Vriitya Aravind falls short of double century but fuels win for UAE in Asia Cup qualifier

Wicketkeeper shares massive partnership with Rohan Mustafa as national team make thrilling start to ACC Premier Cup in Nepal

Vriitya Aravind blasted 185 as UAE defeated Kuwait in the Asia Cup qualifier on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Photo: Asian Cricket Council
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Vriitya Aravind said he was “fuming” at missing out on a double-century despite making the highest score of his life as UAE started their Asia Cup qualifying campaign in spectacular fashion.

The 20-year-old wicketkeeper blazed 185 as the national team thrashed Kuwait by 143 runs in their opening match in the ACC Premier Cup in Kathmandu.

The result avenged last year’s loss to the same opposition in the T20 format in Oman, which contributed to UAE missing out on the Asia Cup back then.

The winners of the 10-team event in Nepal will qualify for this year’s version of the event, which is set to be played in the ODI format in Pakistan as a precursor to the 50-over World Cup.

UAE opened with a statement win as they amassed 371-6 before bowling their Gulf neighbours out for 228 inside 37 overs.

In the early stages, Kuwait had hinted at an upset as they reduced their more celebrated opponents to 24-3.

Aravind and Rohan Mustafa repaired the innings in classy fashion, though, as they shared an alliance worth 275 runs for the fourth wicket.

Mustafa made 118, and Aravind saw his innings end on the second ball of the final over as he chased a double century.

“It was good fun,” Aravind said. “I have got three 90s in the past six games, so it was good to make a hundred this time.

“[Making 200] wasn’t in my mind, to be honest. Asif [Khan, who made 30 in just nine balls] hit four sixes in the previous over and I didn’t mind. So long as we hit the highest score possible as a team, I am happy.

“But I did fancy my chances in the last over. I was gutted I missed out on the one I got out to. I was fuming. The guys were saying, ‘Even after 185 you aren’t happy?’

“I was happy with 185 but I just wanted to make as much out of it as possible. On another day, I will try to score 200. It was a special day today.”

Although the fixture did not have full one-day international status, it was the national team’s fifth win in their past six 50-over games.

Muhammad Waseem, the side’s captain, praised Aravind and Mustafa for the way they repaired the innings for UAE.

“We lost early wickets but after that the way Vriitya and Rohan batted, all credit goes to them,” Waseem said. “The way Vriitya has been batting, I think he is the best batter in my team.”

UAE face Hong Kong, who beat Singapore in their opening fixture, in their next group match on Friday.

Updated: April 19, 2023, 11:38 AM