16
Nov
08

ICL final – Heroes win a thrilling match

 Whoever said ICL is a damp squib. All of you who said that should’ve watched todays second final between Hyderabad Heroes and Lahore Badshahs. It had all the ingredients of a roller coaster T20 ride. Big hits, out of the world catches, some brilliant fielding and even a kind of spat towards the close. The Heroes eventually won a match, which in my belief is probably one of the best T20 games ever.

The Heroes batting first got off a flyer with Aussie Jimmy Maher scoring a quickfire and by the time he got out they had reached 78 in just eight overs. Although they lost their way midway through the innings, the Heroes managed to set a challenging target of 158 runs. Azhar Mehmood and Rana Naved bowled well to get two wickets apiece for the Badshahs. Later, the Pakistani team did not get on to a great start losing two wickets even before the scorecard read 10. However a big hitting Shahid Yousuf seemed to take the match away from the Hyderabadis with a 51 off just 27 balls, sending the ball thrice ut of the park in the process, captain Chris Harris taking his price wicket. But none of the other batsmen could enjoy any success as the Bashahs were soon reduced to 102/, bowlers Abdur Razzaq, Stuart Binny, Nicky Boje and captain Harris delivering the goods. Hyderabad looked all set to level the 3 match final. But Saqlain Mushtaq who has been bowling brilliantly throughout the series had other ideas. He along with Mohammad Sami took the score to 132 with 3 overs left when Justin Kemp pulled of a blinder of a catch at the boundary getting Sami’s wicket. At this point there was some tension in the field as Sami refused to leave the ground even as the third umpire ruled him out. For a period of 15 minutes, there were lengthy discussions between Lahore captain Inzamam ul-Haq and the umpires. Sami eventually left the field making way for the last man Shahid Nazir to join Saqlain with Pakistan still 29 runs away from victory. Nazir hit a six and then played some sensible cricket with Saqlain scoring singles. The Heroes needed 9 runs off the last over as Chris Harris turned the ball to Alfred Absolem. Absolem hit Nazir’s pads the first ball but an LBW appeal was turned down by the umpire. However as Nazir tried to squeeze through a single, he was brilliantly run out by Harris. Saqlain was left stranded at 22. Heroes won the match by 9 runs and leveled the series.  

Jimmy Maher was declared man of the match later. But eventually it was the match itself that mattered, having all the highs and lows that you would expect from a  T20 game. Inzamam and team could face discliplianry action for Sami’s refusal to heed to the umpire’s decision. No matter what, Sami had no right to stay at the crease after being given out by the third umpire.

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