Eden Gardens on Friday night was all about the heroics of one man who almost single-handedly snatched the IPL eliminator from the home team. Such was the impact of Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan on the match that his country's president hailed him as a hero and - on a lighter note - refused to ever give him away.
Rashid Khan’s all-round heroics paved the way for Sunrisers Hyderabad to book a spot in the Indian Premier League 2018 final where they’ll take on Chennai Super Kings.
Hyderabad reached the final of the T20 league against Chennai, as they beat Kolkata after a fantastic individual effort from Rashid Khan. Kolkata managed 161/9. Lynn scored 48 while Narine and Rana scored 26 and 22. Karthik and Uthappa disappointed with 8 and 2. Even Russell just managed 3, while Gill's 30 wasn't enough. Rashid Khan took 3 wickets for Hyderabad.
Rashid Khan was the difference between both the teams. Kolkata Knight Riders would be ruing the missed chances as they had SRH on the mat in the first innings before Rashid went on a rampage with the bat, hitting a 10-ball 35 to take the Sunrisers total to 174.
Though KKR were right on course in the chase, the Afghanistan bowler broke the backbone of Kolkata's batting with his incisive bowling. Shakib Al Hasan and Siddarth Kaul also chipped in with important wickets. A complete all-around effort from Kane Williamson and co to enter the final of the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League.
After the match, Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani took pride in Rashid's performance as he called him an asset to the cricketing world and said that he reminds people about what is best about their nation. He also tweeted to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, joking that they will not give the young spinner away. View the tweet here:
Afghans take absolute pride in our hero, Rashid Khan. I am also thankful to our Indian friends for giving our players a platform to show their skills. Rashid reminds us whats best about Afg. He remains an asset to the cricketing world. No we are not giving him away. @narendramodi— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) May 25, 2018
Rashid too, showed his love for his nation after the match, dedicating his Man of the Match award to the victims of a horrific bomb blast back home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. "I want to dedicate this award to those who lost their lives in a blast during a cricket game in my hometown back home," he said.