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DATE PUBLISHED: 2018/3/26 - 03:24:31
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The Rapid Rise Of Mujeeb Zadran
The Rapid Rise Of Mujeeb Zadran

Afghanistanís mystery spinner further enhanced his growing reputation at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, especially on Sunday in the trophy match against West Indies when he finished with 4/43 from 9.5 overs.

Mujeeb doesnít turn 17 until 28 March but he is quickly developing into one of the most exciting young cricketers in the world, the ICC reported.

The teenage spin wizardís haul of 4/43 against West Indies in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier final – as Afghanistan put the cherry on top of their qualification for the main event next year with a seven-wicket victory in Harare – was the latest in a string of superb performances.

He claimed 17 wickets in total in the tournament – the joint-highest tally alongside Scotlandís Safyaan Sharif – with a miserly economy rate of just 3.58.

Given that Mujeeb only played his first professional game of cricket seven months ago, his rise has been stratospheric.

He made his ODI debut against Ireland last November, taking four wickets, and then went on to star at the U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, claiming six scalps as Afghanistan reached the semi-finals and earning senior selection for the ODI series against Zimbabwe in February.

He continued to produce attention-grabbing performances, picking up 12 wickets in a comprehensive win over Zimbabwe and becoming the youngest ever bowler to take an ODI five-for, surpassing Waqar Younisí previous record.

Throw an IPL contract into the mix – Mujeeb was snapped up at the 2018 auction for $630,000 USD by Kings XI Punjab – and it has been an extraordinary few months in the life of this exciting young talent. 

With his potent mix of off-spinners, leg-spinners and googlies, Mujeeb continued to tie batsmen in knots at the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe and played a pivotal role in helping Afghanistan recover from a terrible start to claim their place at the main event.

Taking the new ball throughout the competition, he filled the dual role of container and wicket-taker, restricting batsmen in the Powerplay, while also regularly making early inroads.

Even as Afghanistan faltered, opening the tournament with losses to Scotland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong, Mujeeb still impressed, taking eight wickets across the three matches.

In a must-win fixture against Nepal, he conceded just 24 runs from his 10 overs, helping restrict their opponents to a target they chased comfortably to get their campaign back on track, before then returning figures of 3/33 in a game-changing Super Sixes victory over West Indies, including a fizzing googly to dismiss the dangerous Chris Gayle for 1.

He was parsimonious against UAE and Ireland, with figures of 1/26 and 0/31 respectively, and then rounded off his tournament with that four-wicket haul in the final against Windies, again dismissing Gayle for a low score.

It capped a wonderful tournament for Mujeeb, who must now be regarded as one of international cricketís hottest properties. Alongside Rashid Khan – who became the fastest ever bowler to 100 ODI wickets during the victory over Windies – Afghanistan have a spin combination to rival any in the world.

 

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