The heat could not stop them and neither could the desert storms prevent them from getting their major international trophy.
Despite the harsh weather conditions, the young ladies who form Kenya women’s national cricket team were cool and calm as they shone with both ball and bat to memorably beat United Arab Emirates (UAE) by five wickets in the final of International Women’s T20 Cup in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates yesterday.
That victory was special for these young ladies, who do not even have contracts yet: This was their first major trophy after many attempts in international tournaments in which their performances have been dismal, always falling to minnows such as Uganda, who they dismissed on Sunday on their way to yesterday’s historic win.
Playing in a foreign land and fielding first, the Kenyan girls knew the only way to victory was to restrict their hosts or bowl them out – and bowl them out they did!
Mary Wambui spearheaded Kenya’s campaign by claiming four scalps to finish with figures four for 10 in four overs.
Skipper Daisy Wairimu and veteran Sarah Bhakita took two wickets apiece and Edith Wanjiru cleared UAE’s batting order with a wicket to her name, even though she conceded 20 runs in her four overs. Wairimu conceded 13 runs in 2.4 overs, while Bhakita gave away 11 in four overs.
The Kenyan girls tormented and frustrated their hosts and UAE’s top scorer, Sina Srinivasan could only manage 17 off 23 before she was stumped.
Natasha Michael managed a measly nine from 15 deliveries before she fell to Wanjiru, who also caught Ishani Seneviratna (9 off 17) off Wairimu.
The Kenyans could not allow their hosts time to settle in the game and Chaya Mughal was dismissed after adding only seven runs to the scoreboard. She was caught by Wangari off Wambui.
Kavisha Kumar was run out for a golden duck, while Samiya Salim was clean bowled by Wairimu, also for a duck.
The Kenyan ladies put their hosts on the back foot and restricted them to 65 all out.
Needing only 66 from 20 overs, the Kenyan girls were on fire right from the start and openers Wambui and Queentor Aoko formed a solid partnership that put Kenya on the winning path. Banja replaced Aoko and with Wambui, they added nine runs before Banja was dismissed.
The hosts’ skipper tried to salvage the match by occasioning Wambui’s run out, but it was too little too late as the Kenyans were cruising at 49 in the 15th over and even the loss of another wicket, Veronica Abuga, could not slow them down in the Sharjah heat.
Bhakita and Wairimu performed UAE’s last rites as they saw Kenya ease past the target with five wickets in hand.