Rashid Khan makes his mark for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017 opener | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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Rashid Khan makes his mark for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017 opener

Rashid Khan, on his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut, struck twice as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 35 runs in the opening game of the 2017 edition.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 06, 2017 01:00 IST
Khurram Habib
Rashid Khan finished with the figures of 2/36 as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 35 runs in the opening game of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Rashid Khan finished with the figures of 2/36 as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 35 runs in the opening game of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). (BCCI)

Rashid Khan marked his debut with two crucial wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday night, becoming the first player from Afghanistan to play in the cash-rich league. With figures of 2/36 in four overs, the wickets of Mandeep Singh in his very first over and Travis Head later in the second spell made the debut extremely special.

(Read| IPL 2017: SRH beat RCB by 35 runs in tournament opener)

Rashid was bought in the 2017 IPL auction for a massive Rs 4 crore as Sunrisers Hyderabad were looking for a leg-spinner who could make an impact. In T20 cricket, leggies have become very important as has been showcased with the performances of Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra, Adam Zampa and most recently Shadab Khan.

Rashid Khan, who hails from the terror-affected Nangarhar province of east Afghanistan, spoke to the media on Monday, recalling the day of the auction.

“I was in Harare and was very nervous at that time. I thought if someone like Imran Tahir is not being picked be picked then I don’t stand a chance. But I did not expect to get such a huge amount,” said Rashid, who is the star in his family of seven brothers and four sisters. But the party at home is yet to happen as Afghanistan’s cricket commitments haven’t allowed him to go home from the past 3-4 months.

In the mould of Shahid Afridi, who he idolizes, the Afghan leggie too bowls fast but he is said to possess a decent googly, something the Pakistani lacks. There is another similarity with Afridi – his celebration of a wicket. Arms stretched, fingers pointing upwards and chest pumped.

It was his speed that surprised Mandeep Singh who played a delivery onto his stumps. In the second spell, he got Head caught by Yuvraj Singh in the deep.

“I got inspired seeing Afghanistan play the 2015 World Cup,” said the leggie who was brought up playing on the streets of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. “We had no facilities there. Although, now they’ve improved.”

Rating his recent eight-wicket haul against Ireland at Greater Noida as his best performance, he said the spell helped his team qualify to the next level.