Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lahore Badshah win ICL debut against Chennai Superstars

Defending ICL Champions Chennai Superstars got their Edelweiss 20s Challenge campaign underway against the Lahore Badshahs at Panchkula, but despite their pedigree against the tournament debutants, could not conjure up a winning return.

It was instead the Badshahs, led by eventual hero Inzamam-ul-Haq, who claimed the points, prize money and credit, with a nerveless five-wicket victory.

The Superstars, batting first, recovered from a wobbly beginning to post a competitive total, setting the Badshahs 158 runs to win from their 20 overs, after they had allowed Chennai to strike back later on.

Having won the toss, Chennai captain Rajagopal Satish elected to bat on a hard looking surface that displayed the lightest touch of greenness. He may have regretted the decision quite swiftly, as supposed chief batsman Neil Harvey perished to Naved’s medium pace for just five runs, having used up 13 deliveries.

The same bowler got Russell Arnold’s wicket in the fifth over, and this saw Hemang Badani walk out to the middle with the score 22-2, testament to Naved and Azhar Mahmood’s tight new ball seam bowling.

Soon Badani & Bevan got into the repair act with Badani opening his shoulders hitting consecutive boundaries off Riaz Afridi in the 7th over.

Badani and Bevan stayed together until the 14th over, when the former was run out by some good work in the field by Naved Latif, but by this point the Superstars had reached 82-3. Skipper Satich came in looking to aggressively up the run rate, but only scored seven before being bowled by Riaz Afridi.

Michael Bevan was eventually snaffled by Inzamam-ul-Haq off the bowling of Saqlain in the 19th over, but not before he had added 56 runs from 53 balls.

Syed Mohammad then came and had some fun, smashing 15 runs off five deliveries at the end as the Superstars mustered 157-6. When the Lahore Badshahs came to respond, they sent in their two trusty Imrans, Farhat and Nazir, who built a solid foundation augmented by some pretty boundaries, and had scored 32 early in the fourth over when Farhat was bowled by Tamil Kumaran for 20.

Kumaran had been the most successful bowler of last season’s ICL, and he showed his Twenty20 credentials again by adding the scalps of Nazir and Humayun Farhat before Lahore could add to the score. On 32-3, they looked in deep trouble.

Then in strode the titanic figure of Inzamam, looking like a medieval warrior wearing a bulky suit of armour. Apart from a let off in the 11th over, when Adam Parore fluffed a chance from Syed’s bowling, he combined perfectly with Naved Latif. The pair’s approach to the repair work characterised the fourth wicket partnership, and the Badshahs eventually found themselves on 107/4 at the end of the 15 overs.

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