Badshahs reign in the battle of Punjab
Lahore Badshahs 187 for 6 (Imran Farhat 94, Humayun 48, Hall 3-30, Tuffey 3-38) beat Chandigarh Lions 149 for 7 (Martyn 44) by 38 runs
Imran Farhat, with a 54-ball 94, lit up the match between the Punjab teams - Chandigarh and Lahore being the capital cities of the Punjabs in India and Pakistan. Imran's fiery knock in Panchkula was the highlight of what turned out to be a tame contest, as the Chandigarh Lions never looked in the hunt while chasing the Lahore Badshahs' imposing 187.
The two teams observed a minute's silence before the start of play in tribute to former Pakistan wicketkeeper Taslim Arif, who died last week, but things weren't quiet once the Badshahs took charge with the bat. Imran blazed away, and 17 runs came off the fourth over bowled by Daryl Tuffey.
Humayan Farhat joined his brother at the dismissal of Imran Nazir, and they made life difficult for the bowlers for nearly half the innings. Fifteen came off the seventh over, after which the Badshahs were at 66 for 1, but the Lions temporarily pegged them back with the next three costing only eight runs - Dinesh Mongia conceding only eight off his two, including a rare Twenty20 maiden.
However, Imran soon got accustomed to the left-arm offering from Mongia and Tejinder Pal Singh, and 57 runs came off the next four overs shared by the two. Six of Imran's eight sixes came in those overs, the second of which should have resulted in a wicket for Mongia but which Tuffey at long-off only managed to guide over the boundary. Lou Vincent, also guilty of offering Imran a reprieve at long-off, was hammered for 19 in the 15th over; Humayan came to the party as well, smashing two sixes after his brother hit his eighth.
Imran, with the hundred for the taking, scooped Tuffey straight to short fine leg on 94, and Naved Latif was nailed the next ball. A misfield gave Inzamam-ul-Haq a four on the hat-trick ball, but the Lions did well to concede only 31 runs off the final four overs. Tuffey got his third with the wicket of Humayan for 48, and Andrew Hall struck off the final two deliveries as the Badshahs closed at 187 for 6.
The Lions' chase was rocked in the first over as Azhar Mahmood accounted for the openers off successive deliveries, and they never recovered from then on. TP Singh provided some momentum with a 14-ball 23 but Shahid Nazir removed him and Manish Sharma in consecutive overs. Dinesh Mongia and Andrew Hall raised hopes of a fightback, but the asking-rate, compounded by the poor start, ultimately proved too much to overhaul.
The Badshahs' 187 and Imran's 94 were the highest total and individual score of the tournament thus far - by a considerable margin too - and with the kind of form they displayed on Sunday night, it won't be a surprise if they are No. 1 when the tournament draws to a close.