Dubai: Aayan Khan’s brilliant four-haul eased UAE into the semifinals of the ACC Premier Cup after a convincing eight-wicket win over Bahrain in their final league match in Nepal in Wednesday.
Electing to bat, Bahrain got entangled in the spin web of Rohan Mustafa and teenager Aayan Khan, who had a breathtaking analysis of four for six in his 10-over spell on a wicket that turned from the start. Bahrain, from 27 for five, recovered to post a paltry 116 in 40.5 overs, leg-spinner also got into the act, claiming two wickets as spinners claimed eight of the Bahrain wickets with Zahoor getting the last man Waseeq Ahmed and one being a run out.
“I bowled a perfect spell against a strong team. The ball was spinning from the first ball and I just bowled a stump to stump line. Each and every game, I just stick to the basics and bowl at the right areas,” said an elated left-arm spinner Aayan Khan. “Everything is going in the right way for the team ahead of the semifinals.”
The UAE batting is functioning like a well-oiled machine, pummeling their rivals with big scores. The in-form Vriitya Aravind, who has scored two centuries in this tournament, and veteran Mustafa knocked off the required runs in 27.4 overs, each completing a half-century to their credit.
The victory propelled UAE to the top of the table with six points while Hong Kong are in 5 points and Kuwait on 4. They play the last tie and the winners will book a place in the semi-finals.
Oman, who posted a 74-run win over Saudi Arabia in a high-scoring clash on Wednesday, are topping the Group A table. Second-placed Nepal will be playing their final group clash against Qatar and a win will take the hosts to seven points and top of the table.
“This win will give us a huge boost when we play the semifinals. We are doing well in all departments as we regained our rhythm and have become a real force like in the past. We have to move the same way,” added the teenager.
He was effusive in his praise for the two seniors, Mustafa, who scored a century against Kuwait, and skipper Muhammad Waseem, who have been playing a pivotal role in the team’s fortunes.
“The seniors have been playing really an important role. Their experience and their game plan has made a huge difference to the team and it is making a huge impact,” added Aayan.