Zafar Za Good

First Year Geographer Zafar Ansari weighed in with 30 quick runs and four economical overs on his Twenty20 debut to help Surrey to a comfortable victory over Essex.

cricket Essex kevin pietersen MCCU surrey zafar ansari

Trinity Hall first year Zafar Ansari starred on his debut at The Oval last night as Surrey beat Essex by 43 runs.

The geographer looked far from out of his depth, smashing one of the best bowlers in the world for a huge six and took home the Man of the Match award from Sky Sports in what he described as “the perfect debut.”

Coming in with the Surrey Lions reeling at 111-6 after 15 overs of the first innings, Ansari helped himself to three fours against Essex’s bowling attack – one of the best in the country.

Ansari bowled four economical overs

He then capped it off by hitting Tim Southee – ranked as 21st in the ICC one day bowling rankings – for a maximum over mid-wicket to the last ball of the innings, helping his county to 154-7.

30 not out off 18 balls was an excellent return for the 19 year-old from Ascot.

Zafar was signed by Surrey at the end of last season, and finally made his first appearance in the Twenty20 format, having made one 40 over appearance in September.

The game was previewed as one of the highlights of the group stages, with a wealth of international experience in both teams, but it was the young Cambridge student who had a huge impact on the game.

He hit the headlines across the world last month when playing against Surrey, by dismissing England international Kevin Pietersen for Cambridge MCCU.

Ansari has KP caught at slip at Fenner’s

Surrey’s second half performance was characterised by some exceptional fielding and tight bowling, particularly from Ansari, who was clearly unfazed by Essex’s six internationals.

In a tight first over, he conceded only 3 runs as he built pressure on Ryan ten Doeschate and Scott Styris – who has hit 106 maximums in international cricket – with the latter run out trying to get off strike.

His skiddy slow-left-armers bowled with a low arm from around the wicket tied Essex down in a key period of the match.

Finishing with a very respectable 24  runs off his 4 overs, Ansari was one of the Lions’ best bowlers.

In a comfortable finish, Yasir Arafat took 3-15 on top of three run outs for the team,  as Essex were bowled out for 111, meaning Surrey won by 43 runs.

Picking up a wicket in a CB40 match in September

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Ansari said it was: “one of the best nights I’ve ever had”.

“I got the call just after I finished my exams. From then, I was just really looking forward to playing at a great ground with some great players.

“It was a little different to playing at Fenner’s in front of 20 people.”

His captain Rory Hamilton-Brown said Ansari played “a gem of an innings.”

He added: “I’m not impressed. Since he was nine, we’ve heard he was going to be something special.

“He’s shown tonight that he is a special talent.”

Ansari had been scheduled to face The Other Place in the Varsity Twenty20 match at Fenner’s on Friday, but he will surely be in contention for a place in Surrey’s huge match with last year’s runners-up Somerset that evening instead.