Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

From Afghanistan’s masterful spinner to the UAE’s economic captain: The Desert T20 best XI

DUBAI // The cream rose to the top in the first Desert T20 in the UAE, as Afghanistan and Ireland took up their usual places in the final of an event for leading non-Test nations. Theirs were not the only players to excel in the new competition, though. Paul Radley picks his best XI.

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1 Nizakat Khan (Hong Kong)

Typified Hong Kong’s inconsistency, but when he was good he was red hot. His brutal half-century against the Netherlands sent the Dutch into a tailspin, and briefly revived Hong Kong’s hopes.

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2 Mohammed Shahzad (Afghanistan)

His stays at the crease were more often a good time rather than a long time. There remain few better players to watch when on song than the chunky Afghan wicketkeeper.

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3 Paul Stirling (Ireland)

Found his touch in the final pool match against the UAE, then blitzed Scotland’s bowlers in the semi-final — much to the delight of the hundreds of Afghans who stayed on to watch.

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4 Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

Made a match-turning 60 in the opener against Hong Kong, then saw Scotland over the line against Oman to maintain their 100 per cent record in pool play.

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5 Richie Berrington (Scotland)

He made important runs as Scotland topped their group, but his value was not exclusively with the bat. He brought about two run outs in the win over the Netherlands that put them through.

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6 Gary Wilson (Ireland)

The wicketkeeper was the most reliable presence in the Ireland batting line-up. He reached another level in the semi-final against Scotland, with a career best 65 off 29 balls.

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7 Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

As good as unplayable for much of the competition, and sides were just happy to see him off. Pity the rest of the world that they do not get to see more of this masterful young legspinner.

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8 Amjad Javed (UAE)

The national team captain maintained an economy rate of 4.7 over the course of three group matches. Had he bowled his full quota against Afghanistan, the UAE might have made it through.

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9 Jacob Mulder (Ireland)

Leg spin is en vogue in T20 cricket, and the Desert T20 was no different. Rashid Khan was the stand out, but Ireland’s young wrist-spinner Mulder was the leading wicket-taker going into the final.

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10 Hamza Hotak (Afghanistan)

Well practiced in UAE conditions, the left-arm spinner has proved a canny practitioner with the new-ball. Despite bowling most of his overs in the power play overs, his economy rate was miserly.

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11 Bilal Khan (Oman)

The UAE is not know for being swing-bowler friendly, but Oman’s left-arm quick managed to make the ball hoop around at will. It meant he was a constant threat with the new ball.

Updated: January 20, 2017 04:00 AM

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