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Last Updated : May 09, 2018 10:47 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

IPL 2018: Afghan bowlers Rashid and Mujeeb spinning web around batsmen

The two Afghan spinners have been on a roll in the ongoing IPL season, being the strike bowlers for their respective sides.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has remained a platform for talented players to take centre-stage. Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Sunil Narine, the Pandya brothers (Hardik and Krunal) have all come up through the ranks thanks to IPL.

There have been exceptional players from India, Australia, West Indies and South Africa who have owned the IPL in the previous seasons. But none may have thought that two teenage spinners from Afghanistan would rule the roost in 2018.

Sunrisers Hyderabad leg-spinner Rashid Khan and Kings XI Punjab off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman have owned IPL 2018 with some innovative bowling in T20 cricket. Not only are they genuine wicket-takers, they have quite economical too. Rashid has reached a stage of dominance where SRH’s bowling plans revolve around him. Oppositions are cautious when he's bowling and try not give away wickets easily.

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On the other hand, Mujeeb, who is just 17 years old, is extremely difficult to pick as he mixes off-spin with leg-spin and has a ripping googly. He is second on the list of bowlers with most wickets having scaled 14 wickets from 10 matches. Both the players are quick through the air and make it difficult for batsmen to read them off the pitch, resulting in late adjustments. They are relentless and always target the stumps making it hard for batsmen to get some movement.

Rashid has bowled 99 dot balls so far this season, which reason enough to prove why Hyderabad have been the best defending side in 2018. Mujeeb is not too far behind with 89 dot balls and an overall economy of just 6.69. Impressive, isn’t it? With 13 wickets from 10 matches, Rashid is the leading wicket-taker for SRH along with Siddarth Kaul who also has 13 scalps to his name.

In a match against Delhi Daredevils, Hyderabad bowled out DD for 87 to win by 31 runs. Rashid ended with impressive figures of 2/11. In their next game versus KXIP, SRH were defending just 133 and they still won by 13 runs. Rashid was the main contributor with figures of 3/19. In the 10 matches SRH have played so far, he has gone wicket-less only once.

Mujeeb has not taken a wicket in just two matches so far. But on those two occasions, he didn’t give away too many runs. His best figures of 3/27 came against Rajasthan Royals when he stifled RR batsmen as KXIP restricted them to a total of 155/4 which was chased by Punjab with 6 wickets and 8 balls to spare. In the match against Delhi, he dismissed danger man Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant at a crucial time to help KXIP defend a low total of 143.

Clearly, the two spinners have spun a web around batsmen in the IPL and there aren’t many answers to their mystery as of now. With IPL 2018 approaching the business end of the tournament and their sides almost certain to make it to the playoffs, the world will get to see more of these talented Afghan boys. And don't be surprised if one of them takes away the purple cap at the end of the tournament.

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First Published on May 9, 2018 10:47 pm
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