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Afghan teen looms as Hurricanes trump card

Afghani leg-spinner Qais Ahmad took the wicket of Aaron Finch in his first over as the Hobart Hurricanes secured top spot in the Big Bash League.

Afghan teen looms as Hurricanes trump card

Afghani leg-spinner Qais Ahmad took the wicket of Aaron Finch in his first over as the Hobart Hurricanes secured top spot in the Big Bash League.

BEN MCDERMOTT of Australia bats during the International Twenty20 match between Australia and India at SCG in Sydney, Australia.
BEN MCDERMOTT of Australia bats during the International Twenty20 match between Australia and India at SCG in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Teenager leg-spinner Qais Ahmad could be the trump card in the Hobart Hurricanes' Big Bash League finals tilt.

Hobart secured top spot and a home semi-final with a 16-run win over the Melbourne Renegades on Thursday night at Bellerive Oval.


Skipper Matthew Wade continued his stellar form with a blistering 58 from 30 balls but it was debutant Ahmad who picked up two big wickets in the Renegades' chase.

The 18-year-old Afghani, who signed with the Hurricanes only last week following the sudden retirement of Johan Botha, had Aaron Finch (35) out slogging in his first over after Melbourne got off to a flyer.

Ahmad (2-34 from four overs) returned late to dismiss top-scorer Tom Cooper (44) but kept a trademark front-flip celebration in the bank.

"It's a shame his last two balls went for six but up until then he was absolutely brilliant," Hurricanes batsman Ben McDermott said.

"I wanted to see that somersault but he didn't do it."

Ahmad played a big role in Afghanistan's semi-final run at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, where he took 14 wickets for the tournament.

"He's come in and has fitted in nicely, so hopefully he can play a big role for us in the finals," McDermott said.

"I think they (opposition batsmen) want to look at him first. They don't want to take him on straight away because they've never faced him. I think that's a bonus."

The Hurricanes, who are four competition points clear of the Sydney Sixers, are on the road to Sydney Thunder in their final regular season match on Saturday before returning home for a semi-final next week.

They've now won eight straight in Hobart.

"I think we deserve it for sure, a home semi for Tassie," McDermott said.

McDermott finished unbeaten on 39, a steadying hand in Hobart's 6-183.

He had an awkward moment in the final over when he hit the ball into his neck attempting a ramp shot.

"I've ramped one into my face before but never my neck. It was a bit scary at the time. I couldn't really breathe for a couple of seconds."

"It does make me think twice about playing the shot. I'll probably put it away for now."

The Renegades are guaranteed to make the finals but their position in the top four depends on results.

AAP


AAP




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