Rashid Khan vs Babar Azam: Best match of the tournament so far

Rashid Khan vs Babar Azam proved the best match-up of the tournament so far. The wizard Khan held the upper hand throughout, even saw his man being dropped and reprieved by the DRS but got him off the final ball of his spell.

His second ball to Babar was a sharp googly that the batsman was rapped on the pad. The umpire gave it out but DRS saved Babar. The next ball was another googly, the first of the second over, yet again rapped the pads but it was sliding down leg. Babar went for the slog sweep next ball but dragged it off the inner edge. Both the batsman and the bowler had a chat and a smile. Rashid’s next ball to Babar was a beauty; it broke away so sharply from Babar who was stunned and poked it off the outer edge just wide of the slip. The next ball was a lot slower and Babar mistimed the drive. As he walked away at the end of his second over, Khan shut his eyes, hung his head, and grimaced.

After a lengthy discussion, Afghanistan decided to give Khan the 17th over. Shoaib Malik walloped a leg break for a six and charged down the track. Undeterred, Khan kept at it and nearly had Babar on the fourth ball with a crafty leg break but Naveen clanged a relatively simple chance running in from backward point.

Then Babar did something very strange, and uncharacteristic. It was the last ball of the over, the last ball of Rashid’s spell, but he went for a big heave-ho. Was it the ego to prove a point? Was it the urge to break Afghanistan’s spirits? Whatever it was, it was decidedly unwise. This time, Rashid went for the googly, and a tad slower at it, and Babar was through with his slog-sweep and was bowled. Off ran Rashid on a celebratory run – he had troubled Babar nearly every ball and got his man in the end.

By William Regal

Used to think I was a tad indecisive, but now I’m not quite sure.

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