Mahmood leads Badshahs to victory
Azhar Mahmood lead the Lahore Badshahs to a tense 4 wicket win over the Hyderabad Heroes in front of 83,000 spectators’ in Ahmedabad to win game one of the ICL Twenty20 Cup.
The first of a best of three finals for the ICL 20s Indian Championship featured defending champions Hyderabad Heroes take on the mighty Lahore Badshahs in front of an 83,000 spectators’ packed Sardar Patel stadium Ahmedabad.
It was a high octane encounter that saw some intense cricket from both sides; saw the Lahore Badshahs draw first blood in the best of three finals by a narrow margin of 4 wickets. Imran Farhat was declared man of the match for brilliant half century.
Earlier in the evening Inzamam Ul Haq won the toss & elected to field, taking the due factor into consideration and the fact that Lahore were playing with two front line spinners Saqlain & Arshad Khan. The Hyderabad openers Khaleel & Maher got off to a steady start taking the score to 25 for no loss at the end of the 3 rd over.
Just when the Hyderabad openers were trying to take the initiative; Inzamam introduced his inform strike bowler Rana Naved in the 6th over, who trapped the talented Ibrahim Khaleel LBW for a well made 25 & in turn ending the 49 run partnership for the first wicket. At the half way mark of their innings the defending champions were placed well at 83/1, setting a good platform for the final 10 overs.
A magnificent six over mid on by Razzaq brought about the 50 partnership for the second wicket and the subsequent hundred of the Hyderabad innings in the 12thover. Razzaq took over the batting mantel in the crucial middle overs. Razzaq brought about his fifth ICL fifty in the 15th over off only 31 balls, laced with 5 fours and 2 sixes. The 15 over mark had the Hyderabad side coasting towards a big total at 137/1 & Razzaq looking in ominous touch, ably supported by the experienced Jimmy Maher.
Saqlain came back for a second spell in the 16th over and foxed an unusually circumspect Maher, for a laborious innings of 45runs; in turn ending the mammoth 89 run partnership between Razzaq & Maher for the 2nd wicket. In the end some brilliant bowling by Rana Naved in the death overs helped pull back the Hyderabad batting juggernaut at 170/5 in their allotted 20 overs. The highlight of the Hyderabad batting performance was a brilliant 69 off 46 balls from the talented Abdul Razzaq. Naved Ul Hasan was again brilliant with the ball ending with impressive figures of 3/25.
The Lahore chase got off to a blitzkriegs start with the dangerous Imran Nazir racing off to 25 runs off only 8 balls to take the score to 28 at the end of the 2nd over. However Nazir’s innings was short lived with Razzaq scalping him in the very next over.
Nazir’s wicket brought Rana Naved to the middle facing his compatriot Abdul Razzaq to the middle; adding to the intensity& drama, with both players having been involved in a minor skirmish during the Hyderabad innings. The Lahore fifty came about in only the 4th over of the Lahore innings, with Farhat playing some delightful strokes, much to the delight of a packed & vociferous Sardar Patel stadium.
Harris introduced his twin spin attack in form of Reddy & Boje as early as the fifth over who did pull back the scoring ,resulting in the wicket of the dangerous Rana Naved, scalped by Boje for 22, in the critical 10th over. The half way mark of their innings had the game “Even-Stevens” with the Lahore side placed at 91/2, needing another 80 runs from 60 balls.
Imran Farhat who has been the major run getter in the last few crucial games for the Lahore Badshahs was however playing a determined innings & brought about his fourth ICL fifty in the 12th over coming off only 31 balls; studded with 4 fours & same number of sixes.
Farhat’s sparkling innings of 65 came to an end when Anirudh Singh had him caught at long off by Reddy in the crucial 14th over Inzamam did not last too long castled by Harris in the 15th over with only 5 runs against his name. The wily Harris was not done and a brilliantly executed run-out of the great Mohammad Yousuf had the defending champions right back in the game at the Lahore score of 137/5.
With 5 overs to go the Lahore side held the slight edge needing only 30 runs off as many balls & five wickets in hand. The only hitch was of Lahore having two new batsmen at the crease. Reddy came back for his second spell in the 16th over to knock off a tentative Shahid Yousuf to reduce Lahore to 142/6, triggering a mini collapse in the mighty Lahore batting lineup.
The penultimate over stage has the Lahore side needing 14 runs off 12 balls & the experienced Azhar Mahmood holding the key for the mighty Lahore Badshahs. In the end it was a crucial 32run partnership of the 7th wicket between Mahmood & Khalid that saw the Lahore Badshahs draw first blood in the best of three finals.