margin of 153 runs.

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