T20 Blast: Scintillating Shaheen Afridi takes four wickets in four balls in magical spell
Pakistan left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi created history in T20 cricket by taking 6 wickets, all bowled, for 19 runs in a T20 Blast match for Hampshire against Middlesex on Sunday evening in Southampton.
Afridi became the first bowler in 20-over cricket, a format that has seen over 9000 games, to bowl out 6 batsmen in an innings. Prior to him, the record was jointly held by Rubel Hossain and Hasan Ali, who had bowled 5 batsmen in an innings.
“It’s a great feeling to have this record,” Shaheen told Cricingif in an exclusive chat from Southampton.
“Yorker is my favourite delivery and the wickets I enjoy most are those I get by hitting stumps.”
Another remarkable aspect of the spell was that he took the last four wickets off four balls. He dismissed John Simpson, Steven Finn, Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh on the bounce. In doing so, he came the first Pakistani bowler to dismiss four batsmen off successive balls in T20 cricket.
“I wanted to bowl as many dots as possible. In that process, I got wickets. When I got three wickets in three balls, I wanted to target stumps on the fourth ball too. I am happy and feeling great to have this success,” the 20-year-old said.
“In the previous six games, I had taken only one wicket so I wanted to finish on a high note.”
Shaheen's bowling heroics finally brought an end to a dry spell for Hampshire since he had picked up just a solitary wicket in his previous six appearances for the club. Earlier this summer, the young speedster had played an important role in Pakistan's series-levelling victory in the third T20I against England at Old Trafford.
Shaheen's six-fer marks the second instance that he has taken five or more wickets in an innings across his 52-match T20 career. He boasts figures of five wickets for four runs in 3.4 overs for Lahore Qalandars against Multan Sultans in 2018, months before his international debut.
Although Shaheen’s astonishing spell helped Hampshire defend a total of 141 and win their last match by 20 runs, the Southampton-based county won’t be playing in the finals as they finished last in the South Group.
Shaheen now has 24 wickets 21 T20s this year. Only two fast bowlers have taken more wickets in the year 2020 – Chris Jordan (28) and Mohammad Amir (25).
Six for 19 by Shaheen are the joint-third best figures by a Pakistani in T20s along with Faheem Ashraf’s 6-19 for Islamabad United against Lahore Qalandars in Karachi in 2019.
This is the second time this year that a bowler from Pakistan has taken 6 wickets in a T20 match. Earlier this year, while playing for Khulna Tigers, Amir also grabbed a 6-wicket haul for 17 runs, the second-best analysis by a Pakistani.
The best bowling figures by a Pakistani belongs to by Sohail Tanvir, who dismissed six batsmen for 14 runs for Rajasthan Royals in IPL’s maiden edition in 2008.
Shaheen’s next assignment will now be the National T20 Cup in Pakistan where he is part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s squad. His return to form is also a good sign for Pakistan, who are scheduled to host Zimbabwe for three ODIs and as many T20Is in October and November.