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Shahzad smashes 16-ball 74* in glitzy T10 start

Mohammad Shahzad scored a 16-ball 74 

"Feeling tired? Low on energy? In need of a boost?"

We've all heard the adverts. In fact, there were probably hundreds of them as coatings of dot balls and most energetic player at last year's T10 League.They usually come with a handy little vitamin solution with the promise of added vigour and perk.

But there is a remedy you ignore at your peril. One so smack-you-round-the-gob invigorating, it can wake a few thousand drowsy cricket fans from their slumber in, give or take, 30 minutes.

This is, of course, the outrageously addictive product from Afghanistan; Mohammad Shahzad.

Still doubtful? There are ringing celebrity endorsements from the likes of coaches Herschelle Gibbs and Tom Moody that can further sway you.

"Unheard of. I haven't seen such clean hitting in a long time," Gibbs said. "Everything they tried he had an answer to. That was on another level of striking."

"We saw something pretty unique and special tonight and you have to take a step back and admire a performance like that," added Moody on the cure he described as "something out of the ordinary".

"I'd be surprised if we saw an innings like that again in the next couple of weeks. I think tonight we've been treated to something special."

Shahzad entered things on the back of a lethargic start to T10's second season, ready to write prescriptions for all and sundry with a cocktail of sixes over cover, rasping cuts through point, bludgeons over mid-wicket and those - most powerful-of-all - launches over long-on.

His 74 off just 16 balls included eight sixes and six fours. This innings should have come with a warning over dosages.

Just let it sink in a minute, 74 off a mere 16 balls.

He scored at a strike-rate of 462.50 and had he been up against a more challenging total would surely have blistered a first T10 ton. Chris Gayle's record-fastest T20 century of 30 balls was well within sight, the extra ball to surpass AB de Villiers' ODI record of 31 balls would have almost certainly given him a six-run buffer.

There wasn't a single dot ball, it was the fastest T10 half-century, the format's highest score and the most sixes in a single innings. Shahzad breathed life into the opening night of the new T10 League season with an audience desperately in need of vitality. It had just borne witness to a sluggish start to the tournament that undermines the very essence of T10's modus operandi.

There was lethargy early on, a small crowd taking in proceedings but far from engaged and in need of a pickup. Shahzad well and truly delivered the lift, encapsulating everything T10 aims to be as he blasted a whirlwind knock that peppered the boundary. His innings was just what the doctor ordered as a sleepy Sharjah were invigorated by the Shahzad tonic; inspiring Rajputs into chasing down Sindhi's total of 94 in just four overs and all ten wickets intact.

It was with such majesty that Shahzad dispatched the bowling attack that captain Brendon McCullum was reduced to the role of junior doctor, with a knock of 21 off eight balls. His knock was something to savour, to bottle up and take in small doses at risk of sending your body into a spasm.

The dizzying side effects resulted in far greater rapture in the stands for the second game, with the likes of Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi on hand to maintain the buzz as Pakhtoons set Kerala Knights 110 to win from their ten overs.

And Shahzad is not the only chemist on the circuit, there are two fine alternatives in the form of Paul Sterling (40 off 14 balls) and Eoin Morgan (46* off 20). After Gayle departed, they kept the party going with some potent medication of their own as Kerala Knights got their title defence up and running with an eight-wicket win.

But it was Shahzad who stole the show on a night two sets of bowlers were left feeling dizzy. The onus is now on them to discover an antidote.