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Wrist spin duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad turning things around for GT

IPL 2023: Wrist spin duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad turning things around for Gujarat Titans. Rashid-Ahmad together have taken 26 wickets so far in IPL 2023.

IPL 2023: Noor Ahmad, Rashid Khan turning things around for Gujarat Titans | Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Noor, Rashid compliment each other really well in the field (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

The defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) are having a dream run this season. The Gujarat-based franchise have by far looked the most dominant side in this year’s IPL edition who seem to have got all their bases covered. They are currently towering the points table with 8 wins under their belt. Besides, with such threatening form, the franchise appears well on their way to clinch their second consecutive title.

With that said, let us unravel the recipe behind GT’s successful run in the ongoing IPL tournament.

Rashid at his usual best; Noor Ahmad has been a revelation

The Afghan spin bowling combination of Rashid Khan and young Noor Ahmad has been a sureshot recipe for GT’s ongoing success in this year’s IPL edition. Rashid is averaging 18.74 with the ball and has claimed 19 wickets in 11 games so far this season. He started his season with a bang by bagging the player of the match award in the first IPL match this season against the mighty CSK.

Although he has been a touch on the expensive side, Rashid has still managed to deliver some memorable match defining performances for his side. His variations are still hard to pick which has led to the undoing of several high-profile batters especially during the middle overs. He picked up his best bowling figures of 3/14 at Jaipur where he dismantled the RR batting line up as they suffered a crushing defeat against the Titans by 9 wickets.

IPL 2023, RR vs GT, Top Performances_ Rashid Khan took 3-14 against Rajasthan Royals; GT beat RR _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Rashid Khan took 3-14 against Rajasthan Royals (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

The 18-year-old Noor Ahmad has also burst onto the scene and looks well poised to follow in his countryman’s footsteps. He idolised Rashid Khan as his role model and even went as far as emulating his bowling action. The left-arm wrist spinner has been a dangerous customer to deal with and has troubled some prolific batters with his uncanny variations.

Noor made his IPL debut this year and has fared better than his countryman as far as his figures are concerned. In only 7 games, Noor has picked up 11 wickets at a very astounding average of 16. Besides, he has also done well to keep the flow of the runs down going at just under 7 RPO. He achieved his best bowling figures of 3/37 at Narendra Modi Stadium where he picked up the prize wickets of Tim David, Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav to demolish MI by 55 runs.

Ahmad displayed maturity in the 39th match of the TATA IPL edition by stepping up for Rashid as a backup. Rashid was taken to cleaners and had a very off day with the ball conceding 54 in his allotted four overs. Ahmad, however, did a great job by pulling things back by dismissing the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rinku Singh whilst going at just under 6 RPO.

Extra pace USP of both Rashid & Ahmad

What makes the spin duo very lethal is their ability to bowl at pace. Unlike other Indian spinners like Kuldeep Yadav or Ravichandran Ashwin, Rashid and Noor bowl at high 90s and get it to rip sideways which have led to the undoing of several quality batters. With their pace and immaculate variations batters often find it hard to charge down the ground or line themselves up for the big sweep shot. Besides, it is also interesting to note that their wrong ‘un spins more than their traditional leg break which have caused a lot of self-doubt in the batters’ minds.

IPL 2023, RR vs GT, Top Performances_ Noor Ahmad took 2-23 against RR; GT beat RR _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Noor Ahmad has taken 11 wkts from 7 games (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Afghanistan continues to produce quality spinners

Whilst the country continues to grapple with endless turmoil, Afghanistan has earned the reputation for producing quality spinners one after the other. From Rashid Khan all the way to Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Qais Ahmad, the list goes on.

The discovery of Noor Ahmad is clearly a result of good talent scouting by the GT coaching staff. He has been a great find for his side in this year’s IPL edition. The GT team management have done a commendable job in uncovering such a rare talent. The GT assistant coach Aashish Kapoor first took notice of this youngster back in November 2019 when he travelled to India for an U19 tour. He ended that tour on a high and walked away with nine wickets in five youth ODIs. Kapoor was mighty impressed with the bloke and immediately sent his recommendations to Zaheer Khan and VVS Laxman.

But much to his misfortune, neither MI nor SRH acted on it. However, he didn’t let this year’s IPL auction go in vain when he got the opportunity to be at the auction table himself with GT and persuaded Nehra to go for the rising talent. Kapoor viewed him as a left-handed Rashid Khan and reckoned that the duo could be a deadly combination. Back then only a few people knew about his exploits. But nearly halfway through the tournament now, the young Noor Ahmad has become a household name for his side and with age on his side, the youngster is destined to reach new heights in the cash rich league.

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