Delhi Giants 148 for 4 (Abbas Ali 52, Bali 47*) beat Lahore Badshahs 147 for 5 (Mahmood 67*, Murtaza 4-7) by six wickets
S Abbas Ali scored the first half-century for the Delhi Giants this ICL season in a six-wicket win over the Lahore Badshahs at Gurgaon. Chasing 148, thanks largely to Azhar Mahmood's belligerent 69 after Ali Murtaza had Lahore reeling at 63 for 5, Delhi were taken across the finishing line with nine deliveries left. Ali scored a composed 52 and added a match-winning 80 in 11.1 overs with Abhinav Bali to make short change of a competitive total.
Having opted to bat, Lahore's trigger-happy top order fired blanks. Two flashy boundaries and Imran Nazir was on his way, smartly stumped by Phil Nixon off TP Sudhindra's medium-pace. Imran Farhat was dropped by Murtaza on 13, cutting Shane Bond straight to point, but the bowler had his revenge with his first ball. Imran charged down and swung the ball to long-on, where Bond, running backward, showed Murtaza how it was done.
An exceptional stumping from Nixon sent back Humayun Farhat for 7, and in the same over from Murtaza Shahid Yousuf failed to pick an arm ball. A trademark elegant six over deep midwicket hinted that Inzamam-ul-Haq, Lahore's captain, may be onto something finally but he became Murtaza's fourth victim. Struck dead in front of the stumps, Inzamam was a goner. Murtaza's miserly spell of 4-0-7-4 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.
From 63 for 5, it took a special innings from Mahmood to lift Lahore to a competitive total. Aggressive from the start, Mahmood tonked Sudhindra for 14 in three balls during the 15th over before training his sights on JP Yadav. Clearing his front leg and hammering the ball sweetly, Mahmood plundered five sixes to finish on 67 from just 39 balls. Seventy-three runs came in the last six overs.
In reply Marvan Atapattu went early, hitting two orthodox drives through extra cover and then edging Naved-ul-Hasan to slip. Mahmood then dismissed Mohnish Mishra with his seventh delivery and when Shahid Nazir bowled Dhruv Mahajan with his second, Delhi were wobbling. Their run rate at this stage, however, was a very healthy 8.83.
Going into this match none of Delhi's batsmen had managed a fifty in the tournament. Tonight, chasing 148, Ali rectified that with a good innings. His average before today had been 13.50 and big score was due; thankfully for Delhi, he delivered.
Ali didn't blaze away, but instead nudged the ball into the gaps and ran hard with Bali. Only when Tahir Mughal erred in line did he free his arms, twice pinging the boundaries in an over. Inzamam turned his arm over for the first time in eons and Ali smashed the ball over extra cover for a six to reach his half-century off 43 balls. This prompted Bali to do the same to Saqlain Mushtaq before Humayun stumped Ali for 52 to give Inzamam a wicket. Bali hit consecutive boundaries through the off side to wrap up the win in 18.3 overs. He was not out on 47.
Lahore had picked up steam in their last two games, but despite this loss they remain at fourth in the points table. Lahore will need to keep winning to stay clear of Hyderabad and Chandigarh, both of whom have played lesser matches.