Leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan produced a match-winning three-wicket spell that guided the UAE to 47-run win over Singapore at Al Amerat grounds in Oman on Monday. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

Dubai: Young spinner Karthik Meiyappan did the star turn to bring UAE back on track with a convincing 47-run victory over Singapore in the Asia Cup qualifiers at Al Amerat grounds in Oman on Monday.

The leg-spinner struck three blows in quick succession to end Singapore’s hopes of reaching the moderate target to inflict a second loss on the ACC Eastern Region champions, whose campaign in Asia Cup is all but over with the second loss in as many games.

“It is good to be on the winning side and bounce back after yesterday (Saturday), and this means we are still in with a chance to go through to the Asia Cup, which is what is most important for us. It was good to contribute to the team’s win,” Karthik after his match-winning performance that earned him the Player of the Match award.

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Karthik Meiyappan receives the player of the match award after for his three-wicket haul. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

Playing only his eighth match in the Twenty20 format, Karthik was brought on by skipper CP Rizwan when the match was tantalisingly poised at 66 for 2 in 10.2 Overs. The 21-year-old leg spinner removed Singapore the dangerous-looking opener Aritra Dutta, who was threatening to take the match away from UAE with a measured 42.

Buoyed by the wicket, which generally gives a leg-spinner plenty of confidence, Karthik struck a twin blow off successive deliveries in his next over to reduce Singapore to 81/6, from which they did not recover to be all out for 113 in 18.3 overs.

Living up to the expectations

“I am happy for the boys and the team, this was a much-needed win. On paper we are one of the stronger teams and we needed to show that on the field as well. That is what we did today,” skipper Rizwan said in a statement released by the ACC. “The boys were hungry and keen to perform. When they got the opportunity, they grabbed it with both hands.”

Dependable UAE pacer Junaid Siddique, who was off colour against Kuwait on Sunday, found his rhythm to claim three wickets. The return to form of opener Muhammad Waseem must have been a double delight for UAE. Waseem had proved that he has a big-match temperament by leading UAE’s run chase with a stunning 66-ball 112 against Ireland in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers final at the same venue and this knock will being the confidence back for the opener.

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Muhammad Waseem hits one of his five sixes during his half-century against Singapore. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

Waseem’s 58 consisted five sixes and three boundaries that gave UAE a quick start despite losing the wickets of Chirag Suri and Vriitya Aravind, the two top performers in the previous game.

All-rounder Basil Hameed proved his utility again with a knock of 38 that propelled UAE total to 160 for eight in 20 overs.

Looking at positives

Singapore captain Amjad Mahboob looked at the positives despite bowing out early from the tournament.

“This was a must win game for us and by restricting UAE to 160, our bowlers did a very good job. I think the bating let us down again. We have a young team, for more than half the team, this is the first time playing a tournament of this nature. It is great exposure for them and when we go back, we will work hard on the areas in which we are lacking,” Mahboob said.

The UAE’s clinical victory should boost UAE run rate and offset some of the negatives from the loss against Kuwait. But still tomorrow’s match between Kuwait and Hong Kong becomes important for UAE’s chances to progress in the tournament.