Ayan Afzal Khan poses with the man of the match trophy after their victory over Ireland. Courtesy: ECB Twitter
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Ayan Afzal Khan put up a stupendous all-round performance as UAE survive a scare to eke out narrow one-wicket victory over Namibia in their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 qualifier match on Thursday.
Ayan-led UAE bowlers displayed a fascinating show as the UAE restricted Namibia to a paltry total of 91 and chased down the target with for the loss of nine wickets with 102 balls spare.
Not only did Ireland make some in-roads but almost snatched a victory from jaws of defeat if Ayan had not come to the rescue of his team.
Chasing a small total, UAE had got off to a decent start as the openers Muhmmad Waseem and Vriitya Arvid added 21 runs for the first wicket.
Ruben Trumpelmann gave Ireland first break through by picking up the wicket of Waseem. The right-handed batsman has been in a great form since the beginning of the season.
He had smashed a blitzkrieg fifty in the UAE’s win over Afghanistan their second T20 International match recently. Waseem, who rose to fame, carried his ILT20 form into the bilateral series and smacked a whirlwind 91 off just 50 deliveries against Afghanistan.
Waseem had underlined his presence in the ILt20 among the top stars of the world. He emerged as the Most Valuable UAE player in the competition and bagged the prestigious Blue Belt. He was the fourth-highest scorer in the tournament with 367 runs in 11 matches.
Waseem’s dismissal blew open the door for the Ireland bowlers, who wreaked a havoc as UAE had to struggle to reach the small target.
After the departure of Waseem, UAE started losing the wickets in quick succession and failed to get the partnerships going. Tangeni Lungameni returned with a figure of 4/20 whereas Trumpelmann picked up three for 27.
Ireland bowlers had reduced UAE to 55/6. When came on the pitch, UAE still needed 41 runs with just four wickets in hands. The only thing in their favour was that they had too many overs.
Ayan took the charge in his hands, and started reviving the innings, he waged the battle single-handedly. Since the Asia Cup, Ayan has emerged as one of the rising stars of the UAE cricket. He has impressed everyone with his performance. He took them over the line with one wicket left in a nail-biting finish.