Wrath of Khan impresses Warner | cricket.com.au

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Wrath of Khan impresses Warner

Australian labels Afghanistan leggie 'a superstar in the making' after the teen dismantled Gujarat's batting order

Australian David Warner has labelled Afghanistan's Rashid Khan "a superstar in the making" after the Sunrisers Hyderabad leg-spinner produced a stunning performance against the Gujarat Lions on Sunday night.

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Khan, the first Afghan to play in the Indian Premier League, removed Gujarat's batting superstars Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Suresh Raina to finish with 3-19 from his four overs, with all three wickets falling LBW.

The 18-year-old had impressed on IPL debut last week with figures of 2-36 and he currently holds the Purple Cap as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far.

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Warner, who has gambled on Khan's bowling in the Power Play in both matches, was thrilled with his new recruit, especially in the absence of star Bangladeshi bowler Mustafizur Rahman.

"He's a superstar in the making," Warner told IPLT20.com. "He adds a great dynamic to our team.

"With Fizz (Rahman) out, he's stepped up to the mark as a youngster and he's helped us out tremendously. So hopefully he keeps continuing his form.

"I backed him in the first six (overs). He said 'give me the ball, I want to try'. He got the crucial wickets for us."

Khan's confidence to bowl in the first six overs, when only two fielders are allowed outside the inner circle, is surprising given just one of the 91 overs he's bowled for his country in T20 cricket have come in the Power Play.

But the leggie's deceptive googly early in the innings proved too much for both McCullum and Finch, while the left-handed Raina was trapped in front by a ball that turned back into him.

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The manner of Khan's dismissals are a testament to his accuracy; more than half of the 61 wickets he's taken in his Twenty20 career have been either bowled or LBW.

"I had confidence because in the first match I bowled well," he said after play.

"The coach and the skipper discussed with me (and asked) 'when are you comfortable bowling?'. I just told them 'anytime'. The Power Play, at the end, in the middle, I'm just ready.

"They gave it to me in the Power Play and I just tried my best to bowl wicket-to-wicket ... and I got some success."

And the teenager is relishing his status as a role model for his country, who have made a rapid rise since earning official international status in 2001.

"It's a wonderful and positive message to all of Afghanistan," he said.

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"Playing in such a big league and performing for Afghanistan sends a really positive message.

"It's a wonderful moment for me to get the Purple Cap. I will try my best to keep it.

"The way I am bowling, it is very difficult for the batsman which way it will go. So I am trying to mix it up."

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