KARACHI: New pace sensation Junaid Khan, who is currently leading Abbottabad Falcons, said that his regional team sorely missed senior Younus Khan at the Faysal Bank Super-Eight T20 tournament as they crashed out of the event.
Falcons have lost both matches they have played at the event so far, which ended their chance of making it to the semi-finals. After Multan Tigers defeated Falcons by five wickets in the first match, the team faced a similar fate against Sialkot Stallions yesterday.
Batting first, Falcons could only manage 135 for nine in their 20 overs as opener Yasir Hameed made 43 off 39 with two sixes and as many boundaries while Hammad Ali made a 28-ball 30.
Raza Hasan took three wickets while Rana Naved-ul-Hasan picked up two.
In reply, Stallions survived a top-order collapse as they were reduced to 18 for three before skipper Shoaib Malik and his brother Adeel Malik put on a 89-run stand as Stallions reached 141 for five in 19.2 overs. Malik made a 53-ball 68 with two sixes and five boundaries while Adeel made 36.
“Younus’ absence made a big difference,” Junaid told The Express Tribune. “He played a major role in guiding us to the Super-Eight T20 after playing crucial innings during the national T20 event. But he couldn’t come because of a family problem. We were also handicapped due to the absence of Mir Azam and Khalid Usman who got injured before the game against Stallions.”
When asked about the experience of leading his regional team, he said, “It’s a good experience and I’m learning something new everyday. Captaincy is also helping me to understand pressure.”
Junaid has emerged as Pakistan’s fast-bowling attack spearhead and has formed a good partnership with the lanky Mohammad Irfan.
“My emergence has a lot to do with the confidence I get from seniors like Misbahul Haq, Younus, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez . In addition, Wasim Akram and our bowling coach continue to guide me and I listen to their tips and apply them in my bowling.”
Hafeez slams ton as Lions triumph over Tigers
Meanwhile, Pakistan Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez smashed a quickfire century, including 16 runs off the final three balls of the innings as Lahore Lions thrashed Multan by 47 runs.
Lions, who are now in pole position for a place in the semi-final place from Group A, amassed 174 for four as Hafeez made an unbeaten 102 off 64 with two sixes and 16 boundaries, while Ali Azmat played a 29-run cameo.
Tigers were then bundled out for 127 in 19.4 overs as Ziaul Haq, Aizaz Cheema, Adnan Rasool and Wahab Riaz picked up two wickets apiece.
On Tuesday night, Nasir Jamshed’s 71-run innings steered Lions to an emphatic 44-run win against defending champions Stallions, who could only make 118 for eight while chasing 163.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2013.