Aayan Afzal Khan was named the player of the match. — UAE Cricket Twitter
The UAE got off to a fine start in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off with an impressive 21 runs over Papua New Guinea in Windhoek, Namibia, on Monday.
Top two sides in the six-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off will qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier for a chance to take part in the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup, which will be held later this year in India.
Playing their first match of the tournament in Namibia, the UAE made 260 for seven after PNG won the toss and elected to field.
UAE’s skipper Muhammad Waseem led from the front with a brilliant knock of 96 (106 balls, 5 fours, 6 sixes).
But Waseem missed out on his hundred and his dismissal threatened to end his team’s innings early.
Aayan Afzal Khan, the 17-year–old all-rounder who made history last year by becoming the youngest player to play in the ICC T20 World Cup, then rescued the UAE with a sparkling unbeaten 94 off 94 balls (9 fours, 3 sixes).
Aayan found great support from Karthik Meiyappan (24 off 36 balls) as the two batters added 90 runs for the seventh wicket.
PNG, in reply, got off to a flying start as their openers Kiplin Doriga (73 off 71 balls, 4 fours, 7 sixes) and Tony Ura (56 off 56 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) put on 146 runs in just 20.3 overs.
But the UAE fought back in brilliant fashion, taking wickets at regular intervals to complete an impressive win.
Leg-spinner Meiyappan (8-1-45-4) was the pick of the bowlers, while Zahoor Khan (9.3-0-49-3), Rohan Mustafa (10-1-17-1), Junaid Siddique (5-0-23-1) and Aayan (8-0-33-1) also played their part brilliantly.
Aayan was named the player of the match for his all-round performance.
The UAE will take on USA in their next game on Thursday.
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