Karthik Meiyappan learns importance of staying hydrated after suffering severe cramp during UAE's win over Namibia

Teenage spinner collapsed in agony towards the end of national team's thrilling Cricket World Cup League Two victory in Oman

Karthik Meiyappan returned figures of 4-37 in nine overs in the UAE's eight-run win over Namibia in their Cricket World Cup League Two match on Monday. Courtesy Oman Cricket
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Given everything he has to look forward to in the near future, Karthik Meiyappan would do well to heed some advice: drink more water.

With eight balls to go in UAE's thrilling win over Namibia on Monday, the teenage spinner had to be helped from the field. He collapsed, seemingly in agony, on the other side of the nearest boundary line.

Those of a nervous disposition might have feared the worst.

Let alone the glowing reputation he is forging in senior international cricket at present, Meiyappan has a significant assignment in the age-group game later this month. That is, as one of the key figures in the UAE side bound for the Under 19 World Cup in South Africa.

It turned out his ailment was nothing more severe than cramp. Brought about in part by his mighty effort in helping UAE turn what seemed like certain defeat in Cricket World Cup League Two into an eight-run win.

That, and not drinking enough water. Even though the conditions in Oman are more temperate than those the UAE are used to for their home games.

This triangular series is being played at the Oman Cricket Academy grounds in Al Amerat, a town just the other side of the Western Al Hajar Mountains from the capital Muscat.

“I was jogging around a lot, covered a lot of ground, but hadn’t rehydrated myself enough, because it is Oman,” Meiyappan, 19, said.

“In Dubai it is hot, so you feel like drinking water all the time. Over here, you don’t feel that.”

The win over Namibia was just the UAE’s second in the past 11 one-day internationals, stretching back to January 2019.

Meiyappan’s contribution to it was vital. First he put on valuable runs via a 34-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Rohan Mustafa, to help drag UAE to 222-9 in their 50 overs.

Then his return of 4-37 in nine overs of highly-skilled leg-spin swung the game his side’s way.

In the middle of it, he accounted for Namibia’s captain, Gerhard Erasmus, who was well set on 56, to a catch at the wicket by his 17-year-old colleague Vriitya Aravind.

That followed four balls after he had removed Craig Williams with a classic leg-spinner’s dismissal, clipping the top of the off stump.

UAE had not appeared to stand a chance until Meiyappan’s intervention.

They did not help themselves, with an abject display in the field. Even Meiyappan, who is a spritely presence at cover-point, grassed one.

“You fight until the last ball is bowled, or the last run is scored,” the university student said.

“Yes, we dropped five chances, and it is hard to win a game after that.

"Ahmed [Raza, the captain] pointed out that it is hard to win any games if we drop five straightforward chances.

“But it is great that we came back and put up a good show. We just wanted to make it tight at the end and see what happens. In the end, it was our day.”

It is testament to Meiyappan’s self-belief that he wanted to stay on to bowl his 10th over, even though the tension was mounting in the death overs of Namibia’s run chase.

As it was, Raza brought back Junaid Siddique, as the national team completed a great escape.

“I fancied another one in that situation,” Meiyappan said.

“I was mixing it up quite well, changing my pace and making them hit.

"I was expecting to bowl another one, but Ahmed had different plans, and it worked out well.”