ANI Photo | UAE’s win over NZ: Ashwin hails franchise cricket for turning fortunes of non-Test playing nations

Indian spin veteran Ravichandran Ashwin lauded UAE for their win over New Zealand in the second T20I, saying that the franchise T20 leagues have done a great job of turning the fortunes of non-Test-playing, non-mainstream cricketing nations. 
Skipper Muhammad Waseem led from the front as UAE scripted a stunning win over New Zealand in the second T20I in Dubai on Saturday to level the three-match series. 
Ashwin in his tweet pointed out when star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was playing in these T20 leagues worldwide, Afghanistan was not considered to a force in cricket and was not feared. But now, due to exposure to world-class facilities, and international-level talent, it has changed for them.
“UAE beating New Zealand is a big achievement and it’s also showing us what franchisee cricket has succeeded in doing. There is hope for the next generation cricketer coming from countries that aren’t mainstream test nations and that’s good news for the game. When @rashidkhan_19
broke into the IPL, Afghans weren’t a feared cricketing nation at world cups but now no one can refuse that fact. The future may well see other nations having representations at the IPL and turning the fortunes of the game in their respective countries. Well done UAE #UAEvsNZ,” tweeted Ashwin. 

UAE players like skipper Waseem, Fahad Nawaz, Aryan Lakra, Chirag Suri etc have played franchise T20 leagues, most notably, the inaugural International League T20, which was held earlier this year in January-February and was sanctioned by UAE Cricket. It saw UAE players play with or against international stars like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Rovman Powell, Trent Boult, Moeen Ali, Dasun Shanaka, Dawid Malan among other franchise league regulars worldwide. 
Coming to the match, UAE put NZ to bat first. Kiwis lost early wickets and sunk to 65/5 in 11.3 overs. Opener Chad Bowes (21), the hero of the previous match Tim Seifert (7), and Mitchell Santner (1) failed to score big. Aayan caused a lot of damage to NZ’s top order, taking three of these five wickets.
Then came a 53-run stand between Mark Chapman and James Neesham. The duo helped NZ cross the 100-run mark. Chapman smashed 63 in 46 balls consisting of three fours and three sixes while Neesham scored a supportive 21 in 17 balls, with two fours.
Kiwis ended the innings at 142/8 in 20 overs.
Aayan (3/20) and Muhammad Jawadullah (2/16) were among the pick of the bowlers for UAE.
Chasing 153, UAE lost Aryansh Sharma for a duck in the first over itself. But that did not affect the intent of skipper Waseem at all, who stitched a 40-run stand with Vriitya Aravind (25 in 21 balls, with three fours and two sixes) to help UAE make a comeback in the match.
Waseem played with caution initially but let his arms loose to reach his fifty in 27 balls.
He formed a 56-run stand with Asif and had scored 55 in 29 balls with four boundaries and three sixes when he was dismissed. UAE was 96/3 in 11 overs.
From then on, Asif built a match-winning stand with Basil Hameed (12*), smashing 48* in 29 balls with five fours and a six to get UAE a historic seven-wicket win with 26 balls to go.
Santner, skipper Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson got a wicket each. (ANI)

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