Hyderabad Heroes clinch a thriller, take ICL to the third final
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 17th November 2008
The Hyderabad Heroes warded off a late challenge from the Lahore Badshahs to clinch the second match of the best-of-three finals in the second season of the Indian Cricket League (ICL). This means that the finals are tied at one apiece, and it would require a third final to break the deadlock.
Inzamam-ul-Haq of the Lahore Badshahs, won the toss and decided to field first after their success in the previous match with a similar strategy. However, this time they came up against a highly aggressive Jimmy Maher, who threatened to take the match away from the Pakistani team with an inning that later, won him the Man-of-the-Match award. His knock of 56 came off only 31 deliveries, and by the time he was out, the Heroes had reached 78/1 in eight overs. A total of around 190 looked likely at this stage, but none of the other batsmen could sustain the momentum, and they crashed to 158/7 in the twenty overs. Surprisingly, Nicky Boje, one of the better Hyderabad batsmen, came out to bat at the number nine position and this played its part in the reduced score.
The target wasn’t huge, but the pitch had begun to get slower. Surprisingly, the quick bowlers – more specifically Abdul Razzaq – did the early damage, and picked up two quick wickets for eight runs. Shahid Yousuf, who hadn’t had a great ICL yet, then joined Imran Farhat, and batted like a man possessed. Such was his dominance that out of the third wicket partnership of 44 runs, his partner had not even scored five.
But at 52/2 in the seventh over, the match turned again as first Farhat, and then Mohammad Yousuf fell in double quick time. Shahid Yousuf completed his maiden ICL fifty off only 27 deliveries, but as then caught down the leg-side by off Chris Harris. Haq departed early, and when Azhar Mahmood and the wicket-keeper Khalid Mahmood also left at 102/8, the match looked all over bar the shouting.
Mohammad Sami and Saqlain Mushtaw had other ideas and they kept hitting the boundaries to keep the Badshahs in hunt. Sami was finally consumed via an unbelievable one-handed effort by Justin Kempt, but the ensuing controversy over the legitimacy of the catch held up play for a good length of time. In the end, the batsman was declared out.
The next eight balls cost 18 runs, and nine were needed at the start of the last over. but Shahid Nazir was run-out, giving the match to the Heroes by a slender margin on eight runs. The third final would be played tomorrow.