Najibullah Zadran catapulted Afghanistan to victory against Bangladesh in an Asia Cup encounter with a 17-ball knock comprising six sixes, breaking multiple world records in the process. The batter now has the most sixes in death overs overall as well as during run chases in T20I history.
Najibullah Zadran took no prisoners on Tuesday in Sharjah, as he guided Afghanistan to a stunning seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh thus ensuring a perfect record in the Asia Cup group stages. After the bowlers had restricted the Tigers to a paltry 127, the Afghan batters were pretty slow out of the gates albeit they kept their wickets in hand. When Zadran walked in at number five, 66 runs were still required in the last seven overs at a rate of more than nine runs an over.
However, the 29-year-old made light work of the chase, racing to 43 off just 17 deliveries and securing victory with a six on the third ball of the penultimate over. His cameo was laced with six huge sixes, as he punished all of Mustafizur Rahman, Mossadek Hussain and Mohamamd Saiffudin. On a tricky batting surface, Zadran made clearing the boundary look easy and was rewarded with two world records to his name in T20Is.
"The wicket was a bit low so I tried to play straight. I took a few balls and played my natural game then after that. I don't look at the boundary. I just look at the bowler and look to hit," Najibullah was quoted saying by Hindustan Times after his match-winning knock.
His tally of six maximums took his haul in the death overs during run chases in T20Is to 18, thus surpassing Eoin Morgan and Thisara Perera's mark of 17. Zadran now also has 53 sixes across both innings in the death overs while representing Afghanistan in the game's shortest format, thus becoming the first-ever cricketer to record a half-century in this particular statistic. Next in line is David Miller at 47 sixes, who was at par with the left-handed batsmen before he came up with fireworks in the final group stage game.
Zadran's heroism has made Afghanistan the first team to qualify for the Super Fours stage of the tournament which is scheduled to begin from September 3.