Hyderabad 158 for 7 (Maher 56, Naved 2-33) beat Lahore Badshahs 150 (Shahid Yousuf 51, Boje 2-30) by eight runs
Drama. Farce. Jangling nerves. A great catch. Controversy. A run out. Phew. Game over. Hyderabad Heroes won a thrilling eight-run victory to push the ICL championship into the third final. Abdul Razzaq shocked the top order and Chris Harris rocked the middle to shove Lahore Badshahs to an unexpected defeat.
Lahore needed 27 runs from 14 balls when the catch was taken. Mohammad Sami swung to left of long-off where Justin Kemp twisted his body, stretched his right hand out, dived, plucked the ball, held his balance, and fell inside the boundary line. Controversy followed. The game stopped for at least five minutes as Lahore thought Kemp had touched the boundary. So Sami waited, the crowd sat puzzled, Harris called his men to the edge of the boundary and Inzamam had a chat with the umpires. A complete farce.Inzamam finally signalled Sami to get into the dugout and the new batsman walked in. The argument between the two dugouts continued and angry words were exchanged between Azhar Mahmood and Steve Rixon, Hyderabad's coach.
The game wasn't over, yet, though. Saqlain picked 12 runs off Razzaq in the 19th over with a six and a four and the equation reduced to nine runs from six balls. Shahid Nazir panicked first ball as he failed to connect with the shot and tried to steal a leg bye but was caught out by a direct hit from Chris Harris.
The end only reflected what a strange match it was. Lahore appeared to have got one hand on the trophy when they restricted Hyderabad to 158 but stumbled badly in the chase. The spirited duo of Sami and Saqlain got them close in the end but the chase lacked firepower at the start.
Razzaq harassed Imran Nazir with length deliveries that shaped away before ending his misery with an in dipper. He struck again almost immediately removing Naved-ul-Hasan with the one that straightened off a length to hit the off stump.
Shahid Yousuf created some momentum with a brisk innings. He hit Razzaq for three boundaries in the fifth over and slammed four boundaries that included one big six over long-on off Stuart Binny. Imran Farhat, who remained a patient witness to the Yousuf attack, fell to a rush of blood to trigger a collapse. He charged out to Nicky Boje, only to be stumped leaving Lahore wobbling at 53 for 3.
Harris tightened the noose further by luring Mohammad Yousuf to hole out to the cow corner and Shahid Yousuf to feather a catch down the leg side. And when Inzamam swept Inder Shekhar Reddy straight to long-leg, it was all but over. Lahore needed 72 from 44 balls and the lower order, especially Sami and Saqlain, tried their best but couldn't finish it.
Earlier, Saqlain and Shahid Nazir had triggered Lahore's comeback after Jimmy Maher had got Hyderabad to a flier. It was a fine little innings from Maher who hit through the line repeatedly against the new ball. Mohammad Sami was lifted over mid-on and mid-off, Azhar Mahmood was hit through wide mid-on and midwicket and Naved was hit to long-on and cut over point. The shot of his innings, though, was a disdainful swat past mid-on off Shahid Nazir. In between Imran dropped Maher and Shahid Nazir gave Ibrahim Khaleel a reprieve.
The game swung around with the introduction of Saqlain. Maher had charged to Hyderabad to 63 for 0 in six overs when Saqlain started the stranglehold. He got quite a few to turn in, got some to go straight on and broke a few the other way. Shahid Nazir produced a swinging yorker to remove Maher and hurled a beamer that forced Ibrabhim Khaleel to retire hurt. The twin acts were enough to send Hyderabad in a spin. Saqlain squeezed the runs and the seamers returned to pick up wickets.
At the end of the 11th over the score read 102 for 1 but they added only 56 in the next nine overs as Hyderabad lost the plot. But they regrouped really well to register a dramatic victory.