Farhat powers Lions to win over Heros
Imran Farhat (74 not out) scored at a rate of knots to put his team in the driver’s seat and helped them achieve only the second successful run-chase of the ICL Indian 20:20 Championship.
The Chandigarh Lions moved up to second place in the points table with a compelling 6-wicket victory over the Hyderabad Heroes.
Farhat’s innings is now legitimately the highest individual score of the competition. One gauge precisely summed up the match – the Lions totaled for seven sixes in their innings compared to the three struck by the Hyderabad Heroes. Farhat was adjudged the player of the match for his spectacular innings of 74 runs from just 48 balls – a knock that included seven boundaries and five sixes.
Farhat inflicted the momentum in the Lions’ innings, which enabled the likes of Tejinder Pal Singh, Manish Sharma and Chetan Sharma to score at will. Chasing 135 runs for victory, the Lions needed a good start, considering the crumbling state of affairs for teams chasing under lights in the tournament so far. Chetan Sharma fetched victory by shattering Nicky Boje for a soaring six and effecting conquest with 23 balls to spare.
The Pakistan opener smashed as many as five sixes and meticulously amused a relaxed Wednesday evening crowd here at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium. The trouncing for the Heroes destined that the Inzamam-led side would now have to win almost all their matches to stand an outside chance of making the semi-finals.
The pitch materialised to be much enhanced one to bat on and the home side received its initial impetus from Tejinder Pal Singh (19) and Imran Farhat who scored at will and smashed the likes of Mahmood, Razzaq and Shahubuddin too all corners of the park. Singh was finally discharged when he hit the ball back to Shahubuddin, out caught and bowled.
Young batsman Manish Sharma made his debut for the Lions and star batsman Dinesh Mongia made his comeback after missing the first two matches of the event. Manish Sharma didn’t appear like he was making his first appearance when he smashed veteran Azhar Mahmood for a six off the second delivery he faced. The youngster tried to hoist it over midwicket, but managed to edge it over fine-leg – it was a sixer nonetheless!
Farhat and Sharma (15) continued to build a sturdy enterprise and seized the advantage, acquiring 75 runs for the third wicket. They steered the team to 75/2 at the end of ten overs, setting up a wonderful platform for the likes of Mongia, Cairns and Hall to follow. The comportment in which Farhat was striking the ball, Inzy and his boys needed a rather special performance to curtail the flow of runs.
Inzamam-ul-Haq is becoming accustomed to this – first it was former teammate Taufeeq Umar (Delhi Jets opener) who scored a match-winning innings to deny his side victory and today was the turn of another former colleague and left-handed opening batsman Imran Farhat’s turn to replicate the providence. Inzamam used an astounding entirety of eight bowlers, an attempt to cut short Farhat’s blitz and Shahubuddin (1/17) was the only bowler to concede less than six runs per over. Both his senior bowlers Razzaq (1/23), Mahmood (0/29) proved to be a touch too pricey.
Earlier, Andrew Hall (3/18) and Dinesh Mongia (2/21) helped the Chandigarh Lions restrict the Hyderabad Heroes to a modest 134. The total might have been one of substance considering the nature of the tournament but both captains felt that the pitch was a much improved one and had a lot more bounce and pace in offer.
Anirudh Singh (38) continued to impress one and all with his form as he gave the perfect possible start to the Hyderabad Heroes, but unfortunately the young left-hander failed to receive adequate amount of support from his teammates. Ambati Rayudu (22) showed signs of brilliance before stepping down the wicket to Dinesh Mongia and getting stumped by keeper Sarabjeet Singh. The duo of Singh and Rayudu added 48 runs for the second wicket.
The Heroes’ middle-order was fruitless on capitalising on the excellent start and lost heaps of wickets between the period of the 12th and 20th over. A late revival from Harris (18), Boje (16) and Mahmood (16) tattered them through to a rationally decent total.
Left-arm seamer Amit Uniyal (0/37) was the only Lions bowler who conceded a bit too many runs. Everyone else stuck to their individual tasks and their obedience was there to be seen – the Lions conceded only 8 extras in their innings – a statistic that would make coach and former India fast bowler Balwinder Singh Sadhu proud.