Shafiqullah Ghafari
Shafiqullah Ghafari (Credits: Twitter)

After Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, another spinner from Afghanistan – Shafiqullah Ghafari – has hit the headlines for his sensational display on the opening day of the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup. In the last few years, Afghanistan have given the world some world-class spinners and Shafiqullah Ghafari looks set to further extend that trend.

On Friday, he picked up 6 wickets for just 15 runs in 9.1 overs as Afghanistan routed hosts South Africa to start their campaign with a stunning win. Shafiqullah Ghafari spun a web around South Africa as the hosts were all out for just 129. Four of his wickets were bowled out. On the other two occasions, he trapped one batsman lbw while one edged the ball to first slip.

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Speaking after the match, Shafiqullah Ghafari revealed that legendary Shane Warne was his inspiration growing up. The youngster called his spell a dream as he set his sight on the remainder of the tournament.

“When I started playing cricket, all the time I was watching Shane Warne videos online,” Ghafari said after the match. “So I was inspired from him how to bowl legspin.

“Six wickets in a World Cup first match, it’s a dream. It has given me confidence for future matches as well. I knew if I bowled in the right areas, then everything would work out,” he added.

Talking about the match, Afghanistan beat the hosts by seven wickets. Only three players managed to reach the double-digit mark for South Africa. Captain Bryce Parsons’ 40-run knock was the top score for the hosts. At 80 for 8, South Africa were looking set to be bowled out for less than 100 but a 38-run knock from number nine Gerald Coetzee saved them the blushes. In reply, Afghanistan chased down the total in 25 overs by losing three wickets.