Haris Rauf, interestingly, made a name for himself in the 2019/20 Big Bash League by disturbing the timber regularly but on Sunday in the PSL, he registered his most special scalp yet. Rauf castled Afridi with a perfect inswinging yorker and then pulled out quite a cheeky ‘apology’ to the veteran.
It is one thing to burst onto a big stage out of nowhere, it is completely another to take world cricket by storm in a matter of months. Pakistan’s Haris Rauf, in 2020, has done just that.
However, despite adding feather after feather to his cap, that one big moment of fame evaded the right-arm quick - until yesterday. On Sunday in Eliminator 2 of PSL 2020, Rauf produced a moment and a delivery for the ages that he, the fans and the batsman, Afridi, will not forget for a long time to come.
Tasked with defending 183, Lahore Qalandars skipper Sohail Akthar, realizing the need to go for the kill with Multan Sultans 116/4, threw the ball to his go-to man Haris Rauf. Sultans had already lost two wickets in their previous two overs and Rauf added to their misery by striking on the fourth ball of the over, sending Rilee Rossouw packing, albeit luckily through a rank full toss. However, there was no luck involved in what Rauf did on the very next ball.
With the Sultans reeling at 116/5, in walked danger-man Shahid Afridi with his side needing 67 off just over 6 overs. It is not uncommon for bowlers to look to slide in dots against new batsmen, but Rauf had none of that - he smelt blood. As Afridi took guard, Rauf steamed in and delivered the most lethal and vicious inswinging yorker imaginable. Clocked at over 145 clicks, the 27-year-old let slip a brute that tailed in sharp and late, at pace, and so quick and devastating was the delivery that it clattered Afridi’s stumps before he could get his bat down on time to dig the yorker out.
Completely bamboozled by the peach, Afridi looked back at his stumps in disbelief, trying to fathom what had just happened. The veteran let out a sigh of disappointment, almost acknowledging Rauf’s brilliance, but it wasn’t his reaction that captured the imagination. Rauf bowled a great delivery, but he came up with an even better celebration as he folded his hands and apologised to ‘Lala’ for dismissing him for a golden duck.
That was literally the death knell for the Sultans, as they eventually slumped to a 25-run defeat to get knocked out of PSL 2020.