Aryansh Sharma-1692298489587
UAE’s Aryansh Sharma scored a fine 60 off just 43 deliveries including nine boundaries and a six. Image Credit: Source: Emirates Cricket

Dubai: UAE’s Aryansh Sharma made a dream T20 International debut but his efforts slightly fell short as the UAE lost the opening match to New Zealand by 19 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Chasing a fighting 156 to win, the 18-year-old opener despite losing his partner Muhammad Waseem for the very first ball of the innings kept his composure. He rallied the chase and looked well set to provide the hosts a shock result before his wicket in the 14th over changed the face of the game. The UAE lost its last four wickets for just 10 runs and were all out at 136 with two balls to spare. Sharma scored a fine 60 off just 43 deliveries including nine boundaries and a six. He hit three consecutive boundaries off Ben Lister plus two more successively off Kyle Jamieson. His score was the highest score by a men’s UAE cricketer on T20 debut.

“I was playing to my strengths and focused on my plans but I fumbled at the wrong time,” said Sharma. “I was actually planning to take the aggressive route after the 15th over but sadly I gave away my wicket a little too early,” he added.

Despite the youngster’s brave knock, the spotlight went to New Zealand skipper Time Southee who grabbed a five wickets in his stipulated four overs. He was well supported by Mitchell Santner and James Neesham who claimed two wickets each.

Seifert's fine knock

Earlier, opener Tim Seifert led New Zealand’s batting with 55 of their first 60 runs, including three sixes. “It’s a good start the series with a win. Even better to contribute on the success and put pressure on the UAE straight away.

“It was a two-paced wicket and I was finding my gaps well. I would have loved to play deep into the innings,” Seifert added.

On the UAE team, Seifert said: “I think there were a few unknown players. Good we got to know them now. They have some great talented players and we are looking forward to the next two games.”

Made to bat first, New Zealand was 85-5 but got handy late contributions from Jimmy Neesham with 25 off 22 balls, Cole McConchie, 31 not out off 24, and Rachin Ravindra, 21 not out off 11. They finished on 155-6.

UAE named a team which had seven players making their T20 debut. “We will focus on what we did wrong and then work accordingly to correct it during our training tomorrow and hopefully we can win the next two T20Is,” said Sharma.