Younus Khan reminded selectors he still had the ability to give strong a performance in formats other than Test and first-class cricket, as he steered Abbottabad Falcons into the Faysal Bank T20 Cup semi-finals on Friday.
The Falcons, led by Younus’s brilliant unbeaten half-century, won by four wickets against the Karachi Zebras in their last-eight clash at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
Set a target of 130, the Falcons overcame a tricky chase after Khan, who remained not out on 55 off 35 balls with a six and six boundaries, helped them to end their innings with 133 for six with five balls to spare.
Hammad Ali (20) and Riaz Khail (19) provided the much needed support to their skipper after Tariq Haroon had troubled their batting line-up by claiming three early wickets. On the other hand, Akbarur Rehman bagged two wickets.
Earlier, the Zebras had posted 129 for six in their 20 overs, after in-form batsman Fakhar Zaman (4) was run-out in the initial stages after which the team failed to recover. Senior pros Hasan Raza and Faisal Iqbal put up a 77-run third-wicket stand, but were unable to post a winning total.
Raza made a 53-ball 47, while Iqbal hit two sixes and three boundaries in his fluent 43. Junaid Khan was the pick of the bowlers as he credited his account with three scalps.
“Younus was definitely the difference between us and the Falcons today [Friday],” a Zebras’ player told The Express Tribune.
“He has shown the selectors that even sensible, instead of just aggressive players, can win matches in Twenty20 and one-day cricket as well.”
Ajmal stars with four-wicket haul
In the other quarter-final of the day, Saeed Ajmal claimed a four-wicket haul as the Faisalabad Wolves defeated Larkana Bulls by 33 runs in another low-scoring encounter.
Defending a total of 122, the Wolves were able to bowl out their opponents on 88 in 18.5 overs, courtesy Ajmal’s performance. Asad Ali and Ehsan Adil also helped by bagging two wickets apiece, while Mohammad Talha claimed a solitary scalp. Earlier, the Wolves were all out for 121. Khurram Shehzad top-scored with 38, while Mohammad Siddiq claimed three wickets.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2014.