Lahore march towards the semi finals
The 33rd match of the ICL 20s Indian Championship featured the clash of the internationals; Lahore Badshahs & Dhaka Warriors, in a virtual quarter final at ICL’s Sparkling new facility Sardar Patel stadium Ahmedabad.
A clinical all round display of some high class seam & seam bowling, followed by some aggressive batting saw the mighty Lahore Badshahs romp home to an easy 5 wicket victory. Rana Naved was declared man of the match for a great bowing spell followed by a sparkling knock of 64.
Earlier in the evening Inzamam Ul Haq, won the toss and elected to field first. The Dhaka openers Nazimuddin & Shahriar Nafees got off to a confident start, placed at 40 for no loss at the end of the first five overs. Some tight overs by the impressive Shahid Nazir pulled back the scoring rate for the Dhaka openers.
Inzamam introduced his premier spinner Saqlian Mushtaq in the 8th over who delivered with immediate effect, castling the dangerous Nazimuddin with his third variation (christened as the “Jalebi” by the legendary Tony Greig), following his pioneering “doosra”; ending the 51 run partnership for the opening wicket. At the half way mark of their innings the Dhaka juggernaut was pulled back by some fine bowling from Nazir & Saqlain at 69/1.
A brilliant catch in the outfield by Imran Farhat gave the legendary Saqlian his second wicket of the match in form of Shahriar Nafees out for a well made 35 in the 12th over. Rana Naved came back for his second spell in the 13th over scalping two big wickets of Aftab Ahmed & Mahbubul Karim to leave the Dhaka batting in some trouble at 94/4. With 5 overs to go the Dhaka side were placed at 108/4 and the talented Alok Kapali holding the key for the Bangladeshi side.
However the legendary Saqlian had other ideas forcing a mistimed shot by Kapali to pickup his third scalp of the match in the 16th over. The Dhaka innings finally folded at 145/7 in their allotted 20 overs. The Lahore bowlers were spot on the final five death overs of the innings picking three wickets for only 37 runs at that stage of the match. The pick of the bowlers were Rana Naved & Saqlain finishing their spells with 3 wickets a piece.
Tapash Baisya struck early getting the dangerous Imran Farhat to nick one to the slips to leave the Lahore side with a shaky start at 3/1 in the 2nd over. Farhat’s wicket brought the inform Rana Naved to the crease who in company of the explosive Imran Nazir, blasted the score to 48 /1 at the end of the 4th over; taking the Dhaka bowlers to cleaners. Nazir however fell in the 5th over going for a shot too many ending his entertaining cameo of 27 off 15 balls; laced with 5 fours and 1 six.
The stage was set for the legendary debutant Mohammad Yousuf who got off in grand style scoring three boundaries off the first three balls of Baisya. However his innings was cut short off the next ball by Baisya who got the Pakistani ace to nick one to the keeper to bring back the Dhaka side backing the game at 68/3 in the 6th over. The 10 over mark had the Lahore side right in front at 92/3 needing only another 54 runs off 60 balls & Inzamam and Rana Naved looking solid in the middle.
Rana Naved brought about his second ICL fifty with a big six over long on in the 12th over coming off only 29 balls and studded with 4 fours and 4 sixes. Rana’s powered two more sixes off consecutive balls in the same over before getting caught on long on to end his brilliant knock of 64 in an eventful 12th over from Mohammad Rafique. In the end it was easy toying of a modest total for the Lahore side that saw them romp home to their fourth win of the tournament by 5 wickets.