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Heroes defeat Champs by 25 runs

The Hyderabad Heroes have defeated the Mumbai Champs by 25 runs to officially classify as the fifth best team at the inaugural season of the Indian Cricket League’s Indian 20:20 Championship.

Lara’s Champs made their last appearance in the season in front of a Saturday afternoon audience here at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula.

Abdul Razzaq was declare the player of the match for his explosive innings of 67 runs from just 33 balls – a knock that included 7 massive sixes. The Pakistani all-rounder claimed the wicket of Subhojit Paul to follow up on his effort with the bat.

Chasing a formidable target of 180, the Champs stumbled to 150/6 in reply, despite power-packed performances from Vikram Solanki (45 runs from 24 balls) and Shreyas Khanolkar (51 runs from 39 balls). The duo got the team to a flying start after wicket-keeper batsman Subhojit Paul was dismissed bowled by Abdul Razzaq for 3 runs.

Azhar Mahmood (2/17) was the star bowler for the Hyderabad Heroes and was ably supported by an economical Nicky Boje (1/16), Chris Harris (0/22) and Razzaq (1/35).

Brian Lara looked a class apart when he played two exquisite trademark cover drives, with the ball speeding away to the boundary, but couldn’t manage to sustain the flow after he stepped down the wicket to Nicky Boje’s bowling and got stumped by Khaleel.

Khanolkar’s dismissal in the 17th over sealed the match in the Heroes’ fate and hopes were rested on Nathan Astle, who like Lara, looked in good touch, before edging an Azhar Mahmood delivery to mid off where Shashang Nag pounced on the opportunity.

Azhar Mahmood snapped two of Mumbai Champs’ three wickets in the space of four deliveries (Astle and Powar) to leave the Lara-led team reeling on 138/6. The Champs needed an impossible 36 runs to win off the last over. Ranjeet Khirid managed to strike a six and a four to wrap up the proceedings, falling short by a massive 25 runs.

Earlier, the volatile unbeaten duo of Abdul Razzaq (67) and Chris Harris (49) steered the Hyderabad Heroes to a tremendous total of 179/3 at the close of 20 overs. They managed a stupendous 120 runs in the last 10 overs – after their team was in a devious state on 59/3 at the halfway stage.

Shashang Nag and Nicky Boje opened the batting for the Hyderabad Heroes after stand-in captain Ambati Rayudu won the toss and elected to bat first. The duo added 50 runs for the first-wicket partnership before Nicky Boje played a Ranjeet Khirid on to the stumps to fall for a brisk 15. Rayudu (4) did not last long, edging one to Kiran Powar at point.

Ranjeeth Khirid took all the three wickets to have fallen in the Heroes innings. He bowled Nag (35) with a beauty and the dismissal brought Chris Harris to the wicket in the 10th over and the rest of the innings was all about the Razzaq-Harris show!

The Pakistani-Kiwi combination accounted for an unbeaten partnership of 120 runs, walloping nine sixes in all. Razzaq maintained a staggering strike rate of 203 and Harris was not far behind on 153.

The two teams have made their last appearances at the inaugural tournament and will be back in March for the 50-50 over tournament. Lara ended the event with just 31 runs from 6 matches – quite a forgettable performance by the Trinidadian.

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