The second of a best of three finals for the ICL 20s Indian Championship featured defending champions Hyderabad Heroes, having faced a reversal in the first final take on the mighty Lahore Badshahs at Sardar Patel stadium Ahmedabad. A fascinating encounter that was full of twist and turns saw the defending champions scamper home by 8 runs to set up a brilliant Sunday finale to decide the championship. Jimmy Maher was declared man of the match for sparkling half century.
Lahore Badshahs wins first ICL final
The high octane evening earlier saw Inzamam win the toss and put the defending champions, Hyderabad Heroes into bat. The Hyderabad openers Khaleel&Maher got the Hyderabad batting off to a good start, taking the score to 28 for no loss at the end of the 3rd over. Maher was playing a far more positive innings as compared to his previous stint in the first final and raced off to 34 off only 17 balls. At the end of the 5th over, the defending Champions were handsomely placed at 52 for no loss, taking full advantage of some lackluster fielding from the Lahore Badshahs; guilty of dropping three catches till that stage of the match. Maher brought about his third ICL fifty off only 23 balls in the 6th over, studded with 10 hits to the boundary.
It finally took a perfect yorker from the impressive Shahid Nazir to castle Maher, ending the 76 run partnership for the opening wicket in the 8th over. Maher"s sparkling half century was worth 56 runs off 31 balls; laced with 11 boundaries. The half way mark of their innings had Hyderabad set a solid foundation for a strong total, placed at 91/1. A brilliant six over the bowlers head by Razzaq brought about the Hyderabad Heroes 100 in the 11th over, in turn rubbing salt on the bowler Rana Naved, his close adversary from the opposition camp. An unfortunate injury to Khaleel, retiring hurt for a well made 25, followed by the run out of the dangerous Razzaq brought, the Lahore side right back 110/2 in the crucial 13th over region.
The legendary Pakistani reverse swing was on full display in the crucial middle overs, brilliantly executed by the quick Sami, aided well by the legendary Saqlian Mushtaq" tweakers on the other end; pulling the Hyderabad batting juggernaut at 126/3 at the 15th over mark. It was a brilliant comeback from one of the craftiest bowling attacks of the world, giving only 67 runs off the last 10 overs and in turn scalping 6 wickets in that period; restricting the formidable Hyderabad batting lineup at 158/7 in their allotted 20 overs. For the Lahore Badshahs Rana Naved&Azhar Mahmood emerged the most successful bowlers picking two Hyderabadi scalps a piece.
Defending Champions Hyderabad was not going out without a fight, with Razzaq coming up spot on against the formidable Lahore opening combination of the two Imrans. He was soon rewarded for his tight line &length with the wicket of the dangerous Imran Nazir in the 3rd over, trapping him LBW with only 7 runs against his name. Razzaq was not done and got the inform Rana Naved, clean bowled without troubling the scorers; to leave the Lahore chase in trouble at 8/2. a double wicket maiden in form of the 3rd over from the talented Razzaq had the defending Champions right back in the match.
Lahore"s new season-2 signing Shahid Yousuf, joined Farhat in the centre and got into the resurrection act right away racing away to 33 off only 13 balls. At the end of the 6th over Lahore scorecard read a well recovered 46/2. Harris introduced his premiere spinner Nicky Boje in the 7th over who struck immediately with the big wicket of Farhat to make the game “Even-Stevens"&the Lahore scorecard reading 52/3. The half way mark of the Lahore innings had the game fascinatingly poised with the scorecard reading 66/4, needing another 93 runs off 60 balls.
A magnificent six over long off brought about Shahid Yousuf maiden ICL fifty coming off 26 balls, in the 12th over from Harris. However it was Harris who had the last laugh getting Shahid to nick one to the keeper off the very next ball, to leave the Lahore chasse in deep trouble at 81/5. The defending champions were brilliant in the field and with their famed spin attack working full throttle destroyed the Lahore middle order to leave them in complete despair at 103/8 at the 15 over mark, needing a humongous task of 56 runs off the last 30 balls&only two wickets in hand.
Just when it seemed all over for the mighty Lahore Badshahs, a brilliant cameo from Sami ( 18 off 10 balls ,only to be ended by the catch of the century from by Kemp at the long off boundary),ably accompanied by the experience Saqlain took the match to a fascinating climax with Lahore needing 21 runs off 12 balls and only 1 wicket in hand. Saqlain took over the mantle playing some brilliant shots to the boundary off the experienced Razzaq to take the match to the last over with Lahore needing 9 runs off it. In The end a bit off an anti-climax run out off the first ball of the last over saw the Heroes brining the tournament right alive, winning by a narrow margin of 8 runs.
The third final will be played on Sunday.