Associate bowling nominees January 22, 2018

Can you read Rashid?

ESPNcricinfo staff
Most batsmen will answer no

Amir Hamza helped Afghanistan clinch a famous series win in Zimbabwe © Peter Della Penna

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Mohammad Nabi
4 for 10 v Ireland
Desert T20 Final, Dubai

Ireland had smoked Scotland in the semi-final by posting 211 for 6, their second-highest total in T20Is, which set the scene for the final, later that same day, in front of 15,000 fans. It would be former captain Nawroz Mangal's farewell match. Fresh off Ireland's performance a few hours earlier, the crowd expected a high-scoring affair. Nabi ripped that script apart with 3 for 9 in his opening two-over spell to leave Ireland reeling at 41 for 4 after the Powerplay. A quicker ball on his fifth delivery had a charging William Porterfield stumped. Paul Stirling began Nabi's second over by mistiming a flick to midwicket, and then Kevin O'Brien was beaten through the gate four balls later to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Nabi's fourth wicket wrapped up the Ireland innings for 71 in a ten-wicket romp.

Amir Hamza
3 for 20 v Zimbabwe
fifth ODI, Harare

Looking at Hamza's figures of 4-0-20-3, one might wonder what all the fuss is about. But after Zimbabwe secured wins in the third and fourth ODIs to take the series into a winner-takes-all decider, the pressure was on Afghanistan to defend a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 161 in 22 overs, a consequence of steady rain at the innings break following Afghanistan's total of 253 for 9. The chase lasted just 13.5 overs, thanks to Hamza's back-breaking spell. Bowling left-arm spin with the new ball, he struck in his second over to claim Solomon Mire edging behind. In the fifth, an uncontrolled slog accounted for Craig Ervine, and then Sean Williams was caught for a golden duck to leave Zimbabwe 13 for 4. Zimbabwe's eventual total of 54 was the lowest ever ODI score by a Full Member against an Associate.

Rashid Khan
5 for 3 v Ireland
second T20I, Greater Noida

Chasing a target of 185, Ireland were 65 for 2 in the seventh over when rain arrived with Ireland 12 runs ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis calculation. When play resumed, Ireland were set a revised target of 46 runs off the last 29 balls, and the odds remained stacked in their favour to break Afghanistan's nine-match T20I winning streak. With four overs to go, Rashid entered the attack, and by the end of his 12 whirlwind deliveries, he had spun Afghanistan toward an improbable win. The first domino fell off his third ball, when Kevin O'Brien missed a trademark Rashid googly. Gary Wilson was stumped misreading another googly two balls later. With two overs left, Afghanistan had nudged slightly ahead, as Ireland needed 29 off 12 balls with four wickets in hand. Rashid then reeled off a triple-wicket maiden, virtually sealing an incredible heist.

Rashid Khan was twice on a hat-trick during his seven-for against West Indies © AFP

Kevin O'Brien
4 for 26 v Afghanistan
fourth ODI, Greater Noida

O'Brien's brilliant all-round display - he later sealed Ireland's three-wicket win with a gutsy 72 not out off 60 balls while batting on one leg - was a testament to his competitiveness. Ireland's bowling unit had been wrecked by injury on tour and O'Brien was not immune, having missed the previous two matches after turning in figures of 3 for 47 in the series opener. With Boyd Rankin laid low by a back injury and Peter Chase also left out to beef up the batting, O'Brien was tasked with taking the new ball. He struck in each of his first three overs - accounting for Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah and Usman Ghani - with his medium-pace wobblers. He then returned at the death to snuff out an attempted revival by claiming the key wicket of Mohammad Nabi for 41.

Rashid Khan
7 for 18 v West Indies
first ODI, St Lucia

With West Indies 68 for 2 chasing a target of 213, captain Asghar Stanikzai stubbornly held Rashid back for the first 22 overs. Rashid then trampled through the middle order to record the fourth-best ODI figures ever. He struck with his first two deliveries: Jason Mohammed stabbing a legbreak to slip, and Roston Chase being undressed by a vicious googly. A one-two punch combo also accounted for Shai Hope and Jason Holder off consecutive balls in his next over, causing Fazeer Mohammed to quip on TV, "They might as well bat with the lights switched off because they don't have a clue what's going on." Ashley Nurse recoiled in frustration after succumbing to another googly for Rashid's fifth. Two more googlies, to Alzarri Joseph and Miguel Cummins, sealed a historic win for Afghanistan.

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