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Kent Cricket head coach Matt Walker applauds 'explosive' Mohammad Nabi after Surrey display

ByCameron Hogwood

Kent head coach Matt Walker has paid tribute to the all-action influence of Mohammad Nabi following his big-hitting display against Surrey.

The Afghanistan all-rounder struck an unbeaten 43 off just 12 balls to lead Kent to 55-1 at The Oval and their fourth successive win in the T20 Blast.

Nabi hit two fours and five sixes on the night, clearing the boundary to seal victory in style after the game had been reduced to sevens overs per side due to a lengthy stoppage for rain.

Mohammad Nabi. Picture: Ady Kerry
Mohammad Nabi. Picture: Ady Kerry

Walker said: "You don't often get those sorts of games, you see over the years when there have been 10 over/five over games, but they aren't that frequent.

"They can be a bit of a lottery at times, one over can change a game dramatically in short overs like that but I thought we were outstanding with the ball.

"Mohammad Nabi will steal the headlines with that explosive over at the end but we created 17 dot balls in that bowling display which is an incredible stat in a seven over game, so the bowlers really did the work there.

"(Hardus) Viljoen and (Adam) Milne bowled great pace again, it's hard to hit those guys and that was the set-up, and then with Nabi coming in and doing what he did was what you hope for with big players like that.

"(Aaron) Finch (36 not out) tried it and didn't quite get the momentum but they're dangerous players and once they get going like that and find the middle of the bat a few times it's very hard to stop.

"He's very experienced in that format actually, he's played a few games at T10 and it was a glimpse of what a world class player he is, he's unstoppable when he's in that sort of mood."

Besides his match-winning innings with the bat, Nabi also added another wicket to his tally as Kent restricted Surrey to 54-4.

Walker added: "I think he's a master with the ball and people will watch his hard hitting and enjoy that, it's the exciting bit of T20 cricket when the balls sails out the park and that's why he's such a valuable player for us because he's got two strings to his bow.

"A couple of the spells he's bowled already have been just a joy to watch, to be able to take pace off in T20 is not a usual thing for T20 spinners these days, they usually bowl quicker and quicker but he's clever enough and skilful enough to take pace off and he's one step ahead of the batsman.

"That explosiveness with the bat, we've seen it in the IPL and the Big Bash, and it's no surprise that he was going to come to the party at some stage. We got a glimpse of it at Canterbury in that first game (against Somerset) and we got a glimpse of it tonight.

"Players like that can win you T20 games in the space of two or three overs once they get going and that was very exciting for everyone to watch."

It has not only been Nabi's impact on the pitch but also his integration with the team off it since his arrival that has impressed Walker.

"He's been doing some brilliant stuff with Imran (Qayyum), he's very generous with his experience and knowledge," he said.

"He's probably the coolest cricketer I've ever seen, on the outside nothing seems to faze him and that's probably on the inside too, he's been there and played a lot of cricket at the highest level.

"He's seen it all and actually when he goes about his business it doesn't seem like much is going to ruffle the feathers.

"He's very cool, collected, there's no panic, he's got a simple technique, a simple game-plan, he's very skilful with the ball, got great hand-eye coordination, he's a powerful man, but also just a lovely man to have around.

"He's very unassuming, he's very quiet, calm, he's got a nice sense of humour and he's fitted in beautifully."

Kent will look to extend their unbeaten start to the competition when they face Middlesex at Lord's on Thursday.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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