Sharjah: On Thursday night, Punjabi Legends’ star batsman Umar Akmal showed how dangerous a batsman he could be once he gets going in his team’s five-wicket win over Pakhtoons.
His knock of 41 off 21 balls had four sixes and three boundaries which helped his team chase Pakhtoons total of 102 for six.
Speaking to Gulf News after the match, Akmal said: “I dedicate my knock to the coaching staff of my team, especially our coach Mushy bhai (Mushtaq Ahmad, the legendary Pakistan spinner). It is the confidence that they gave me and the belief in myself that has helped me score those runs. The fact is that they have more confidence in me than I have in myself. When people bestow such confidence in me and make me believe that I can do it then whatever be the target, I will try and help my team reach there.”
Akmal in all the six matches he has played in this league, except two matches, has scored over 30 runs. Though the Pakistan team selectors have not picked him for international cricket since January 2017, this enormously talented batsman is determined to get back into the team. When asked about how he adapts to any batting position, he said: “Be it any position I am ready to bat. in domestic cricket I have been batting at No. 3 and even No. 4 and here I have been opening for the team. It is all due to the belief in me that I am batting well,” said Akmal, who has a huge fan following here as he is one of the most powerful six-hitters.
Despite being short in stature, and not having a built like Chris Gayle, his sixers often sail out of the stadium. “I wish all my fans come and support me and support Punjabi Legends. We will try and give our best to them.”
Though it was Akmal’s knock that helped the Punjabi’s reach the target, it is their young left arm spinner Hassan Khan who restricted Pakhtoons with a spell of 4 for 22 and got rightly adjudged the man of the match. It was his second four wicket spell after his spell of 4 for 21 against Kerala Knights.
Punjabi Legends bt Pakhtoons by 5 wkts. Pakhtoons 102 for 6 in 10 overs (Andre Fletcher 28, Colin Ingram 29, Hassan Khan 4 for 22, Praveen Kumar 2 for 21) Punjabi Legends 103 for 5 in 8.5 overs (Umar Akmal 41, Evin Lewis 20n.o, Sohail Khan 2 for 22, Liam Dawson 2 for 4) Man of match: Hassan Khan