Karachi Kings lost 7 wickets for 26 when they tried to hit out on what was a sticky, slow wicket. If Babar Azam is struggling to time his cover drives, you know there is something awfully wrong with the wicket. It was throw back to 2012 WT20 semi-final, where host Sri Lanka initially took advantage of winning the toss against Pakistan and won the game on a tacky wicket. But in the final, losing the toss meant, they faced the same fate.
But something stood out in this game. The young Pakistani pace bowling duo of Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi, showed that the future of Pakistan’s bowling is in safe hands. We know all about Shaheen. He bowls at decent pace, swings the ball and is an intelligent operator.
Rauf, on the other hand is a new sensation. Lahore Qalandar’s PR machine has been singing his praise for months. He played in Australia, bowled in the nets to Virat Kohli, he was supposed to be the next big thing. But we all took it with a pinch of salt, because it’s the Qalandars and we have been hearing these stories since the inception of PSL.
But this time, Rauf does look like the real deal. His slight round arm action is throw back Pakistan pacemen who could ball reverse swinging missiles. To go with it is the required pace. Slowly, he inched closer to that magical mark of 150. Pakistan, for the past 4-5 years had that occasional burst from Wahab Riaz to whet their appetite.
It’s only been two T20s but the combination of pace accompanied with inward movement excites us like no other skill in cricket. Rauf, didn’t try the bouncer, didn’t show his slower one, but just focused on doing what he is good at, bowling Yorker at pace. It worked for him yesterday, and he had a 4 wicket haul to show for his efforts. A few more performances like this and a Pakistan call up wouldn’t be too far away.