APL T20: Hazratullah Zazai’s 12-ball 50 in vain as Balkh Legends keep winning
Hazratullah Zazai hit six sixes off Abdullah Mazari en route to a 12-ball fifty. (Photo: ACB)

Hazratullah Zazai drew level with the all-time Twenty20 record in hitting a 12-ball half-century, including six sixes in one over, but his stunning innings ended up on the losing side as Balkh Legends beat Kabul Zwanan by 21 runs in the Afghanistan Premier League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

In front of the man whose record he drew level with, Chris Gayle, the Afghanistan batsman smacked the left-arm spinner Abdullah Mazari for 37 runs in one over with a wide added to six sixes. Getting to a fifty in 12 balls put him level with Gayle, who smacked 80 earlier in the day to set up Legends’ win, and Yuvraj Singh.

He is the second man after Yuvraj to do it in a T20 game. It is a proud, unforgettable moment for me. It is a very enjoyable moment for me that my name is now linked to so many big names of the game, who are really legends of the game. I am thankful to Almighty Allah for helping me score the 12-ball fifty, Hazratullah said after the game.

After the match, Gayle posed for a picture with him. I want to keep enjoying my cricket always and will keep striving towards improving my cricket further. It was a surreal moment for me to perform in front of my idol (Chris Gayle). I was just trying to play my natural game and did not in any way think of outshining anyone, Hazratullah said.

Zazai, 20, was eventually out for a 17-ball 62 as Kabul Zwanan fell 21 runs short of a target of 245. His record-equalling innings came just five days after he scored 124 against Nangarhar Leopards in the same competition.

Legends’ total of 244/6 was fashioned by Gayle (80 off 48 balls), Dilshan Munaweera (46 off 25), Darwish Rasooli (50 off 27) and skipper Mohammad Nabi (37 off 15). In the chase, Luke Ronchi hit 47 off 38 balls and with Zazai put on 81 for the opening wicket in 5.5 overs but the stiff asking rate was tough to maintain. Shahidullah Kamal (40 off 20) and Colin Ingram (29 off 14) threatened more damage but fell in the slog overs. Ben Laughlin’s 3/37 helped set back Kabul.

Brief scores: Balkh Legends 244/6 in 20 overs (Gayle 80, Rasooli 50) beat Kabul Zwanan 233/7 in 20 overs (Zazai 62, Laughlin 3/37) by 21 runs