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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