A blistering performance by an Englishman in the Big Bash will give England’s Ashes selectors serious food for thought.
English fast bowler Saqib Mahmood has showed what the Poms are missing in their Ashes line-up with a record-breaking spell for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash.
Making his BBL debut for the Thunder against the Brisbane Heat on Sunday night at the Gabba, Mahmood couldn’t have asked for a better first outing in lime green.
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Batting first, the Thunder posted 6-196 off their 20 overs, which was always going to be a tough ask for the Heat to chase down.
English import Sam Billings continued his excellent tournament, bludgeoning 64 off just 27 balls to anchor the Thunder’s innings.
After being smacked for four by Chris Lynn with his first ball, Mahmood claimed the Heat star’s wicket the very next ball as Lynn was caught at mid-off.
The tearaway quick then went on a hot streak, claiming three more wickets in quick succession.
The Heat batters couldn’t handle Mahmood’s bowling, with Ben Duckett (two), Sam Heazlett (five) and Jimmy Peirson (a duck) all falling cheaply and hitting the ball to Thunder fielders.
Amid the carnage, Heat opener Max Bryant was also run-out in what was a disastrous few overs for the Heat.
Only a BBL-record eighth-wicket partnership of 77 runs between Xavier Bartlett and Mark Steketee saved the Heat further embarrassment, as they fell 53 runs short of the target.
It was a dream debut for Mahmood, who took three wickets in seven balls and at one stage had figures of 4-9 off two overs, which were the best ever for the Thunder at that point.
He eventually finished with 4/22 off his three overs in a scintillating display.
Mahmood’s insane spell broke a BBL record as he became the first player to take four wickets inside three overs in the tournament’s history.
Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning captain Aaron Finch told Fox Cricket he was impressed with “the way that he ran in and moved the ball in those first couple of overs”.
“To get 4-9 in two overs was outstanding and broke the back of the game right there.”
Mahmood was understandably pleased with his performance on debut.
“To get a wicket early doors, then those first two or three overs, it all seemed to come together for me,” he said.
His exploits with the ball will give England’s Ashes selectors food for thought as they struggle to find a bowling line-up that can trouble Australia’s batters.
Mahmood was a contentious omission from England’s Ashes squad but was part of the England Lions side that played Australia A last week and was in the Test touring squad earlier this year.
He has played seven ODIs and nine T20s for England, but is yet to make his Test debut.
Mahmood is hoping to build his white-ball experience in the Big Bash ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia.