An emotional Rashid Khan dedicated his man-of-the-match performance to his mother, who died earlier this year, after he bowled Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first win of the Indian Premier League.
The Afghan leg-spinner took 3-14 from his four overs to restrict Delhi Capitals to 147 for seven in their chase of 163, handing Hyderabad a win by 15 runs in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Khan, who tops the world Twenty20 bowling rankings, said his mother was his “biggest fan”.
“Tough one-and-a-half years for me, first my dad expired and then my mom three-four months ago,” said the 22-year-old.
“And it took a bit of time for me to come back. My mom was my biggest fan, especially in the IPL and when I was the man of the match, she would always talk to me through the night.”
Khan, one of 12 siblings, made his debut for Afghanistan in 2015 and has emerged as a key figure in the war-torn nation’s rise as a cricketing force.
The in-demand bowler has travelled the world to take part in leagues including Australia’s Big Bash, the Caribbean Premier League and the Pakistan Super League.
Hyderabad skipper David Warner was all praise for the “outstanding” spinner who stood out with an economy rate of 3.50.
“Rash is Rash, he knows what he has to do and the way he came out and delivered tonight was exceptionally great,” said Warner.
“He knew he had a big role tonight with young (spinner) Abhishek (Sharma) at the other end. Extra bit of pressure for Rash, (but) he held is nerve and was outstanding.”
Warner contributed with a gritty 45 and a 77-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who top-scored with 53, in Hyderabad’s 162 for four after being put in to bat first.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson also played a key role after hitting a 26-ball 41 in his first game of the season for the 2016 IPL champions, who lost their opening two matches in the United Arab Emirates.