Pakistan fast bowler Junaid Khan's triumphant comeback from injury

Waseem Ahmed 24/02/2018
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Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan got his Pakistan Super League campaign off to a perfect start as he captured only the second hat-trick in the history of the T20 tournament while playing for Multan Sultans against Lahore Qalandars in Dubai on Friday.

The left-arm quick captured three wickets on the bounce towards the end of Lahore’s chase to seal a commanding 43-run win for his side.

He joined fellow left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir as the only members of the PSL hat-trick club.

It was a moment to cherish for the 28-year-old. Not only because it came at a platform like the PSL because also because it followed another stint on the sidelines due to injury.

Junaid has an unfortunate history when it comes to fitness. When he started his career in 2011, Junaid was seen as the bowler who could fill the void left by the ban on Amir following the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.

Blessed with late swing and good pace, Junaid propelled Pakistan to an ODI series win in India in 2013 – one of the rare bilateral tours by Pakistan to India – as he picked up seven wickets in three matches.

His four-wicket haul in the Chennai ODI is one of the finest new-ball spells you will see on an Indian wicket.

But after the highs came the lows. He picked up a thigh injury in 2014 during the tour of New Zealand and ultimately missed out on the 2015 World Cup Down Under.

He returned to the side in the middle of 2015. However, he did not represent Pakistan from the middle of 2015 up to the beginning of 2017.

When he did get a chance in ODIs, Junaid made the most of it and was one of the leading men for Pakistan during their victorious Champions Trophy campaign where he picked up eight wickets.

But just as he was teaming up with Mohammad Amir as Pakistan’s ODI new-ball bowler, he was ruled out for four weeks in December last year due to a stress fracture of the foot.

He picked up the injury while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League and an assessment revealed an unhealed stress fracture.

Junaid missed the tour of New Zealand where Pakistan lost the ODIs 5-0 before winning the T20s 2-1.

But the left-armer is up and running in the PSL and he will be hoping for an injury free 2018.

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Kumar Sangakkara delivers again and other key points from PSL win for Multan Sultans

Denzil Pinto 24/02/2018
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Multan Sultans made it two wins out of two in the Pakistan Super League on Friday night. After stunning champions Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday, they repeated the feat again with a 43-run win over Lahore Qalanders at Dubai International Stadium.

Kumar Sangakkara once again rose to the occasion with another half-century, while there was a solid partnership of 65 between Umar Akmal and Fakhar Zaman which at one stage gave Lahore hope of chasing 180.

Here are the takeaways from the third match of the tournament:

Kumar Sangakkara rediscovering his best form

At 40, the ex-Sri Lanka captain is proving that age is no barrier.. His 63-runs was his second consecutive half-century in this competition following his 57 runs against Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday. A man who consistently delivered on the international career during his 15 years is showing there’s plenty left in the tank, even at an age where most cricketers have retired. There’s still a long way to go in the tournament, but his early form bodes well for Multan Sultans that they can go far.

More batting prowess than just Brendon McCullum

When the New Zealand batsman failed to get off the mark, lasting just five balls, Lahore only had 40 on the scoreboard with two wickets down. It was a long road back for Lahore and while it ended in a defeat, Aaqib Javed can take positives from Fakhar Zaman and Umar Akmal’s heroic batting efforts. The pair defied the opposition bowlers for a large spell, putting on a 65-run stand for the third wicket before Multan got the breakthrough. With Chris Lynn ruled out before the tournament, the pressure is on for Lahore batsmen to make an impact.

Shot of the day

There were plenty of boundaries during the match but Fakhar Zaman certainly tops the list. Imran Tahir was the unfortunate man with his googly not deceiving the batsman and instead spinning wide. It allowed Zaman to get more room and slog sweep the ball into the second-tier of the stadium.

Man of the match

Junaid Khan had a fair shout of winning the personal accolade with his hat-trick but that honour went to Imran Tahir. The South African was lethal with the ball and his double wickets were crucial in the game. Finished with figures of 3-27.

Quote of the match

Shoaib Malik on Imran Tahir and Junaid Khan:

“Junaid Khan is a very good bowler and I knew when I asked him to come and bowl, he said I’ll do it. I must mention Imran Tahir’s name as well. He came up to me, in a crucial situation, said give me the ball and he took those wickets for us. Our goal was to fight till the last ball, even when it seemed like they would win.”

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Multan Sultans' bowlers impress in 43-run victory over Lahore Qalanders

Denzil Pinto 24/02/2018
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Junaid Khan stole the show on the second night of the Pakistan Super League as his hat-trick sealed a convincing 43-run win for Multan Sultans on Friday.

Defending 180 against Lahore Qalanders at Dubai International Stadium, Khan took centre stage in the 16th over by removing Yasir Shah, Cameron Delport and Hasan Raza in consecutive deliveries.

The left-arm pacer first got Shah out after being caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara, before Delport hit straight to Ahmed Shehzad’s hands. His hat-trick was completed when Raza found Shoaib Malik at short midwicket. When Imran Tahir (3-27) wrapped up the triumph with Shaheen Afridi’s dismissal, Lahore had lost their last seven wickets for just four runs.

For the winners, it was their second in the competition following their victory over Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday and their coach Tom Moody will have been pleased with what he saw.

Earlier, Kumar Sangakkara rolled back the years once again. After hitting 57 against Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday, the 40-year-old scored 63 runs off 44 deliveries including five boundaries and three sixes. His knock along with Ahmed Shehzad’s 38 saw Multan put on 88 for the opening wicket before Lahore found the breakthrough.

Although Shoaib Maqsood (4) fell to Shah, who ran out big-hitter Keiron Pollard for a duck, Multan’s total was boosted with a 28-ball 48 from skipper Shoaib Malik as they posted 179-5 in their 20 overs.

The target was always going to be a struggle for Lahore and especially so after they were 40-2 with Brendon McCullum and Sunil Narine back in the dressing-room. But, Fakhar Zaman (49) and Umar Akmal (31) put on a 65-run stand before Multan got their breakthrough and the Lahore batting-order began to crumble.

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