Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan on Friday dedicated his man of the match award to those who lost their lives in a blast during a cricket game in his hometown earlier this month.
Rashid Khan's virtuoso display with bat (10-ball 34) and ball (3/19) helped Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 13 runs to book their place in the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) where they will meet Chennai Super Kings on Sunday in Mumbai.
"I want to dedicate this award to those who lost their lives in a blast during a cricket game in my hometown back home," Rashid, 19, said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
At least eight people were killed and dozens wounded in a series of blasts during a cricket match in eastern Afghanistan earlier this month.
Even Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted about Rashidâ€™s match-winning performance.
Afghans take absolute pride in our hero, Rashid Khan. I am also thankful to our Indian friends for giving our players a platform to show their skills. Rashid reminds us whats best about Afg. He remains an asset to the cricketing world. No we are not giving him away. @narendramodiâ€” Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) May 25, 2018
Coming to the match, Rashid helped struggling Hyderabad post 174/7 by scoring bulk of the 50 runs in the last three overs which proved to be the difference at the end as he took three wickets which included the wickets of Chris Lynn (48), Robin Uthappa (2) and Andre Russell (3) to help his team cross the line.
"It was much-needed for me, wanted to give my 100 percent in all departments," Rashid said on his performance.
So far, Rashid has taken 21 wickets in 16 matches.
Rashid revealed he started his career as a batsman.
"Focus was to just believe in my skills. I was happy with the batting, it was needed in the end. I started my career as a batsman, I believe in my skills and wanted to finish off well.
"I just tried to pick the lengths, the focus was to play straight. That was the plan from the senior players. Fielding is one department where you can't make excuses, compared to last year, I've worked really hard in my fielding.
"If I can't contribute with bat or ball, I'm always looking forward to contribute on the field. Modern cricket demands that. I'm working hard on that," he signed off.
An elated Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson said that Rashid will now be well rested so that he is in fine fettle for the all-important summit clash.
"Rashid was brilliant, but he's got another game day after. We'll keep him wrapped up," Williamson said.
"Exciting, must-win game, great to go through to the final, important to move on. As a team, we fight till the last ball, showed that today. Someone like Rashid is the perfect example of that. Outstanding talent, but a team effort. Lot of the guys chipped in, great team fighting effort which is the attitude we want to see.
"One thing we didn't change was our balance, Saha was injured but he came back... was nice to have his experience. Every one of the guys have played a huge part, whether on or off the field," he added.