Sharjah: Leg-spinner Shadab Khan fancies himself to be a batsman. Although he shot into the Pakistan cricketing circles in 2016-17 as a prodigious spinner, he could always bat a bit. That was in evidence in the Pakistan Super League games. Even when his wicket-taking skills waned for a while, Shadab is said to have worked at his batting. The result is a genuine all-rounder in white-ball cricket.
The Super 4 game against Afghanistan in the DP World Asia Cup allowed Shadab to showcase his allround skills. He pinned the batters with his blend of leg-breaks and googlies to return figures of 1/27 as the Afghans struggled to 129/6.
Chasing small targets are always fraught with danger. Pakistan found that out as they ran into trouble, losing two wickets in the powerplay. Shadab joined Iftikhar Ahmed when the third wicket went down.
It sure was a high-pressure situation. Shadab defused it in the only way he knew. The all-rounder struck Afghan captain Mohammad Nabi and off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for massive sixes as the batsmen added 43 for the fourth wicket.
His dismissal after a 26-ball 36 sparked a collapse, which took the match to the wire, with six wickets falling in 22 balls. But Naseem Shah struck two sixes to give Pakistan a heart-stopping win
Shadab couldn’t contain his delight at the post-match press conference. “You should see the vibes in the dressing room. It was unbelievable. Our bowlers also have the skills to finish games with the bat,” he gushed.
But Shadab was quick to add that he should have finished the match. “I played a rash shot, but I should’ve finished it since I was set. If I hadn’t been out, the game would’ve finished much earlier,” he said, adding that he would try to avoid the mistake the next time around. “It’s always difficult for a new batsman.”
Shadab has been having a good tournament. “You know spinners do well here in Sharjah, so as a bowling unit, we wanted to keep it tight,” he told Star Sports, attributing Pakistan’s preparation to the Pakistan Super League and the series at home. “Playing in UAE helps us. We have that advantage.”