T20 World Cup qualifiers: UAE enter semis despite losing to Bahrain

UAE players celebrate a wicket during the match against Bahrain. (UAE Cricket Official Twitter)
UAE players celebrate a wicket during the match against Bahrain. (UAE Cricket Official Twitter)

UAE lost by two runs in a thrilling last-ball finish despite Vriitya Aravind's magical innings

By Team KT

Published: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 3:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 4:18 PM

The UAE reached the semifinals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A despite losing their final Group B game against Bahrain by two runs at Al Amerat, Oman, on Monday.

Ireland also reached the semifinals from Group B, winning their last game against Germany by seven wickets.

While three teams – Ireland, UAE and Bahrain – finished their Group B campaigns with four points each, Ireland (NRR +0.991) and UAE (NRR +0.661) took the top two places on the back of their superior net run rate.

The game at the Oman Academy 2 ground between UAE and Bahrain produced a fascinating battle.

Chasing 173, UAE needed 27 to win in the final over. Vriitya Aravind (84 not out, 52 balls, 6 fours, 5 sixes), 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.

But Mahmood kept his cool to concede only two and ensure Bahrain got over the line.

UAE opener Muhammad Waseem was sent back cheaply and while Chirag Suri looked good for his 24-ball 26, the latter’s dismissal meant that the UAE had a mountain to climb with 138 needed in 14 overs.

Aravind and Rohan Mustafa (41, 31 balls, 2 fours, 1 six) shared a 91-run fourth-wicket partnership to keep the UAE in the game.

But Mustafa was run out in the 18th over with the team still needing 47 off 17 balls.

The young Aravind, who looked elegant and dominant, continued to play breathtaking shots to keep UAE in the game until the last ball.

“With Aravind playing so well, we still believed till the last ball that it (run chase) was possible,” UAE captain Ahmed Raza said.

“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.”

Raza then praised Aravind for his fantastic innings.

“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,” the UAE captain said.

“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 semifinals. Hopefully, our bad days are out of the way, and we go again strongly tomorrow (Tuesday) in the semifinal.”

For Bahrain, captain Sarfaraz Ali took two crucial back-to-back wickets in the 19th over to cripple the UAE run chase.

Earlier, Bahrain made 172 for five in 20 overs as David Mathias top scored with an unbeaten 46 off 35 deliveries.

In the other Group B match on Monday, Ireland restricted Germany to 107 for seven in 20 overs before reaching the target in 13.1 overs with seven wickets in hand.

Brief scores:

Bahrain beat UAE by two runs. Bahrain 172 for five in 20 overs (David Mathias 46, Umer Imtiaz 42, Sarfaraz Ali 32; Basil Hameed 1-10, Zawar Farid 1-18, Karthik Meiyappan 1-18) UAE 170 for six in 20 overs (Vriitya Aravind 84 not out, Rohan Mustafa 41; Sarfaraz Ali 2-24).

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