Shahzad moves up in the league of top T20I run-getters

Mohammad Shahzad, the Afghanistan wicketkeeper, is now just six runs short of Virat Kohli’s tally of 1709 runs.

Mohammad Shahzad has 11 half-centuries and a century in his T20I career so far.   -  PTI

Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has carved himself a place among the elite in Twenty20 Internationals. He has joined a club of illustrious batsmen like Virat Kohli and Brendon McCullum with his steady run-making in the shortest format of the game.

The portly Afghan now holds the fifth spot in the all-time list with a career aggregate of 1703 in 56 matches. His 47 against Ireland today saw Shahzad go past Umar Akmal. He is now just six short of Kohli’s mark.

Incredibly, Shahzad has featured in all 56 T20Is that Afghanistan has played so far. Over the last 12 months, he averages 39.85 in 15 matches, with three half-centuries and five scores in the 40s. He proved his class by becoming the fourth highest run scorer in the World Twenty20 last year, with his whirlwind 44 off 19 balls against a strong South African bowling attack being the highlight.

Shahzad’s average of 32.13 is among the best in the format. He is also one of the finest strikers of the ball, and with 193 fours, Shahzad is third in the all-time list, behind McCullum and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Considering that he is only 29, Shahzad surely can climb higher in the league of run-makers. Among the top four, only New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and Kohli are still playing. The top slot, occupied by McCullum’s (2140 runs), might be far away, but Dilshan’s tally of 1889 is surely within the reach of this marauder.

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