Home team fall seven runs short in first of two T20 internationals to be played in Dubai
UAE batting during the T20 Qualifier against Bangladesh in Dubai. Bangladesh won the match by seven runs. All pictures by Antonie Robertson/The National
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Aayan Afzal Khan announced his arrival in international cricket with a fine debut for UAE, but the national team slipped to defeat against Bangladesh at the Dubai International Stadium.
The home team fell seven runs short of overhauling their illustrious rivals’ total of 158-5 in the first of two T20 internationals to be played in Dubai this week.
Despite the outcome, the hosts had one significant reason to be cheerful. Aayan, who was making his debut having been called up to the UAE squad aged just 16, shone brightly.
The Sharjah-based schoolboy took the wicket of Litton Das, who had scored an Asia Cup century against India the last time he played in Dubai, in the first over he sent down with his left-arm spin.
He later made 25 from 17 balls to keep UAE’s hopes alive in the run-chase, only for them to be bowled out for 151 with two balls left.
The national team had appeared to be well placed when they had Bangladesh 47-4 at the start of the eighth over, with a wicket apiece for Aayan, Sabir Ali, Zawar Farid and Karthik Meiyappan.
When Meiyappan then took a second to reduce the tourists to 77-5 the 11th, Bangladesh were struggling.
Afif Hossain, who ended unbeaten on 77, and Nurul Hasan then shared a partnership worth 81 to take their side to a defendable total.
Chirag Suri got the chase off to an optimistic start. The opener hit seven fours in a 24-ball stay worth 39 at the top of the order.
The home team’s run chase was derailed by Shoriful Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who each took three wickets.
The series, which has been organised at short notice to give the two sides extra practice ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next month, will conclude in Dubai on Tuesday evening.
While UAE and Bangladesh were playing off in Dubai, down the E11 in Abu Dhabi their respective national teams were also in action in the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Bangladesh, who had already achieved the primary aim of qualification for the main event in South Africa in February, faced Ireland in the final.
Fargana Hoque, who missed the start of the tournament with Covid, top scored with 61 as Bangladesh clinched the title with a seven-run win at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
On the neighbouring field at the Tolerance Oval, the UAE had earlier taken seventh-place in their consolation play-off against United States.
It was a second final-ball finish for the national team in the space of three matches in the capital, as they edged to a five-wicket win.
Esha Oza was the player of the match after an impressive all-round display. With her lesser suit, her off-spin bowling, she took 1-12 from four overs – two of which were maidens – with the new ball. Eight of those runs were edges.
The 24-year-old opener then got the pursuit of the target of 118 to win off to a rapid start, as she made 37 in 28 balls.
When she went the chase stalled, but Samaira Dharnidharka hit the two required off the final delivery to bring UAE their second win of the competition.
“I got off to a fast start and I felt like today was going to be my day,” Oza said. “In the past few games, I wasn’t playing as freely as I could. This game just gave me immense confidence, and the entire team as well.
“To get a win off the last ball again, everyone is feeling good. We didn’t start off the tournament as well as we wanted to, but we did end well.”
UAE travel to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup next, where they will face the giants of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the hosts, as well as Thailand and Malaysia.
Updated: September 25, 2022, 7:08 PM