Dubai: Vriitya Aravind’s unbeaten 84 might have ended in a lost cause, but it ensured a semi-final spot on better run-rate after losing by two runs to Bahrain in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifier at Al Ameerat in Oman on Monday.
The game at the Oman Academy 2 ground between UAE and Bahrain produced some excitement with the match being decided off the last ball. UAE needed 27 to win in the final over, after Bahrain had amassed 172.
The 19-year-old Aravind, who has been in excellent form in the Qualifiers, hit two fours and two sixes off Shahid Mahmood’s final over to bring the equation down to five off the last ball. Mahmood kept his cool to concede only two and ensure Bahrain got over the line.
Ahmed Raza, UAE captain, said: “With Aravind playing so well, we still believed till the last ball that it (run chase) was possible. If the last shot too had beaten the fielder, it would have gone to a Super Over that I think would have been an ideal finish to this match. Congratulations to Bahrain though, they played amazingly well in this game and in the tournament as well.”
Commenting on Aravind’s performance, Raza added, “Aravind backs his skills and shots regardless of the pressure. Even if the opponents are making some noises, he stays in his own zone. He takes the game deep. He did that against Ireland and he did the same today. Gutted that he couldn’t take us over the line but overall, we had a pretty poor day in the field. Even with the bat we had a few lapses that must be corrected before the semi-finals. Hopefully, our bad days are out of the way, and we go again strongly tomorrow.”
Ireland top group
Ireland topped the table with four points after outplaying Germany in their final Group A game and Bahrain, also on four points, narrowly missed out on the spot.
Ireland defeated Germany by seven wickets, achieving their victory target in 13.1 overs, to boost their net run-rate (NRR) and qualify as group topper. Germany was restricted to 107/5 with only two batters managing to reach double digits.
Chasing a target of 173, UAE were comfortably placed at 126 for three after 16 overs. Needing 47 in four overs, the loss of Rohan Mustafa off the first ball of 17th over triggered a collapse and soon were reduced to 144 for six in 18.5 overs.
UAE face Nepal in semi-finals
UAE will now take on Nepal, who have maintained a clean slate after winning all three matches in Group B, at Al Ameerat on Tuesday.
“We have beaten Nepal in the Quadrangular ahead of the Qualifiers. So we are confident and looking forward to the semi-finals against them,” coach Robin Singh on Monday.
In the other match of the day, Oman outplayed Philippines to join Nepal from Group B for the semi-finals.