Sharjah: Emirates Cricket Board’s initiative to promote women’s cricket in the UAE through a Women’s Cricket League turned out to be a success with over 50 women’s cricket contesting for the last two months in the ECB Women’s Cricket League.
Desert Cubs Cricket Academy became the first team to emerge as the champions of the league after three home and away games between three academies that promote women’s cricket in a big way in the UAE.
Desert Cubs Cricket Academy, GM Cricket Academy and GForce cricket Academy contested in 30-over matches during this two months. Desert Cubs remained unbeaten in the league and qualified for the final.
In the final they scored 67-run victory over GM Cricket Academy.
Desert Cubs captain Esha Oza won the toss and elected to bat first and her team posted 157 for five with Chamani Seneviratne hitting an unbeaten 47 of 36 balls.
Esha also chipped in with 27 runs while Kavisha Kumari scored 25 runs.
Chasing the target, GMCA were all out for 94 runs in 26.3 overs.
Kumari also sparkled with the ball taking three wickets for 14 runs from her five overs while vice-captain Heena Hotchandani produced a deadly spell of four wickets for 13 runs in 5.3 overs.
Oza, who led from the front, scored 228 runs in the tournament with a strike rate of 89.41.
Her knocks included an unbeaten 82. Hotchandani had a strike rate of 93.39 and Kavisha Kumari followed with a strike rate of 72.57.
In bowling, Prachi Kumari, Suraksha Kotte, Shivani Sathe, Dharini Ravi produced economical spells while all-rounders like Chamani Seneviratne, Judith Cletus too contributed to the victory.
Former UAE women’s team player Chaitrali Kalgutkar is the coach of the Desert Cubs team and she is supported by former UAE player Murali Sockalingam.
Speaking to Gulf News, Chaitrali said: “We are busy doing our practice sessions and everyone is giving their best to improve, because those are the things that are in our control and will really help us improve our game. There is a lot of intensity in our training sessions. We have a great bunch of youngsters who are committed to the game.”
Desert Cubs chief coach Presley Polonnowita lauded ECB’s initiative and said: “The players got to play many matches at different venues against quality opponents which gave them the much needed exposure and experience. This kind of exposure will definitely be productive to develop more players and lead to women cricketers flourishing in the coming years.”