With Just 6 Wickets, Rashid Khan Fails to Live up to Billing at WC
Rashid Khan picked just six wickets at an average of 69 and an economy of 5.79 in the 2019 World Cup.
It just about summed up Rashid Khan's Cricket World Cup.
Standing at midwicket, Afghanistan's star player was in position to gobble up a flicked shot from West Indies batsman Shai Hope — on just 5 at the time — that was well timed but unfortunately hit straight at a fielder.
Rashid put it down, to the amazement of Hope and the Afghanistan fielders.
Hope went on to be West Indies' top scorer with 77 in the group match Afghanistan lost by 23 runs at Headingley on Thursday , piling on the misery for Rashid in a tournament he'll be glad to put behind him.
The 20-year-old Rashid arrived in England as the jewel in the crown of Afghanistan cricket, the country's millionaire player in the Indian Premier League, and the world's top-ranked allrounder in ODIs.
This was a chance for the casual cricket fan to see a star in the making, potentially coming into his own on the global stage.
He leaves with just six wickets at an average of 69 and an economy of 5.79, and just 105 runs in nine innings.
With their best player struggling, the Afghans lost all nine group games.
"With Rashid, everyone just expects things from him, especially how he played the last two or three years," Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib said. "Rashid has a 60% winning percentage in our team and every game he has 50-60% responsibility for the team. I am also expecting a lot from him but this is cricket.
"He gives 100% but it's bad luck; some missed reviews, umpire decisions, catches dropped. If you look at the performances, he did three or four games well but it's not enough here."
Gulbadin said Afghanistan came into the World Cup — for its second appearance in the tournament, after 2015 — looking to win three games but came up against teams who were better prepared and more consistent.
"If you look at the team, I'm not happy with the team's performance," he said. "Nobody has (played) 100% for the team or country. It's not professional cricket. Each and every department, you (need to) be fit and 100%. Especially fitness is a problem for our team — if you're not fit, nothing will go well.
"We played very badly here. I'm very upset by our performance. We didn't give 100% for our audience. I say sorry for my fans, my country."
The big positive from the West Indies game was Ikram Ali Khil, whose footwork and speed between the wickets stood out in his 93-ball 86. It was the highest score by an 18-year-old at a World Cup, beating Sachin Tendulkar's knock of 84 in 1992.
His innings came to an end when he was trapped lbw by Chris Gayle, at 39 more than double Ikram's age. That sparked a mid-innings collapse of three wickets in 14 balls that Afghanistan couldn't recover from.
"I am upset he missed a century — scoring a World Cup century is a big moment for anyone," Gulbadin said. "He is a youngster, starting off now. He played a lot of cricket the last two or three years, good cricket in the under-19 World Cup and that is why we gave an opportunity to him. He proved himself here.
"We have more talent in Afghanistan, not only (Ikram). So I hope with this kind of performance like Ikram did, the other guys if they are given a chance will prove themselves."
Ikram will come again.
So will Rashid, despite his forgettable World Cup debut.
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