The weather played spoilsport as the Bahrain team’s campaign in the 2022 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Women’s T20 Championship got off to a damp start in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday after their opening Group B game against Kuwait was rained off with less than seven overs bowled in the first innings.
Batting first after Kuwait captain Amna Tariq won the toss and put Bahrain in at the Kinrara Oval, opener Tharanga Gajanayake and captain Deepika Rasangika Herath had shrugged off the early loss of debutant Ishara Maduwanthi and sped to 40/1 after 6.2 overs when the heavens opened up.
“We’re all extremely disappointed,” coach Prabodha Arthavidu told the GDN by phone from Kuala Lumpur after the match had been officially called off. “I totally believe we could have beaten them. We had a good platform after Tharanga and Deepika seized the initiative and Kuwait were on the back foot because of their previous experience against us.”
Bahrain beat Kuwait by six wickets in their only previous T20I encounter in the GCC Women’s Twenty20 Championship Cup in Oman last March and Arthavidu said he had been confident that his team could repeat the feat.
“Generally, on a pitch as true as the one we have here, a team winning the toss would normally opt to bat first,” he explained. “But they were obviously not confident about setting a target they could defend, so they sent us in. It showed how nervous they were.”
Bahrain’s next game in the 10-team tournament is tomorrow against Hong Kong, a team Arthavidu thinks is the strongest in their group, along with Nepal, who Bahrain will play the very next day.
“Both Hong Kong and Nepal have strong batting line-ups,” Arthavidu said. “Their bowling isn’t necessarily their strong suit. We also rely on our batting more so it’ll come down to how well we do when we bat. One thing going in our favour is that the Hong Kong players don’t know very much about us. So, if we stick to our plans and carry out the basics, I have no doubt that we will win.”
Bhutan are the fifth team in Bahrain’s group and currently languish at the bottom of the table after their 50-run, opening game loss to group leaders, Nepal, who now have two points after one match. Bahrain and Kuwait received one point each after their washout and Hong Kong will play their first game, today, against Bhutan.
The top two teams from each group go through to the semi-finals, scheduled for June 24.