Mohammad Hafeez, playing his first game ever in the Zim Afro T10, took a magnificent 6-fer on Friday, July 21.
He spun a web around the batters and guided his side, Joburg Buffaloes, to a close 10-run victory against Bulawayo Braves. The all-rounder, unsurprisingly, bagged the Player of the Match award.
The Joburg Buffaloes were asked to bat first by Sikandar Raza, the captain of Bulawayo Braves. In 10 overs, the Buffaloes put up 105 runs on the board. They were reduced to 17-4 at one stage, as they came out with intention, looking to smash everything that came their way out of the park.
Hafeez, the Buffaloes' skipper, failed to make an impact with the bat as he was dismissed on the second delivery that he faced. The former Bangladesh captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, came to their rescue, using all his experience and playing a blistering knock of 46 runs while striking at exactly 200.
Mohammad Hafeez comes to the rescue with the ball
Chasing 106, the Braves were off to a flyer as they scored 32 off the first two overs. However, that is when a horrendous collapse started. Wellington Masakadza took three wickets in an over. He disturbed the stumps on all three occasions as Kobe Herft and Ashton Turner were beaten by arm balls that came in with the angle, while Ben McDermott chopped a shortish delivery on.
From there onwards, Hafeez and his side never looked back. The Joburg captain notched three wickets apiece in both of his overs. He bowled excellent lines and gave the batters very little or no room to operate with. With pressure mounting, the batters had to go for the attack. In the process, they gave away six wickets to the Professor.
Sikandar Raza, who scored a match-winning 61 earlier in the day, could not repeat his heroics in Bulawayo’s second game of the day. He was the first of Hafeez's six scalps. Thisara Perera played for the turn but was bowled on a delivery that did not have any of it at all.
Ryan Burl was also amongst Hafeez's victims, and that was the wicket that potentially sealed the game for the Buffaloes.
The 42-year old was simply too good on the day for the likes of Timycen Maruma, Tymal Mills and Tanunurwa Makoni who made up the Braves’ tail. They were all dismissed trying to go big out of desperation.
An inspirational performance from the Buffaloes' skipper saw him end the game with unbelievable bowling figures of 6-4 in a T10 game. This incredible spell of spin-bowling came in just the third game of the tournament. The inaugural match of the Zim Afro T10 was held on the same day, as a total of three games were contested on Friday in what was the first of seven triple-headers that are scheduled over the next week.
A total of five teams will be participating in the tournament – Bulawayo Braves, Cape Town Samp Army, Durban Qalandars, Harare Hurricanes and Johannesburg Buffaloes, while Sikandar Raza, Parthiv Patel, Craig Ervine, Eoin Morgan and Mohammad Hafeez would be leading these teams respectively. All games are set to take place in Harare, where the crowds already seem to have embraced this new league with open arms. The shortest and fastest format of the game guarantees loads of entertainment, and the ever-energetic Harare crowd will be right up for it.
The star performer of the day, Mohammad Hafeez, is also in talks to become the Chief Selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Recently, Zaka Ashraf, the PCB Chairman, was rumoured to have offered Hafeez various roles; one of them being the post of the PCB Chief Selector.