Srinagar, Apr 8: Abdul Samad, J&K's rising star cricketer, has started IPL 2023 on a high note with outstanding performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first two matches of the season.
Abdul Samad after having scored an unbeaten 32 against Rajasthan in the first match of the season, on Friday evening again turned out as a star performer for the franchise in the second match.
While the whole batting lineup of Sunrisers Hyderabad struggled on a slow Lucknow pitch, Abdul Samad scored a quick unbeaten knock of 21 from only 10 balls against Lucknow Super Giants.
The pure power-hitting display in the last over of the inning gave some respect to the Hyderabad total who scored a total of 121 runs for the loss of eight wickets in the allotted 20 overs.
In reply, Lucknow Super Giants chased the target in 16 overs for the loss of five wickets.
Though the Sunrisers lost, Samad has once again shown that he is in terrific touch this season. He has remained not out in both the matches so far and has hit some big sixes as well.
Samad was also awarded the prize of rupees one lakh as the Electric Striker of the match.
Soon after the match, former India all-rounder and Abdul Samad's mentor, Irfan Pathan was quick to praise the J&K all-rounder for the brilliant start to the season.
"Samad has started this IPL on a positive note. Power was always there but the balance seems good too," Irfan Pathan tweeted.
Irfan Pathan who has served as mentor cum player of the J&K cricket team was instrumental in getting Samad a place in the IPL squad. First Pathan promoted Samad from the Under-19 J&K team to the Senior squad. Later pushed his case amoung the IPL franchise teams on the back of Samad's impressive Ranji trophy performance. Sunrisers Hyderabad got Samad in the IPL player's auction for Rs 20 lakhs. The impressive display during the season forced Sunrisers Hyderabad to retain the J&K youngster for Rs four crores.
It was due to the efforts of Samad, India found Umran Malik. The pacer was roped in as net bowler by the Sunrisers on the recommendation of Samad. During that time Covid 19 hit the Hyderabad squad and Malik was included in the main squad. Once he made his debut, the J&K pacer impressed everyone and there is no looking back since.
Before Samad, Irfan Pathan had also pitched the case of another J&K young pacer Rasikh Salam in the IPL circuit. He has been instrumental in the opening of IPL doors for J&K cricketers.
Currently, there are five J&K cricketers part of IPL main squads while eight are serving as net bowlers.