Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan showed once again why he’s at the summit of the ICC T20I bowler rankings with a destructive display against Ireland to secure Saturday’s Turbo Bowler accolade, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.
The prolific Afghan bamboozled Ireland’s batsmen with his ever-reliable wrist spin and walked away with 4-24 in his four overs as Afghanistan secured a resounding 84-run win in Dehradun. The No 8-ranked T20I team began by posting a record-breaking 278-3 in their 20 overs at a stunning 13.9 runs per over, beating Australia’s previous record innings total by 15 runs.
Ireland began their innings well with captain Paul Stirling (91 runs off 50 balls, 12×4, 2×6) and Kevin O’Brien (37 off 25 balls, 2×4, 2×6) starring with the bat. The pair were both dismissed in the 14th over having laid a substantial platform for the Irish to stage a monumental chase. Khan quickly dispelled any Irish hopes of making history by dismissing Andy Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker in quick succession.
He followed that up by bowling George Dockrell for a duck, before getting rid of dangerman Shane Getkate (24 off 16 balls, 1×4, 2×6) just as he was getting into his stride. The wily leg-spinner helped Afghanistan to an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match series against the visitors.
Congratulations to all Afghans around the globe it was a great day for us & record breaking game it was.
Congrats to @zazai_3 on 1st T20 ton of the career with the bat & @rashidkhan_19 with the bowl.#bluetigers pic.twitter.com/cbx2clHEfg
— Asghar Afghan (@MAsgharAfghan) February 23, 2019
Afghanistan’s record-shattering innings was set up with an astonishing 236-run stand between Usman Ghani (73 off 48 balls, 7×4, 3×6) and Hazratullah Zazai – the biggest partnership for any wicket in T20 cricket history. Zazai finished with a career-best 162 not out off just 62 deliveries, an innings which was peppered with 11 fours and a breathtaking 16 sixes.
The opener’s sensational 16-hitting spree ranks first on the list of the most sixes in a T20 inning, beating Aaron Finch’s previous best of 14. Zazai fell just 10 runs short of Finch’s record T20 score of 172, ranking second on the list.
The final T20I of the three-match series will take place on Sunday with Afghanistan looking to complete a commanding whitewash over the touring Irish.