Who would have thought that in a match which boasted of big-hitters like Brendon McCullum, David Warner, Jason Roy, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith among others, it would be an 18-year-old Afghani spinner stealing the show at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday? But that is exactly what Rashid Khan did. He finished with three wickets as Sunrisers Hyderabad thrashed Gujarat Lions by 9 wickets.
Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Warner called Man of the Match Rashid a superstar in the making in the post-match presentation. And that was evident in the cool and composed nature in which the Afghani leg-spinner went through his spell of four overs and finished with the wickets of McCullum, Suresh Raina and Finch.
More than the wickets, it was the manner in which he spun a web around the Gujarat batsmen that impressed all. He was handed the ball in the powerplay and there was no signs of any nerves as he first got McCullum (5) with a googly.
His next wicket was that of Finch. Unlike McCullum, Finch is not known to be a good player against spinners and Rashid used this to his advantage. Having bowled a few leg-spinners, he bowled a googly that drifted in after pitching and Finch (3) had no answer to it. The ball thudded into the pad and it didn’t take the umpire a second to raise the finger.
But Rashid’s best wicket had to be that of skipper Raina (5). Known as one of the best players of spin in the country, Rashid bowled a conventional leg-break even as Raina played for a googly. Once again, the ball crashed into the pad and there was no hesitation in the umpire’s mind. Not to forget, Warner had dropped Raina of Rashid’s ball when the batsman was yet to open his account.
If the three wickets weren’t enough, he even showcased his fielding skills as he ran out Dhawal Kulkarni with a direct-hit from mid-wicket.