It was the 28-year-old’s left-arm pacer’s first appearance in the Asia Cup in the UAE and just his fourth ODI match of 2018 after picking up three wickets in the Zimbabwe tour in July.
Entering the game with 100 wickets in 69 ODIs, Junaid proved he has what it takes to deliver with the ball.
Here we analyse his bowling performance where he finished with figures of 4-19 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
OVERS BOWLED: 9
RUNS CONCEDED: 19
ECONOMY RATE: 2.11
Given the new ball, the left-arm quick provided the edge Pakistan were missing in the competition. He struck in his second over removing Soumya Sarkar for a duck and later doubled his tally with the dismissal of Liton Das. He was on the mark again as he removed Mehidy Hasan (12) and Mahmudullah (25) later in the innings to put a dent to Bangladesh’s late charge as they posted 239.
Junaid varied his lengths from the opening over itself, ensuring the batsmen just couldn’t line him up. One of the biggest issues with Pakistan’s pace attack this tournament has been the lack of fire behind deliveries either pitched up or banged in short. But Junaid put in a lot more behind the ball than Mohammad Amir did and was duly rewarded. He got top wickets of Liton Das and Mahmudullah by castling the stumps, bringing the energy back in Pakistan’s bowling.
No one can complain after such a fine effort. He kept the scoring down and bowled just one wide, conceding just one four. If anything, it showed how wrong the team management was in picking Amir over Junaid for matches against India. It’s better late than never and Junaid should now be an automatic selection, no questions asked.
'Amir and I are not jealous of each other' - Junaid Khan pic.twitter.com/Gm3V4SZXKT— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 26, 2018
Opportunities have often been hard to come with the likes of Hasan Ali and Amir ahead of him in the pecking order. Replacing the latter, he justified his selection in style, doing what Amir hasn’t done for a year now – taking wickets. It will come as a huge relief for Pakistan than one fast bower has found rhythm after Amir and even Hasan looked off colour during the tournament.
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