Afghanistan v Zimbabwe, 2nd T20I, Sharjah January 10, 2016

The luck of the wide and Shahzad's pose

Plays of the day from the second T20I between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in Sharjah

Mohammad Shahzad struck eight sixes, one of which he did not even see © Chris Whiteoak

The ignored strike

Most batsmen love following the trajectory of their sixes, especially if they hit the roof of a stand. Mohammad Shahzad, though, is not like most batsmen. He danced down the track to flick a legbreak from Graeme Cremer with such immense muscular strength, that it bounced on the roof of the midwicket stand before leaving the ground. Even as the eyes of the thronged Sharjah crowd followed the ball, Shahzad stared down at the pitch, held his pose and then punched gloves with his partner, ignorant of his feat.

The big wide

Amid despair and agony from Shahzad's belligerence, Zimbabwe were given temporary relief by Umpire C Shamshuddin's generosity. Luke Jongwe pulled out an ill-directed legcutter from the back of his hand. So far outside off it went, that it almost did not land on the pitch. Somehow it landed on the square and beat Shahzad's feigned cut by quite a distance. Shamshuddin, though, remained unmoved. Shahzad stretched his arms out in disagreement at the call, indicating that the ball was out of even his reach.

Another reprieve

Shahzad's blitz was not without flaw. In the aim of going for one more of his many heaves, he top-edged a delivery from Chamu Chibhabha straight up, towards the end of the innings. Wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami got under the skier but hardly got a glove on it. Four balls later, a tiring Shahzad was called through for a tight run by Mohammad Nabi. Shahzad laboured his way to the striker's end, but couldn't quite get there in time. The throw was swift and the bails were removed to find Shahzad a few inches short. As luck would have it, the third umpire was not called in to play.

The big-enough wide

The beginning of the 19th over of Afghanistan's innings was fraught with fault and failed execution. Donald Tiripano, playing his second T20I, persisted with a full line outside off. He missed his line badly, though. Wide, wide and wide. He went there again on the fifth ball, still the second legitimate ball of the over, and it was wider than a few that preceded it. Umpire Vineet Kulkarni, this time, let it go. What should have ended up as another opportunity for Shahzad to lay into the bowling, resulted in frustration and anger.

Over the top

Not much went for Zimbabwe in the second T20I, but Peter Moor enjoyed some luck on the second ball off his innings. Nabi got one to turn sharply to hit Moor on the thigh pad after he missed his flick. The ball pinged off his pads, lobbed up and hit him on the top of the helmet before setting course for the leg stump. The ball evaded it though, and the bails refused to budge after the ball was deflected on the base of leg stump by Shahzad.

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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