National T20 Cup: Record-breaking Ahmed Shehzad powers Lahore Blues to final — Watch
Today's unbeaten 104 helped him become the only player to hit three centuries in a T20 knockout/playoff game.
New Delhi: Underfired Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad hit his fourth T20 hundred on Wednesday to help Lahore Blues beat Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) by 10 runs in a high-scoring National T20 Cup semi-final at Rawalpindi.
Shehzad, 23, hit an unbeaten 104 off 59 balls with the help of 13 fours and two sixes, as Lahore set FATA a 222-run target. Imam-ul-Haq (62 off 42) and skipper Mohammad Hafeez (52 off 19) helped the opener in his cause.
Despite brilliant knocks from Mukhtar Ahmed (47 off 22)and Khushdil Shah's fighting half-century (56 off 32), Lahore won the match. They will play Lahore Whites in tomorrow's final at Rawalpindi.
Today's unbeaten 104 helped him become the only player to hit three centuries in a T20 knockout/playoff game. The right-handed batsman is also the only Pakistani batsman to have score a T20I hundred, and one of the few players with hundreds in all three formats of the game.
Watch his knock here:
@iamAhmadshahzad brilliant 104 off 59 balls in Semi Final of #NationalT20Cup
Looks like he is batting in his original form. https://t.co/RLnZ2e4YiH @Khurram32177687 @aaliaaaliya @sohailaly @MuhammadWasim77 @wasimakramlive @MultanSultans @SYahyaHussaini @MHafeez22 @HashmeNabeel — Green Shirts (@92GreenShirts) November 29, 2017
However, he still has a long way behind in T20 hundred count. The list is led by West Indian great Chris Gayle (18, then followed by Aussie Michael Klinger, England's Luke Wright and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum – all with seven tons. Aussie opener David Warner has six, while his current captain Steve Smith has five.
India captain Virat Kohli, Zimbabwe's Hamilton Masakadza and England Jason Roy also have five tons each.
But it's been one bumpy ride for Shehzad in international cricket. The talented batsman often becomes a target of angry fans for his inconsistent batting form, and earlier this month, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had reportedly urged him to consult a psychologist.
Pakistan legend and Multan Sultans' Director of Cricket Wasim Akram, however, defended the opener, saying "he's still young and is playing T20 cricket. I think he's a match-winner in my opinion," he said.
Shehzad has so far played 13 Tests, 81 ODIs and 53 T20Is, scoring 982, 2605 and 1353 runs.