Kenyan women cricketers settled a 22-year-old score with the United Arab Emirates by defeating the emirates side by five wickets to win the inaugural International Women’s T20 Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Many of the Kenya women’s team players were not yet born, or were infants, when a UAE side, largely made up of Indian and Pakistani professionals, edged out Kenya’s men’s team by two wickets to win the ICC Trophy at the Ruaraka Sports Club on March 6, 1994. The victory earned the UAE qualification to the 1996 World Cup along with second-placed Netherlands.
Backed by Maurice Odumbe’s 86 runs, Steve Tikolo’s 54 and Kennedy Obuya’s 49, Kenya scored 281 for six wickets runs off their 50 overs with the UAE fighting back with a solid opening partnership of 141 to cruise to 282.
Maharashtra import Riaz Poonawala (71) teamed up with Punjab-born Azhar Saeed (59) for the crucial opening stand that spoiled the party at Ruaraka.
But on Monday, 22 years later, Kenya’s national women’s team exacted revenge on behalf of their male compatriots by hammering the UAE in their Sharjah Emirate homeground to win the inaugural tournament organised by the Emirates Cricket Board.
The triumphant team is expected back at 6am on Wednesday with their first ever international silverware.
Kenya turned tables on the UAE who had defeated them by five runs in the preliminary rounds consigning them to second place in their pool that also included Malaysia and Qatar.
Kenya had beaten their arch-rivals Uganda by one wicket in the semis to advance into the final.
Batting first after winning the toss, UAE batswomen failed to cope with Kenya’s stiff bowling and tight fielding and were routed for a paltry 65 runs with eight balls of their allotted 20 overs in hand.
Subha Srinivas (17 off 23 balls with one boundary) was the only batswoman who managed to post double digit figures on the scoreboard.
Mary Wambui, who shone with bat and ball, was UAE’s tormentor-in-chief, taking four wickets for just 10 runs concedes.
Her victims included Esha Oza, whom she trapped leg before wicket for four.
She also had Nisha Ali caught by Sarah Bhatika for a duck before dismissing both Chaya Mughai (7) and Neha Sharma caught by Esther Wangare.
Daisy Wairimu (2/13) and Sarah Bhatika (2/11) were the other wicket takers.
Three UAE batswomen were run out. In reply, Kenya reached the target, scoring 69 with five wickets and 24 balls in hand.
Kenya was given a flying start by their openers, Wambui (18 off 49 balls) and Queentor Aoko (19 off 23 balls with one boundary) who put on an opening partnership of 33.
The stand was broken when Aoko was caught by Ishani Seneviratna off the bowling of Humaria Tasneem (1/7).
Karisha Kumari (1/6) was the other UAE wicket taker.