Dubai: Teenager Ayaan Afzal Khan four-wicket haul spun UAE to a big 84-run win over Nepal in the first of the three-match One Day International Series at the Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on Monday.
Ayaan, who made his debut in the two-match series against Bangladesh at home in October, has been growing from strength to strength ever since and has been troubling even the best with his tight line and length and the subtle variations.
Put in to bat, UAE scored 263 for seven in 50 overs with all-rounder Rohan Mustafa the top-scorer, while useful contributions came from Mohammad Waseem and Vriitya Aravind with Aayan chipping with a cameo of 26 along with Ahmed Raza.
Nepal’s chase never got off as Ayaan thrice in a two-over spell to push Nepal on the back foot, from which they never recovered and their chase faltered to finish at 179 for nine in 50 overs.
Ayaan is one of the many home-grown talents who have played for the UAE senior ranks after coming through the junior events. The left-arm spinner has a brave heart and made a memorable debut against a strong Bangladesh challenge. The 16-year-old bagged the wicket of Litton Das, who pulverised the Indian bowling in the recent World Cup, in his first over.
“I played my best, I still believed that I could have made my team win. We tried our best, we will play another good game,” said Aayan Khan after his debut, where he backed his one-wicket economic spell with a battling 25.
“It was a great experience for me to play for the country at the of 16. We will make more records in the future,” said a confident budding all-rounder who led UAE’s chase after being down 98 for 6 against the likes of veteran left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman.