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Umar leads Jets to 5-wicket victory

Panchkula, Chandigarh: Taufiiq Umar scored the highest individual score of the tournament, an unbeaten knock of 52, to give the Delhi Jets their first victory and also the first successful run-chase of the ICL 20:20 Indian Championship.

Abbas Ali (44) and Umar (52) added 78 runs for the third wicket to steer the Jets into an unperturbed position, here at the Tau Lal Devi Stadium, amidst packed Sunday afternoon crowd.

Umar smashed six boundaries and a six in his splendid innings and was awarded the man-of-the-match for his match-winning effort. The Jets won the match with 14 balls to spare and claimed two valuable points to move up in the 2007 Championship Points Tally. The Jets were struggling at 35/2 at one stage after Razzaq and Mahmood snapped Mohnish Mishra and Irish batsman Niall O’Brien early, but Ali and Umar played positive strokes and kept the required run rate under check right throughout.

The partnership was finally broken when young Hyderabad seamer Alfred Absolum got Abbas Ali to edge one to wicket-keeper Ibrahim Khaleel. Dale Benkenstein (11) departed quickly, courtesy of a brilliant run out by Chris Harris. The Heroes created a few jitters towards the end but Umar had already set up a comfortable victory for the Jets.
The victory was the first successful run-chase of the tournament – all three matches prior to Sunday’s encounter were won by teams batting first. Delhi Jets’ captain Marvan Atapattu was absent in today’s encounter and his deputy JP Yadav captained the side in his nonattendance.

Earlier, Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat first in game 4 of the ICL 20:20 Indian Championship. A good Sunday crowd was gearing up for some exhilarating action and it were the bowlers who took charge in the morning session. Jets’ bowlers Shalabh Srivastava (0/24) and Taduri Sudhindra (2/25) kept the flow of runs under check and reaped rich rewards in the process. Azhar Mahmood (0) was the first batsman to be dismissed, trapped LBW by Sudhindra. Anirudh Singh (8) and Ambati Rayudu (16) did not last long either.

Rayudu came down the track and attempted to hit Ali Murtaza out of park but was stumped by Paul Nixon. Nicky Boje (45) and Inzamam (34) put on a partnership of 52 runs for the fourth wicket and it appeared as if a total in excess of 150 was on the cards. Inzy played a gem of a knock, consuming only 24 deliveries for his 34 runs, an innings that included five boundaries and a six. Abdul Razzaq (29 not out) gave the finishing touch for the Heroes, by bringing out his expansive strokeplay and entertaining the Sunday afternoon fans that gathered here.

A total of 141/5 looked a decent one – especially considering the state of affairs in the tournament so far. The Jets won the match in less than 18 overs – a truly remarkable effort and one to savour for Umar and the rest.

The Hyderabad Heroes will clash against the Chandigarh Lions on Wednesday, the 5th of December. The Jets, on the other hand, will go up against the Mumbai Champs on Friday, the 7th of December.

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