Pakistan star to power KL
KUALA Lumpur will be strengthened by the inclusion of Pakistan Test player Sami Aslam in the Premier Cup semi-final against Penang today in their bid to complete a second consecutive double.
Aslam, who played for Pakistan against Australia last December to reach 11 Test caps, arrived in the country yesterday and will likely open the batting at the Kinrara Oval today.
The 21-year-old was unable to play in the Premier League, which KL won for a second straight year after winning all eight matches, as his domestic first-class team, Federal Areas, reached the Pakistan Cup final last Saturday.
Aslam, a former Pakistan Under-19 captain and who also has four one-day international caps, scored 109 runs to lead Federal Areas to a one-wicket win over Baluchistan.
“He is an opening batsman and an orthodox bowler and we are glad to have Aslam with us for the semi-finals, and if we qualify, for the final,” said KL captain Ahmad Faiz Mohammed Noor of Aslam, who was registered by KL on April 12.
“Even though he could not train with us since he only just arrived, I think he should be able to do well having just finished playing in his country’s domestic tournament.”
On Wednesday, KL completed their fixtures with a 100 per cent record after defeating bottomside Armed Forces by eight wickets at the Kinrara Oval.
Virandeep Singh scored an unbeaten 100 runs, only the third century registered in the tournament, in an unbroken thirdwicket partnership with K. Sivanantha (63), to extend KL’s winning run to 16 matches since last year.
The completion of the Premier League fixtures confirmed that KL will meet fourth-placed Penang at Kinrara today while Selangor and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia face off in tomorrow’s other semi-final. The final is on Sunday.
Faiz will also return after missing the Forces win though there is a doubt over bowler Navantha Ratnayake, who claimed two wickets for 24 runs against Forces despite being hobbled by an ankle injury.
Ratnayake played through the pain barrier to bowl five overs in his last two matches and his fitness will be assessed before the semi-final. Devinder Singh