Mohammed Haider, the UAE coach, was full of praise for his young side even though they missed out on a place in today's Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under 19 Women's Championship final in Singapore following their defeat against Nepal.
The Emirates subsided to an 81-run loss against the team considered to be the tournament favourites. Chasing an imposing 156 for three in their 25 overs, the UAE reached 75 for seven, with Dipanki Borcar, a student at Heriot Watt University in Dubai, top scoring with 23.
Their challenge faltered when Snehar Shankar, the side's most prolific batter, fell to a run out for the fourth time in the tournament. Although their pursuit of silverware has ended, the UAE side feel justly proud of what ranks as the best performance to date for the budding women's game here. "There is no cricket in the UAE, no women's competitions, but these girls have cricket in their blood," said Haider, who coaches the team alongside Shamsa Hashmi, the former Pakistan women's international.
"This tour has been fantastic for them. Most of our girls are 14 or 15 so the experience they have had playing on this tour well be very valuable for the future. "We have been working hard for the past five or six months. It is very hot in May and June, and we trained from 7.30am to 10am, and all through Ramadan, too. "To reach the semi-finals, and hopefully now finish third, is a fantastic effort. They are all really happy their hard work has been rewarded."
The UAE will play off for third place today when they face Hong Kong, who lost to Bhutan in yesterday's other semi-final.