Delhi Capitals seemed to be cruising towards a comfortable victory against us in their final Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 league stage match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday but an incredible half-century by Arshad Khan made sure we kept fighting right until the end.

Chasing 209 for a win, we recovered from an early collapse on the back of Nicholas Pooran’s sensational 61 off 27. However, after Nicky P’s dismissal, we were reeling at 101/6 and needed 108 from 53 balls.

Not many would have backed us to stretch the match until the final over or even come close to DC’s total but batting at No. 8, Arshad Khan scored a fighting half-century to keep us hoping right till the end.

We eventually fell 19 runs short after DC bowlers managed to strife our tailenders in the final two overs but Arshad’s last stand was special.

“I think Arshad is a very, very good cricketer. I have thought the whole way through, watching this tournament, that he has got huge potential and he showed some of that tonight,” our head coach Justin Langer said at the post-match press conference. “And to be able to bat like that he is a very good package.”

The 26-year-old all-rounder carted five sixes and three boundaries to remain unbeaten on 58 off just 33 balls. This was Arshad’s first fifty in the IPL and one which, perhaps, no one was expecting.

After all, Arshad had accumulated only 43 runs from eight matches in the IPL heading into Tuesday’s fixture with a previous best of 20*, which also came against the Capitals in the reverse fixture last month. 

Such was the impact of the southpaw’s innings, that the commentators christened him ‘Arshad the destroyer’ on air.

Arshad Khan, who represents Madhya Pradesh in the domestic circuit, became part of our squad during the IPL auction last year.

With the ball, Arshad has picked up six wickets from nine matches in the IPL with his left-arm medium pace. He also accounted for the in-form Jake Fraser-McGurk off the second ball of the innings to give us an excellent start with the ball against DC last night.

“He bowls well, you saw that he swung the ball early. He is a good fielder. And when he becomes more consistent, particularly with his bowling, he could be a real handful and a very good all-round cricketer,” Langer noted.