China Women 52 for 3 (Hu Ting Ting 19*, Maqsood 2-14) beat UAE Women 51 (Wang Meng 2-3, Mei Chun Hua 2-12) by seven wickets
China made their way into the semi-finals of the ACC women's tournament after beating UAE by seven wickets in Johor.
China's was a schizophrenic performance throughout. At times they looked at par with Bangladesh and Hong Kong in the field yet at other times they looked the rawest of beginners. "Zhen li he cuo wu, zhi you yi bu zhi yao", said China's manager afterwards: "A fault is one step away from the truth."
Invited to field, China's bowlers, with the exception of the seamer Wang Meng, bowled a succession of wides and deliveries. But in between those extras they bowled decently and fielded with precision effecting three-run-outs. UAE's top score was six and six batsmen didn't score at all. China had UAE on the rack in the ninth over when they took three wickets in three deliveries but they undid the good work with some undisciplined bowling.
With China bowling so sloppily UAE cashed in for a while by nudging runs of any delivery on the stumps. Overs passed, extras mounted and suddenly UAE felt they could not only pass 50, they could bat out the 30 overs.
Crushed by Bangladesh in the opening game, ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake had been invited by the UAE manager to speak to the team before this game, and his simple advice to "take things one ball at a time" became the inspiring mantra which the UAE team adopted.
Though UAE didn't bat out the full quota of overs they did pass 50 and it meant China, having given away 37 extras, would have to work on their bowling before they face up to Hong Kong in the semi-finals. They will have an opportunity to correct their faults when they take on Bangladesh tomorrow.
UAE are a better bowling side than they are batting with Natasha Michael and Jesar Shah bowling wicket to wicket, hitting the deck, and extracting bounce off the pitch. Left-armer Samiya Salim spears in yorkers off a short-run up. Three Chinese wickets fell quickly and the UAE were sensing the possibility of a major upset.
But the early wickets just meant that China's best batsman, Hu Ting Ting (19) had more time to influence proceedings. The first delivery she faced was edged high just short of third man but after that she played with calm assurance. Michael and Shah induced both inside and outside edges but Hu Ting Ting remained unperturbed.
Her 31-run partnership with Duan Qiong took China to victory. Back in the shade, she stripped off her pads, rolled up her trousers and showed off some humungous strapping around her left knee. Having strained a ligament in training, she was playing against doctor's advice. "I have played with worse injuries when I was a footballer. I wanted to help my team win this match," she said. "I am playing for them."