Badshahs in seventh heaven
Lahore Badshahs kept a blemish-less record in their maiden ICL series, defeating the hapless Ahmedabad Rockets by 11 runs in a thrilling encounter.
The Rockets, who had to score 22 runs off the last two overs, were reduced to 139 for six in the final over as Anshu Jain (43 off 42 deliveries) ran himself out trying to get to the batting end to leave his team needing 13 runs from two deliveries.
Zimbabwean Streak and Jain played valiant knocks scoring over 70 runs between them and were left to score 22 runs off the last two overs. Rana Naved, who bowled the 19th over conceded four runs off six deliveries, leaving the Rockets to score 18 off the last over. Streak remained unbeaten with 19 as the Rockets ended on 140 runs.
The Rockets began their chase with a first ball boundary from West Indian Wavell Hinds though the Badshahs pulled things back through Azhar Mahmood and Mohammed Sami who picked up three wickets by the sixth over. And with Mushtaq Ahmed getting Parviz Aziz stumped by Humayun Farhat, things looked bleak indeed for the Ahmedabad Rockets.
Sridharan Sriram (28 off 20 balls) and Anshu Jain batted well and put on 26 runs and looked set for a long stint at the wicket, but the wily leg-spinner struck again with a flipper that went past Sriram into Farhat's safe gloves behind the stumps to leave the Rockets tottering at 67 for five.
For the Badshahs, Mohammad Sami and Mushtaq Ahmed claimed two wickets each with Sami picking up two wickets in his first over which was also a maiden. The impact of the Badshah bowlers can be judged from the fact that the Rockets managed only eight boundaries and a six till the 14th over.
The Badshahs seemed less than hundred percent while batting and never really recovered from the blow that Heath Streak struck when he got opener Imran Farhat leg before to the first ball of the innings. Though Imran Nazir (28 from 25 balls) and Taufeeq Umar (29 off 31) put on 61 runs for the second wicket, they never cut loose against some tight bowling from the Rockets.
And when Sumit Kalia came in to bowl his slow left-arm spin, things just seemed to snap for the Badshahs who lost four quick wickets for just 19 runs, including those of Nazir, Umar, Humayun Farhat and Captain Inzamam ul Haq. Kalia kept a tight line and flighted the ball to impart some spin, a factor that contributed to two stumpings by keeper Pallav Vora as the batsmen rushed out and missed the ball.
When Sridharan Sriram replaced Kalia, this former Tamil Nadu and India player managed to continue his good work, picking up the wickets of Naved Latif (11) and Hasan Raza, who top scored with 44 runs off 32 balls with four boundaries and two towering sixes. The duo put on 47 runs for the sixth wicket and thereafter the innings lost momentum totally as Streak returned to clean up Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad sami off successive balls.
That the Badshahs crossed the psychological barrier of 150 runs was thanks to three powerful hits by Rana Naved ul Hasan who smashed two boundaries and a six in the final over to take the visitors to 151 off their 20 overs, their lowest total so far in the ICL tournament.