Lahore Badshahs 168 for 4 (Inzamam 62, Farhat 45) beat Chennai Superstars 165 for 7 (Sathish 37, Badani 37, Naved 3-30) by six wickets
Lahore Badshahs made their second successive ICL final with a masterful performance against Chennai Superstars in Ahmedabad. Lahore have raised their game as the tournament progressed and are peaking at the right moment. The best-of-three finals could be a repeat of the last tournament if Hyderabad Heroes beat the Royal Bengal Tigers in the second semi-final on Tuesday.
Naved-ul-Hasan, who had taken seven wickets in Lahore's last two matches, added three more to his tally to become the tournament's leading wicket-taker. With each of his scalps he swung the momentum back to Lahore. Ian Harvey had more than made up for the fall of his opening partner G Vignesh in the third over when Naved nailed him in the sixth. Harvey hit Mohammad Sami for two fours - in an over that cost 12 - and with Russell Arnold pushed Chennai past 50 when Naved bowled a fuller delivery outside off stump. Harvey tried to loft it but didn't quite get the middle of the bat on it and the catch was taken by Saqlain Mushtaq at mid-off.
Saqlain broke the next two big partnerships as Hemang Badani tried to push Lahore towards the 150-run mark along with Arnold and R Sathish. He conceded only six runs in his first over and the pressure got to the batsmen when he beat Badani with an offbreak at the start of his next. When Arnold came on strike four balls later, he chose to play a defensive shot but the ball beat his bat to take the off stump. Chennai's run-rate had dropped and at the half-way mark they had 86 for 3. But Badani found a capable partner in Sathish, who hit two consecutive fours off Sami. Badani decided to take the attack to Saqlain by launching him for a six over his head. But when he tried to do the same in his next over, he misread Saqlain's straighter delivery and was bowled for 37. Before Chennai could get away again, Naved took two in two overs. That meant Lahore were set a par score to chase.
Chennai would have known that a few wickets could have turned their opposition cautious in a knockout game. But Lahore launched an assault so fierce that even the loss of two wickets in the first five overs kept them waist-high above the required run-rate. Imran Farhat had them hurtling towards the target with a 24-ball 45 that included two sixes in a Nantie Hayward over.
The run-rate slipped a touch at his fall as Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam were content to rotate the strike. But then Inzamam decided he wanted to wrap it up quickly and he picked boundaries off each bowler - Sathish was hit for two sixes, Vignesh, Shabbhir and Harvey for two fours each. He reached his half-century off 28 balls, with 36 coming in boundaries.Inzamam fell when four more were required to make it to the finals and Azhar Mahmood did the needful in three balls.