Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2017: Faheem Ashraf becomes first Pakistani bowler to take a T20I hat-trick
What's the story?
All-rounder Faheem Ashraf has become the first Pakistani bowler to pick up a hat-trick in T20Is. He accomplished the unique feat during the second T20I against Sri Lanka at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Ashraf created national history by accounting for the wickets of Isuru Udana, Mahela Udawatte and Dasun Shanaka in the last three deliveries of the 19th over of the Sri Lankan innings on a sluggish surface. He finished with match figures of 3/16 from his spell of three overs and helped his team restrict the Lankans to a below-par total of 124 for the loss of nine wickets.
In case you didn't know...
Ashraf is a seam-bowling all-rounder who has played three ODIs and two T20Is thus far (without including this game). He first came to prominence by smashing an unbeaten 64 to take Pakistan to a miraculous victory in their warm-up match against Bangladesh during the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy.
The heart of the matter
After outsmarting Udana with a slower bouncer, Ashraf got a lucky scalp when Udawatte's upper cut found Babar Azam, who completed a stunning catch just in front of the point boundary. The seamer could barely contain his joy when a back of a length delivery trapped Shanaka in front. The umpire raised his finger almost instantaneously to help the 23-year-old become the first Pakistani bowler to take a hat-trick in the shortest format of the game.
Among Pakistani bowlers, Jalal-ud-Din, Wasim Akram (twice), Aaqib Javed, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq (twice) and Mohammad Sami have picked up hat-tricks in ODIs. Akram (twice), Abdul Razzaq and Sami have completed the same feat in Tests.
Parallels from history
Before Ashraf, only five bowlers had managed to pick up a hat-trick in T20Is. The right-armer has now joined an exclusive club which features the likes of Brett Lee (against Bangladesh in 2007), Jacob Oram (against Sri Lanka in 2009), Tim Southee (against Pakistan in 2010), Thisara Perera (against India in 2016), Lasith Malinga (against Bangladesh in 2017).
Even though it has been only twelve years since the inception of the format, it remains a major surprise that no Pakistani bowler had picked up a T20I hat-trick before Ashraf's sizzling performance in this match. Like Akram and Jalal-ud-Din in Tests and ODIs respectively, he has become the first bowler from his country to achieve the rare feat in this particular format of the game. Having created a national record, Ashraf's name will be permanently etched in Pakistan cricket history.