Afghanistan batsman Hazratullah Zazai broke into the top 10 ICC rankings for batsmen after a sensational series against Ireland in Dehradun, India.
Zazai jumped a staggering 31 places after his 162 off just 62 balls in the second T20 against Ireland. That innings included 11 fours and 16 sixes.
His innings helped Afghanistan post a world record total of 278-3 in their 20 overs – the highest ever score in a T20 International, beating the previous highest score of 263-3 by Australia against Sri Lanka in 2016.
Zazai rose to prominence during the Afghanistan Premier League last year when he became only the third batsman to hit six sixes in an over in a T20, batting for Kabul Zwanan against Balkh Legends in Sharjah.
The other T20 centurion to move up the rankings table was Australia’s Glenn Maxwell. The ‘Big Show’ rose two spots to third after his knocks of 56 and 113 not out in Australia’s series sweep in India.
Pakistan’s Babar Azam continued to be the top ranked T20 batsman in the world while Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan held on to his No1 ranking for bowlers.
Pakistan are the No1 T20 side with India at No2.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan picked up four wickets in as many balls after Mohammad Nabi cracked a 36-ball 81 as Afghanistan swept the T20 series against Ireland 3-0 with a 32-run win in Dehradun on Sunday.
Rashid finished with superb figures of 5-27 to restrict Ireland to 178-8 after ‘hosts’ Afghanistan had made 210-7 in the northern Indian city.
Nabi smashed six fours and seven sixes during his innings as Afghanistan crossed the 200-run mark again following their world record score of 278-3 in the previous match.
In the chase, Kevin O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie put on a 96-run stand for the second wicket but Rashid proved too difficult to negotiate.
The leggie got O’Brien caught behind for 74 off the final ball of the 16th over. Then in the 18th over of the innings, he got George Dockrell, Shane Getkate and Simi Singh on successive deliveries to register a double hat-trick.
The two teams will now play five ODIs starting Thursday and then clash in a one-off Test at the same venue. Dehradun is Afghanistan’s adopted home venue in India.
Afghanistan spin-bowling sensation Mujeeb Ur Rahman has signed up to play for county side Middlesex in their T20 campaign this season.
The 17-year-old has picked up 54 wickets in all formats since making his debut at the age of 16. He will be hoping to have the same impact as compatriot Rashid Khan at Sussex last year.
Rahman has enjoyed a successful Big Bash campaign with Brisbane Heat, picking up 12 wickets including best figures of 3-16.
“Middlesex Cricket is today delighted to announce the signing of Mujeeb Ur Rahman for this season’s Blast campaign,” the county said in a statement.
“The 17-year-old spinner becomes head coach Stuart Law’s first signing of the summer and will be available for the entire Blast campaign. He will join up with the Middlesex squad in early July to prepare for the tournament ahead.”
Law said Rahman adds mystery to the attack.
“It is with great pleasure to say that Mujeeb has agreed to play for Middlesex in the Blast,” said Law. “His unique style of spin has proven to be difficult to play against and his record is outstanding in this format.”