After Rashid Khan, Afghanistan has unearthed yet another spinner in the form of Mujeeb Zadran, and the teenage sensation did not take long to make his mark in the international cricket.
Playing his first One-Day International, the 16-year old, who is the first player born in the 21st century to play in international cricket, finished with a stunning figure of 7-2-12-4, as Afghanistan dismantled Ireland by 138 runs in the first game in the United Arabia Emirates.
Also Read: (Mohammad Nabi Lauds Afghanistan Colts After Historic Win in Under-19 Asia Cup)Afghanistan routed Ireland by 138 runs (Credits: ESPNcricinfo)
The unorthodox right-arm spinner began destroying Ireland in only his second over when he had the dangerous Paul Sterling trapped in front of the wicket. In his following over, he castled Andy Balbirnie.
Gary Wilson tried to survive by relying on sweep shot, but in doing so, he went too far across the crease and got bowled behind his legs. Kevin O’Brien also suffered a similar fate after he his decision to play a ambitious shot backfired and his stumps were left shattered.Rashid Khan also picked up three wickets (Credits: AFP)
His second spell did not yield him any more dismissals, but he gave the Irish players a lot to worry about, as they did not look comfortable against him throughout the game, as the teenager narrowly missed a fifer on his debut. However, it was enough for him to bag the Man of the Match Award.
Mujeeb’s senior teammate Rashid Khan also made an impact, taking three for 28, as Ireland were all out for a paltry 100 in pursuit of a modest 239. Earlier in the game, Boyd Rankin’s four for 44 had helped Ireland to restrict Afghanistan to 238 for nine. Tim Murtagh made the early breakthrough by dismissing Javed Ahmadi for just ten before Rankin brought in as the first change and jolted Afghanistan by sending back Ihsanullah Janat cheaply to leave the hosts reeling at 22 for two.Boyd Rankin took 4 for 44 (Credits: ESPNcricinfo)
Rahmat Shah (50) and Nasir Jamal (53) then steadied the ship with a dodgy 105-run stand before Murtagh broke the stand by dismissing the latter. Rankin then had Rahmat before Mohammad Nabi was run-out for a duck.
Captain Asghar Stanikzai also returned to the hut cheaply, leaving his team reeling at 132 for six but contributions from the lower-order batsmen helped Afghanistan to put up a respectable total which turned out to be more than enough in the end.