MELBOURNE: Afghanistan’s ace spinner Rashid Khan took three wickets for Adelaide Strikers in the opening game of the Big Bash League 2018-19, lifting his Twenty20 wickets tally to 92 in 2018 – the most in a calendar year.
Rashid, No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings for Bowlers, now has a good chance to become the first player ever to take 100 T20 wickets in a year.
The record for most 20-over wickets taken in a calendar year was previously held by Windies’ Dwayne Bravo, who had 87 wickets in 2016.
With Adelaide having three matches left this month, Rashid will be eyeing those eight wickets to complete a rare century and end the year on a high.
On Wednesday, 19 December, Adelaide, the defending champions, bowled out Brisbane Heat for 146, with Rashid their top wicket-taker. The spinner finished with economical figures of 3/19, while Billy Stanlake and Matthew Short picked up two wickets apiece.
Alex Carey then went on to score the first half-century of this year’s BBL, a quick 46-ball 70, to guide them to a five-wicket win, on a day that was marked by a special display of sportsmanship.
“He’s really smart,” Carey said of Rashid after the match. “He’s obviously got the skills, we all know that, but I think he’s got a lot between the ears. He knows how he’s going to get batters out – he analyses them pretty quickly out in the middle, he analyses the wicket, and he knows what’s going to be effective.
“He’s obviously got the talent and the freak skills, but the stuff he does behind the scenes … he gets in the gym after hours, he goes for extra runs, he bowls more balls than most guys I’ve seen.
“So the stuff he does on the field is amazing, but the stuff we see him doing off the field is a real credit to him.”