Qais Ahmad spins Hobart Hurricanes to opening victory

20 December 2019

Latest Gloucestershire recruit and Afghanistan International Qais Ahmad delivered a magical spell of wrist spin to sink the Sydney Sixers on an enervating day in Alice Springs and hand the Hobart Hurricanes an opening victory in the BBL.

The Sixers had appeared well placed to run down the Hurricanes' mediocre 9 for 129, but their innings followed a similar pattern to that of Hobart as a strong start was squandered in increasingly difficult batting conditions. Ahmad's brilliance, including three wickets in four balls in his second over, was ably supported by the speed of Riley Meredith and a pair of vital wickets to Simon Milenko.

Ahmad turns the screw

It started when Meredith's entry to the attack brought the first plays and misses and miscues of the innings, as he swiftly pushed the speed gun beyond 145kph. His second over brought an off-cutter change-up and a miscalculation by Vince, who was through the shot too early and bowled. Ahmad's introduction brought another key wicket when Moises Henriques' big drive found a lurking Short, and after Milenko struck twice in an over when he replaced Meredith, Qais proceeded to put on a wrist spinner's clinic after the strategic timeout.

First ball, Curran was beaten completely by a sharp leg break that pitched on leg stump before zipping back to hit the top of off, bringing out Ahmad's ebullient front flip celebration. Next ball Sean Abbott was drawn out of his crease by another leg break and alertly stumped by McDermott, and after Dwarshuis averted the hat-track, Qais moved around the wicket and spun a third perfect leggie through a very large gate between bat and pad. That spell was more or less that, even though Jordan Silk and Mantenti tried in vain to salvage something from the last two wickets.

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