Hazratullah Zazai smoked 16 towering sixes and 11 boundaries as he shared the highest partnership for any wicket in a Twenty20 match with opening partner Usman Ghani as the duo put 236 for the first wicket. @ Twitter/ACB

Hazratullah Zazai has a fetish for scoring runs against Ireland. The hard-hitting southpaw, who made waves as a 20-year-old in his debut tour with the Afghanistan senior team in August last year by striking back-to-back half-centuries in just his second and third matches to ensure a T20I series sweep of Ireland, was on rampage on Saturday during the second Twenty20 International against Ireland.

Zazai smoked 16 towering sixes and 11 boundaries as he shared the highest partnership for any wicket in a Twenty20 match with opening partner Usman Ghani as the duo put 236 for the first wicket. Mohammad Nabi then played a nice cameo slamming back-to-back sixes in the final over to take Afghanistan past Australia’s previous record total of 263/3, against Sri Lanka in September 2016. (ALSO READ: Hazratullah Zazai cuts loose, Afghanistan demolish Ireland bowlers, T20I record books)

Zazai’s hard-hitting prowess is not something new. During the final match of the Twenty20 International series against Ireland in August last year at Bready, he single-handedly outscored Ireland with his 82 off 54 balls, which included seven sixes.

If that wasn’t enough to prove his credentials, he grabbed eyeballs and headlines after plundering six sixes in a T20 match for Kabul Zwanan against Balkh Legends in the Afghanistan Premier League 2018 in Sharjah.

Earlier in the tournament, he had already bashed a 44-ball century, but his stature as one to watch out for grew significantly when he became the third batsman in T20s to achieve the six sixes rare feat after he bludgeoned left-arm spinner Abdullah Mazari to put his name alongside Yuvraj Singh and Garry Sobers in the record books. (ALSO READ: Hazratullah Zazai’s thunderous 162* powers Afghanistan to record 278/3)

Chasing a mammoth 245, Zazai’s efforts could not take his team to victory, as Kabul were restricted to 223/7 in their 20 overs with Zazai making 62 off just 17 balls with four fours and seven sixes.

“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,” he had said after the match.

“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.”