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Eighteen-year-old Rahul wrecks PNG.

Summary: Young left-arm spinner aims for UAE team after five-wicket spell

K.R. Nayar, Chief Cricket Writer

Dubai: It is not very often that an 18-year-old cricketer can get to wreck an international team's batting line up with a five-wicket spell. Rahul Neelesh Bhatia, a budding left-arm spinner, destroyed Papua New Guinea (PNG) team in their warm-up match before the ICC World Cricket League championship matches against the UAE.

Rahul, representing the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Blues team against PNG, produced a deadly spell of five wickets for 21 runs. The spell resulted in PNG being bowled out for 120 runs in 39.2 overs and helped ECB win by two wickets.

Speaking to Gulf News, Rahul said: "I am delighted with my spell as I managed good turn at the 7evens ground turf wicket. Of late I have also added more variety into my bowling by producing a carrom ball delivery that turns the other way."

Against PNG, Rahul produced good turn and ended up having three of their five batsmen stumped. "I have been producing good spells in domestic cricket but it feels nice to get wickets against an international team," said Rahul, who at the Nissan Gulf Cup in 2010 at the age of 11 won the player of the tournament and man of the final award and has been repeatedly winning best bowler awards since.

For the last two years, Rahul has been bagging the best bowler award in the Bhatia cricket league playing for United Pro Sports team. He also bagged the best bowler awards in tournaments held in the UK. "I am born in the UAE and played schools cricket for Delhi Private School, Dubai. Now I play for Heriot Watt University. In the ongoing Emirates Cricket Board's Inter Academy tournament I am the second highest wicket taker with 18 wickets playing for Young Talents Cricket Academy," said Rahul. who has produced good spells against Afghanistan, Namibia and the Netherlands for ECB in warm-up matches.

"Last year I played the Under-19 Inter Emirates tournament and was the most wicket taker and it was a last ball boundary shot that made Dubai Cricket Council the winners of the tournament. Helping my team win always motivates me to become better," said Rahul, who idolises New Zealand's Daniel Vettori and aims to play for the UAE.

Rahul will soon play in the Kolkata A division league after having been selected to play for Netaji Subash Chandra Institute team as their foreign player.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 2, 2017
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