2 minute read
Everyone remembers the big over when a T20 batter lays into a bowler and the boundaries flow like overpriced beer in a cricket ground. What’s less obvious, but arguably more influential, is when an innings goes clanking off the rails with a trickle of downbeat gropes at thin air. Adil Rashid should be forever remembered for the mad, mad wicket maiden he bowled today.
It was a bit like when the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive malfunctions. As a viewer, you were primed for one particular type of excitement, only to be served up a very different flavour of dramatic moment.
“Watch this,” said Pakistan.
And then almost immediately: “I think we’re in trouble.”
After England beat India in the semi final, we restated our position that Adil Rashid is still England’s best limited overs player. We’re not exactly impartial on this, having been overenthusiastically talking him up since 2006 – but we do think we have a case. The opening batters, Alex Hales and Jos Buttler, are of course hugely influential, but they’re not irreplaceable in the same way that Rashid is. You can tell this because it wasn’t so long ago that England’s openers were equally hugely influential… but called Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.
Rashid was already having a good day when he came on to bowl his third over against Pakistan. He’d taken a wicket with his first ball of the day, after all – which is always handy. But this was a bit different.
Pakistan were 84-2, there were nine overs to go and they’d just taken things up a notch with 16 runs off a Liam Livingstone over.
Rashid promptly dismissed Babar Azam caught and bowled with his first delivery and then spent the next five balls watching Iftikhar Ahmed play uncertain prods, most of which absolutely middled patches of complete thin air several inches to the side of the ball.
One wicket, zero runs, at a point in the game when Pakistan really needed to accelerate and had very much looked like doing so.
We felt pretty sick with nerves for much of England’s run chase and we can see why Ben Stokes’ name will again be in all the headlines. At the same time, we’ll never forget Adil Rashid’s wicket maiden. It was truly one of the great, spoilsport, stick-in-the-spokes interventions.
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