Mohammed Shahzad’s astonishing opening salvo in T10 League Season 2 showed that a batsman scoring a century in the format could be possible.
That is the view of Tom Moody, the coach whose Sindhis side were on the receiving end of the brutal assault by the Afghan batsman.
Shahzad struck an unbeaten 74 in 16 balls to set up a 10-wicket win for Rajputs, one the new teams in the expanded second campaign of the 10-over competition.
He and Brendon McCullum, who contributed 21 to the stand, hit 96 in four overs, meaning remarkably they had six of the 10 overs to spare when victory was sealed.
The 36 balls left unused matched the number of runs Shahzad was short of a century, suggesting it might have been on if the innings had run its full course.
Moody said he had not believed reaching three-figures would be possible for a batsman in such an abbreviated format, but Shahzad’s feats had altered his view.
“If you had asked me that question before tonight, I would have said ‘No, there is no chance’,” Moody said.
“This is my first experience of a T10 game. Looking at the wicket, looking at the size of the ground, looking at the striking by Shahzad, there is no reason a batsman couldn’t reach a hundred.
“It would be an extraordinary performance if someone did. I would be surprised if we saw an innings like that again in the next two weeks.
“I think we have been treated to something pretty special.”
Of the 16 balls Shahzad faced, half went for six, and another six went for four. It was the latest in a catalogue of eye-catching displays by him in the UAE so far this season.
He scored a century that was similarly one-sided when Afghanistan tied with India in the Asia Cup in Dubai, and was also sparkling in the Afghanistan Premier League that followed in Sharjah.
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Herschelle Gibbs, the former South Africa batsman who is now the Rajputs coach, was full of praise for his side’s match-winner.
“I haven’t seen such clean hitting for a long time,” Gibbs said. “His wrists went through the ball beautifully and, everything they tried, he had an answer to.
“It can happen in these sort of formats, but that was on another level of striking. There weren’t any slogs, it was just proper hitting.”
Shahzad’s display entirely overshadowed a fine start to the format by one of the league’s new Indian players. Munaf Patel took 3-20, as Rajputs restricted the Sindhis to 95-6 from their 10 overs.
Captain Shane Watson was the only Sindhis player to reach double figures. The Australian opener made 42 off 20 balls, but his side’s effort with the bat was never going to be enough.
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