Junaed breaks local duck

February 21, 2012

A mightier explosion from Junaed Siddiqui eclipsed the one from Phil Mustard as Duronto Rajshahi chased down a formidable total quite comfortably to script a massive 9-wicket victory against Barisal Burners in the BPL T20 at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday.
The tournament had been crying out for an innings like Junaed’s as the foreigners have been dominating the proceedings. The Rajshahi left-hander did it in emphatic fashion during his unbeaten 89 as Rajshahi overtook Barisal’s 192 runs with 2.5 overs to spare.
After two defeats in the first two matches, Rajshahi have bounced back strongly to win five matches in a row, thus increasing their chances of playing in the semifinals with ten points from seven matches. Barisal are on six points from the same number of outings.
It was a very entertaining match for the smallish crowd in terms of power-hitting as 33 boundaries and 18 sixes were deposited, thanks to Barisal’s Ahmed Shehzad and Mustard and Rajshahi’s Junaed, Shahzaib Hasan and Marlon Samuels.
But in the end it was Junaed who became the hero of the match. Many might have dismissed Rajshahi’s chances after Barisal’s 192-3 but Junaed said that he was confident of success once he hit the first six through square-leg off Yasir Arafat in the first over.
Chasing the challenging target, Rajshahi made a perfect start as Shahzaib, who smashed six fours and two sixes in his 22-ball 46, and Junaed made use of the indisciplined bowling during their 93-run opening stand in 6.4 overs to set the tone for an easy sail.
Samuels joined the party with an unbeaten 30-ball 54, which saw four boundaries and three sixes, to finish the job in style.
“The first six gave me the confidence. It was actually my day as I could do whatever I wanted to do in the middle. I’m really happy with today’s performance because it has boosted my confidence,” said Junaed, who smote five sixes and seven boundaries during his 51-ball unbeaten knock.
Junaed got back his rhythm after a long break and his whirlwind knock also brought back memories of his 134-run knock in the Premier Division Cricket T20 tournament back in 2005-06 at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium.
“I had been going through a long bad patch, so this innings helped me get my confidence back. You know my 134 runs innings for Mohammedan against Sonargaon Cricketers made me known as a cricketer and today’s innings gave me a new lease of life to some extent. Now my job is to continue my good performance in the tournament and I’m not thinking about anything other than Duronto Rajshahi,” said an excited Junaed.
“The unity and team spirit was the main reason behind Rajshahi’s success after losing the first two matches,” said Junaed when asked how it was possible for Rajshahi to bounce back in the tournament so strongly.
Earlier, Rajshahi got off to a good start when skipper Mushfiqur Rahim took a stupendous catch to send his opposite number Brad Hodge back to the pavilion with Barisal’s score on one, but Phil Mustard joined Shehzad to seize the initiative.
The 29-year-old Englishman smote ten fours and three sixes during his unbeaten 58-ball 88 while Shehzad contributed with a 33-ball 44 with two fours and three sixes as Barisal set a daunting task for Rajshahi.
But in the end it was proved that no score is safe in T20s.
BARISAL: 192-3 in 20 overs (Shehzad 44, Mustard 88 not out, Mithun 21, Rameez 26 not out; Sami 1-33, Monir 1-19, Sabbir 1-18)
RAJSHAHI: 193-1 in 17.1 overs (Shahzaib 46, Junaed 89 not out, Samuels 54 not out; Shehzad 1-26)
Result: Duronto Rajshahi won by nine wickets.

-With The Daily Star input

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