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T20 World Cup 2021: Prince Of Spin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan’s Rising Star

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Rashid Khan remains Afghanistan’s original spin king, but Mujeeb ur Rahman has emerged from his shadow as a rising star to make an immediate impact in the Twenty20 World Cup. The 20-year-old with his mysterious spin on Monday forced the opposition batsmen to return best figures of 5-20 against Afghanistan’s 130-run stand against Scotland in Sharjah. Mujeeb bowled spin, leg spin and googlies alike and picked up 30 wickets in 20 matches in the shortest format since his debut as a 16-year-old in February 2018.

Mujeeb, who played his first match in the T20 World Cup, told his countrymen, “Congratulations to our country and this is my first player in the World Cup.”

“The people who supported us here gave me a lot of positive energy. The fans are supporting us and that’s one of the reasons we played well,” he said.

Afghanistan cricket has overcome tough odds, including the prospect of being banned from the tournament if the women’s game is called off by the Taliban.

Although the players have set aside the turmoil to focus on the T20 World Cup, skipper Mohammad Nabi said that we are well prepared.

Hailing from a simple family in the war-torn town of Khost, Mujeeb shattered Scotland’s top and middle order, taking three wickets in his first over, which included two consecutive deliveries.

– ‘Magician’ –

By the time senior spinner Rashid came into the attack in the seventh over of Scotland’s chase, Mujeeb’s heroism – 4-14 in three overs – had already reduced the Scots to 37-5.

He bowled three googlies to send Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, Callum McLeod and Richie Berrington back to the pavilion – a leg-spinner who pitches and spins the right-hander.

Rashid took four wickets as the spin duo got nine between them and Nabi said, “The world knows we have some good spinners in Rashid and Mujeeb.”

Former Afghanistan coach Andy Moles had termed Mujeeb the “complete package” and the youngster justified the praise with his stellar performance in the Under-19 stage.

Mujeeb claimed five wickets in Afghanistan’s historic victory in the Under-19 Asia Cup where they defeated Pakistan in the final.

He finished the tournament with 20 wickets in five matches.

Mujeeb got his big break in the lucrative Indian Premier League when Kings XI Punjab – now Punjab Kings – bought him for $630,000 in the 2018 edition.

He played Afghanistan’s first Test match against India in June 2018. This match was also his first-class debut.

In the same year, Hampshire signed Mujeeb for the T20 Blast along with New Zealand’s Colin Munro.

A Hampshire teammate said, “Mujib, he’s a magician. He has all the tricks in the business. Very remarkable young lad. He has every ball.”

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Mujeeb recently played for Northern Superchargers in the Hundred.

Mujeeb once said that India captain Virat Kohli “was his biggest wicket”, but with the start of his career, Afghanistan will expect many more memorable wickets from the prince of spin.

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