Hassan Khan, the 20-year-old Punjabi Legends spinner who wrecked Kerala Knights. Image Credit: Punjabi Legends

Sharjah: From the start of the second edition of the T10 League it has been only renowned international stars of the shorter formats that hogged the limelight. On the sixth day of the event, an unknown 20-year-old left-arm spinner, Hassan Khan, stole the thunder with an inspired four-wicket spell to bowl defending champions Kerala Knights out for a paltry 71, the lowest score in the history of the event. His spell of four wickets for 21 runs gave Punjabi Legends, who could post only 107-5 in 10 overs, an impressive 36-run victory.

No one thought that Kerala, who have one of the strongest batting line-ups would crash to such a small total. Speaking about his spell, Hassan said: “It was a must-win game for my team and so helping my team to win has made me so happy. I played my role well and won the man of the match and I am so happy over it.”

Hassan, who hails from Pakistan’s Karachi, has only played in five first-class matches in his career but has sparkled in Under-19 cricket.

In his first over, he clean bowled Kerala skipper Eoin Morgan with the first ball but his third, fourth and fifth ball were hit for huge sixes by Chris Gayle. Yet, Punjabi captain Luke Ronchi gave him another over and in that he dismissed Upul Tharanga, Wayne Parnell and Fabian Allen to push Kerala to 57-6 in 6 overs.

Very few remember that in March this year, during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Hassan representing Quetta Gladiators against Multan Sultans had won the match through his batting. Needing 13 runs off the last over he hit the fifth ball from Kieron Pollard for a six and won the match for Quetta. His greatest moment was when Quetta’s team mentor Sir Viv Richards rushed to field and hugged him. It was Hassan’s birthday gift to Richards as it happened on the legend’s birthday.

With the exception of Gayle who hit 35 runs, none of the Kerala batsmen even reached double figures and former Indian pacer Praveen Kumar also chipped in with three wickets for 21 runs.

Hassan revealed how Ronchi gave him the confidence after Gayle’s three might sixes. “My strong comeback in the second over was possible due to my captain who believed in me,” he said. “So I bowled with a confident heart and came back to take wickets. The confidence and belief in my ability is what helped me produce such a comeback. I want to continue performing like this in the coming matches too,” said Hassan, who admitted that T10 is tough for bowlers.

“It is tough for bowlers, and the Sharjah ground is also small, but if one can believe in your abilities and deliver then you can produced good balls and take wickets. I will try and perform in coming matches too in this manner, not only for Punjabi Legends but also for any other team and in the process take my career forward,” said Hassan.

Brief scores:

Punjabi Legends bt Kerala Knights by 36 runs. Punjabi Legends 107 for 5 in 10 overs (Umar Akmal 30, Chris Jordan 24n.o, Mohammad Naveed 2 for 25) Kerala Knights 71 in 8.2 overs (Chris Gayle 35, Praveen Kumar 3 for 21, Hassan Khan 4 for 21) Man of the match: Hassan Khan.