Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan
Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan cuts against Sri Lanka during the Super 4 game of the DP World Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE on September 3, 2022. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Rahmanullah Gurbaz is a young man in a hurry. The Afghan opener doesn’t take too many deliveries to settle down. Maybe, it’s the impatience of youth. Gurbaz, 20, wants to score runs and score quickly. That is what he does, irrespective of the format of cricket.

His aggression is best suited for T20 games, which is why he has revelled in the shortest format. Since September 2019, Gurbaz has been among the 65 players who have scored over 1,500 runs with a strike rate of 153.05, which is the eighth-highest among world cricketers. Gurbaz struck a 24-ball 43 on his T20I debut, and on his ODI debut, he made a run-a-ball 127.

There’s nothing delicate about his strokes. All of them are muscled with such force that they easily cleared the fence. The sledgehammer shots were in full display during the assault on the Sri Lankan bowlers in the Super 4 game in the DP World Asia Cup on Saturday (September 3). But that was not enough as Kusal Mendis, Dhanuskha Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa fired the islanders to a four-wicket win.

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The shorter boundaries at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium give batters plenty of confidence to try aerial shots. But Gurbaz didn’t need that assurance since most of his sixes cleared the ropes by several metres. He did have a massive slice of luck when he mistimed a shot against off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana, but Gunathilaka stepped on the boundary skirting while taking the catch.

After that, there was no stopping Gurbaz. His 54-ball 84 is the highest score in the tournament. And more are likely to come.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi was full of praise for Gurbaz. “He is one of our young players, who is doing us a lot good in our batting. And we are very happy with Gurbaz.”