Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan etched his name into the record books by picking up the fastest five-wicket haul of all-time in international cricket. In a stellar spell encompassing just 12 balls, the 18-year-old leg-spinner claimed match figures of 5/3 to demolish Ireland in the second T20I at Greater Noida.
The leg-spinner’s virtuoso performance extended Afghanistan’s record streak of 10 victories in the shortest format of the game.
Upon winning the toss, the Afghans decided to bat first and compiled a formidable total of 184/8. Opener Najeeb Tarakai slammed a 58-ball 90 to set the foundation in their adopted home base. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi added the finishing touches to the innings with a belligerent 34 off 15 deliveries.
Ireland began strongly in their reply with Paul Stirling and skipper William Porterfield contributing a rapid 53-run partnership for the second wicket. However, the signs became ominous when the opening batsman was castled by medium-pacer Karim Janat.
Out of nowhere, a thunderstorm took shape and slashed through the city. The facilities at the venue were quite modest. Only the all-important 22 yards, as well as the bowlers’ run-ups, could be protected from the downpour.
Despite the vast majority of the lush outfield taking on the brunt of nature’s fury, the ground-staff produced a minor miracle by ensuring a restart. Ireland’s target was revised to 111 runs from just 11 overs. Only 46 runs were further required from 29 deliveries with eight wickets in hand. Afghanistan needed an unforeseen spell to even make a match out of it.
However, the rain had provided something for Rashid to work with. Utilising the touch of moisture on the surface, the teenager proceeded to wreck Ireland’s batting lineup. In 12 balls of utter mayhem, he turned the game on its head. Kevin O'Brien and Gary Wilson played as if the leg-spinner was sending down hand grenades instead of googlies.
With the other bowlers keeping the pressure on, Rashid preyed on the hapless Irish batsmen and induced an array of almighty heaves. Enticed by the flight and loop, the batsmen could not resist.
Eventually, he finished with a five-for to prolong Afghanistan’s record run to 10 straight T20I wins. In fact, their win-loss record of 2.0 is comfortably the best in the format. Admittedly, they play a lot more games against weaker teams. Nevertheless, their achievement is certainly commendable.
As for Rashid, the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) awaits. In the auction, he was procured by Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping INR 4 Crores. This performance reiterates why the franchise splurged out the big money for the promising wrist-spinner.
Here’s a list featuring the fastest five-wicket hauls of all-time in international cricket. Pakistan’s yorker specialist Umar Gul hogs the second and third spots. Not surprisingly, all entries barring one are from T20Is. The sole exception came in a 1947 Test match when left-arm seamer Australia’s Ernie Toshack picked up five wickets from two-and-a-half eight-ball overs.
|Rashid Khan||Afghanistan||2.0||5||3||1.50||T20I||Ireland||Greater Noida||2017|
|Umar Gul||Pakistan||2.2||5||6||2.57||T20I||South Africa||Centurion||2013|
|Umar Gul||Pakistan||3.0||5||6||2.00||T20I||New Zealand||The Oval||2009|
|Ernie Toshack||Australia||2.3 (8-ball Overs)||5||2||0.63||Test||India||Brisbane||1947|
|Rangana Herath||Sri Lanka||3.3||5||3||0.85||T20I||New Zealand||Chittagong||2014|
|Darren Sammy||West Indies||3.5||5||26||6.78||T20I||Zimbabwe||Port of Spain||2010|
|Ryan McLaren||South Africa||3.5||5||19||4.95||T20I||West Indies||North Sound||2010|
|Imran Tahir||South Africa||3.5||5||24||6.26||T20I||New Zealand||Auckland||2017|
(*Note: The list covers only international cricket and all statistics are accurate as of 10th March 2017)