Vriitya Aravind heroics send UAE through to T20 World Cup Qualifier semi-finals

Teenager blazes 24 off the last over to see national team through despite two-run loss to Bahrain

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UAE will get the chance to play for a place in the T20 World Cup after Vriitya Aravind dragged them into the semi-final of the Qualifier in Muscat with an unbeaten 84.

The national team required 12 off the final over of their last pool match against Bahrain to snatch a place in the last four from their Gulf neighbours.

Aravind, the 19-year-old university student, singlehandedly smashed 24 runs off the over. UAE finished on 170-6 to lose the game by two runs, but they now have the chance to play off against one of Nepal, Oman or Canada for a place on the plane to Australia.

UAE had begun the day in confident mood. Starting with a run-rate cushion of 0.809 over Bahrain, and 0.975 over Ireland, the first over they sent down was a wicket-maiden by Basil Hameed.

From then on, though, the performance was worryingly tatty. Bahrain, who are 31st in the ICC rankings, reached 172 for five from their 20 overs.

David Mattias top scored with 46 not out and, between him and Haider Butt, Bahrain blazed 76 from the last six overs of the innings.

If UAE were to fall short of that and see their unbeaten run ended, they still required 158 to guarantee a semi-final place.

Their response was a nervy one after openers Muhummad Waseem and Chirag Suri each went cheaply.

Aravind and Rohan Mustafa then put on 91 for the third wicket before the latter fell for 41.

UAE required 32 to make it through in less than three overs when Mustafa fell. When Kashif Daud fell to the very next delivery, the national team's hopes seemed to be sunk.

Aravind, though, revived their prospects by hitting each of the next two deliveries from Imran Anwar over the ropes for six.

UAE also lost Hameed and Zawar Farid in the penultimate over, and they were left with 27 to win – or 12 to make it through.

Aravind took Shahid Mahmood for 10 off the first three balls, then saw the national team through to the next phase by smashing the next ball for six.

Two more sixes would have won the game, too. He hit the penultimate delivery over the ropes, but the last was fielded on the boundary for two runs, leaving UAE two short of the win.

On the neighbouring field at the Oman Cricket Academy, Ireland made easy work of Germany, who had pushed UAE close two days earlier.

Josh Little, with two for 13 from his four overs, was the pick of Ireland’s bowlers as they restricted their opposition to 107 for seven from their 20 overs.

Ireland needed to chase that within 17 overs to ensure they stayed ahead of the sides on the other field. They managed it in just 13.1 overs as they won with seven wickets in hand.

The margin of Ireland's win meant they leapfrogged UAE into top spot in the group.

Updated: February 21, 2022, 10:59 AM
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