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Thunder Down Under: 'It still hasn't sunk in', says UAE spinner Meiyappan after historic hat-trick in T20 World Cup

Geelong (Australia), Oct 18 (IANS) UAE leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan, who on Tuesday took a sensational hat-trick against Sri Lanka in a Group A match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, said that the historic moment hasn’t sunk in for him and it would have been much sweeter if his team had won the game.

Born in Chennai and developed as a cricketer in Abu Dhabi and Dubai since his early teenage years, Meiyappan produced a ‘magical piece of bowling’ that etched his name into the history books of cricket. The 22-year-old’s hat trick ripped through the Sri Lankan middle order.

Brett Lee, Kagiso Rabada, Curtis Campher, Wanindu Hasaranga and now Meiyappan, only five men’s players in the history of the game have taken a hat-trick at an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

And few hat-tricks in the game can have been of a higher quality than Mei’appan’s. It was a stunning moment, and after the match, the spinner talked reporters through each delivery:

First wicket: Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5 (8) – caught by Kashi Daud at deep cover

“First up against Rajapaksa, I think the length side was a long boundary for him,” Meiyappan explained. “I thought he would try to take me down over there because I think he was five-from-five, something like that. I started to push it and he tried but he sliced it, straight to Kashif on the boundary. That was the first one.”

Second wicket: Charith Asalanka, 0 (1) – edged behind to Vriitya Aravind

“And then Asalanka walked in. That was a no-brainer for me. I was going to bowl around and straight up. Vriitya took an amazing catch.”

Third wicket: Dasun Shanaka, 0 (1) – clean bowled through the gate

“When Dasun walked in, I was going through my emotions of being on a hat-trick, but all I wanted to do was bowl at the stumps. And whatever happens after that, it is not in my hands. But again I just bowled around him and I think he picked it (wrong), tried to go over cover. But yeah.

“I was clear with my plans before the hat-trick ball. And no one came in. But we always have a chat when we bowl, me and the wicket-keeper. We are from the same city, which is why we talked in our language, Tamil. We had a conversation before that and I just delivered what I wanted to.”

Notably, there had never previously been a hat-trick for UAE in T20 Internationals. However, despite Meiyappan’s 3/19 off four overs, Sri Lanka, restricted to 152/8 in 20 overs, still proved too strong for UAE’s batters, who crumbled to 73 all out.

Two defeats, and the significant margin of this loss, means that UAE’s World Cup campaign is effectively over, with Namibia to come in their last Group A match. And that has left Meiyappan with a bitter-sweet feeling.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, the fact I got a hat-trick in a T20 World Cup and the first (UAE) bowler to do so. It really is a proud moment, amazing. But it would have been much sweeter, much better if we had won the game tonight,” the UAE spinner was quoted as saying by ICC.

“Obviously making the team to be in the World Cup was an achievement in itself, but the main goal was to play the Super 12s. As of now, I think, going forward for us, it would be the 2023 World Cup in India. That’s what we’ll be prepping up for,” he added.

After a performance and a magical moment like this one, the future is certainly bright for young Meiyappan.

–IANS

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