Ottawa – Canadian spin bowler Saad Bin Zafar took the term ‘economical’ to the extreme as he bowled himself into the record books during a men’s T20 international.
While the eyes of the world were on the World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday, Zafar was rewriting history in his country’s game with Panama at Antigua’s Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Not only did he take two wickets in his four-over spell, he did so without conceding a single run as the left-arm racked up four consecutive maidens.
It was the first time a bowler has achieved that feat in a T20 international, and surpassed the previous marker set by Kuwait’s Mohammed Aslam, who took 2-3 against Saudi Arabia in February 2020.
Pakistan-born Zafar, who currently represents the Vancouver Knights at club level, removed Panama batsman Dineshbhai Ahir and Mohmad Sohel Patel in consecutive overs, and whilst he failed to strike again third time around, did notch six more dot balls.
He was in danger of inexplicably conceding a single off the opening ball of his fourth over, but it proved an ill-judged dash from the pair in the middle, handing Canada a run out.
The 35-year-old’s incredible spell helped his country to a huge 208-run win in what was a World Cup Americas Region Qualifier, and sealed their passage to the next stage.
Batting first, the Canadians hammered 245-1 in their 20 overs, with opener Rayyan Pathan also enjoying a day to remember as he scored 106 not out off 62 balls.
The side from Central America could only muster 37 in their response, and as well as Zafar’s heroics spinner Salman Nazar took three wickets, although somehow was expensive in comparison as he went for eight runs.
The result represented Canada’s fifth win in sixth matches and sealed their passage into the global qualifiers, along with the USA. Furthermore, the winning margin was also the second biggest in international history, beaten by the Czech Republic’s 257-run victory against Turkey in 2019.
Zafar has played 17 times for Canada since the ICC granted its members full T20I status in 2019, and has also represented Saint Lucia Kings and the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League. He’s also had stints with the Amsterdam Knights, in the Euro T20 Slam, and the Falcon Hunters in the Qatar T-10 League.