KATHMANDU, April 3: Sandeep Lamichhane has become the highest wicket-taking spin bowler in T20 cricket in 2019. He overtook Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi after picking up the wickets of Sam Curran and Sarfaraz Khan in Delhi Capitals’ defeat against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Monday.
The 18-year-old who was retained by Capitals, previously known as Daredevils in last season, registered the bowling figures of two wickets for 27 runs in four overs. His tally now stands at three wickets in two matches for Delhi in the current Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Lamichhane now has 27 wickets in 2019 followed by Afridi’s 26, Afghanistan and Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler Rashid Khan’s 25 and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan 24 wickets.
Lamichhane’s wicket-taking stint in 2019 goes back to Melbourne Stars in Big Bash League (BBL), Sylhet Sixers in Bangladesh Premier League and most recently Lahore Qalandars in Pakistan Super League (PSL) before arriving in India for IPL.
However, England’s rising star Curran claimed the first hat-trick of this season’s IPL to help his side Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Capitals by 14 runs. Curran returned figures of 4-11 in just 2.2 overs of medium-pace bowling as Delhi lost seven wickets for eight runs and was bowled out for 152 in its chase of 167.
The 20-year-old Curran, who was bought by Punjab for US $1 million (890,000 euros) in the Twenty20 auction in December, also hit 20 off 10 deliveries while opening the batting in place of Chris Gayle, as Kings XI made 166 for nine.
“Just came out here trying to impress. Luckily we managed to scratch a score above 150 and the bowlers were superb,” he said after receiving the man of the match award.
“I have opened in school cricket but this is probably the first time in senior cricket,” added Curran, a left-arm medium pacer and a left-handed batsman.
He then removed Colin Ingram, caught at long-off for 38.
But Curran stole the show, and the match, with his innings-ending hat-trick. He had Harshal Patel caught off the last delivery of his second over for nought and then came back to bowl Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane, both on zero, and end the Delhi innings in 19.2 overs.
“The crowd was so loud, I couldn’t hear my own thoughts,” the youngster said when asked how he felt.
Curran was singled out as a “game changer” by Virat Kohli after England beat visiting India 4-1 in a test series last year.
Indian paceman Mohammed Shami complimented Curran with two wickets, including the dangerous Rishabh Pant who top-scored with 39, as Delhi’s batting imploded.
Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, who was slammed for his controversial ‘Mankad’ dismissal of England batsman Jos Buttler in an IPL game last week, also took two wickets.