Rashid on track for unique record

In doing so, Rashid took last season's KFC BBL champions Adelaide to another win, and continued to break new ground among T20 bowlers; his 92 wickets in 2018 are the most in a calendar year in the short history of the format.

Rashid's 3-19 against the Heat at the Gabba extended his lead in the record books on West Indian Dwayne Bravo, who took 87 wickets through 2016. Notably, Bravo played 72 matches that year whereas the leg-spinner has played just 57 in 2018.

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If it wasn't an outright match-winning hand (there were other crucial performances from a couple of teammates, particularly Peter Siddle's bowling in the Powerplay and Alex Carey's 70 in the run chase) it was another reminder of the talents of the man who was the leading wicket-taker in this tournament last year.

Strikers opener Carey insists it is much more than sheer talent that makes the world's top-ranked T20 bowler such a special player.

"He's really smart," Carey said post-match.

"He's obviously got the skills, we all know that, but I think he's got a lot between the ears.

"He knows how he's going to get batters out – he analyses them pretty quickly out in the middle, he analyses the wicket, and he knows what's going to be effective.

"At training, he's bowling lots of balls, and he's nailing his skills. He's one guy that works really hard.

"He's obviously got the talent and the freak skills, but the stuff he does behind the scenes … he gets in the gym after hours, he goes for extra runs, he bowls more balls than most guys I've seen.

"So the stuff he does on the field is amazing, but the stuff we (his teammates) see him doing off the field is a real credit to him."

Given the Strikers have another three matches before the year is out, Rashid is a very realistic prospect of becoming the first man to take 100 T20 wickets in a calendar year; somewhat fittingly, it could even happen in the New Year's Eve clash at the Adelaide Oval against the Sydney Thunder.

Wind the clock back a year and the numbers are even more staggering. Since the beginning of 2017, Rashid has taken 172 wickets while conceding fewer than 6.5 runs per over.

The nearest to that tally is South African veteran leggie Imran Tahir, with 114.

The stats are almost inconceivable even before considering Rashid only turned 20 in September, and hails from a country not traditionally associated with cricket.

The leg-spinner with the speedy, bustling run-up has played for seven different T20 outfits in 2018, and news this week that he was available for the duration of BBL|08 came as a major plus for a Strikers team looking to go back-to-back.

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As the teams shook hands at the Gabba, there was a moment where Rashid sought out his compatriot Mujeeb Ur Rahman, another teen spin-bowling sensation who was debuting for Brisbane.

Considering the plight of their country in recent decades, their mere presence on the outfield was a remarkable story, and if 17-year-old Mujeeb can have half as much success in the Big Bash as his fellow Afghan, the Heat will doubtless be delighted.

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