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March 21, 2008
Hyderabad Heroes 175 for 4 (Maher 84, Rayudu 65) beat Ahmedabad Rockets 127 (Absolem 7-15) by 52 runs
Steve Rixon's decision to play Alfred Absolem in Hyderabad's fourth game proved an absolute masterstroke, as the right-arm medium-pacer completely destroyed the Ahmedabad Rocket's chase of a VJD-ruled 180 with 7 for 15, the best figures in the ICL to date.
Bowling seam-up and regularly hitting a nagging length, Absolem first struck to clean up No. 3 Parvez Aziz, who made 35 from 22 balls. Next to go was Wavell Hinds, also cleaned up attempting a big shot. Murray Goodwin and Damien Martyn followed in quick succession, undone by Absolem's sharp movement, and Heath Streak held out to deep extra cover after Nicky Boje spun out top-scorer Sridharan Sriram.
Reetinder Sodhi didn't bother the scorers as he lofted his first delivery down to a leaping long-on fielder, who held the catch just inside the ropes. That equalled the most wickets taken in an ICL innings, and when Baburao Yadav missed a straight one first up a record had been set. Absolem and his team-mates whooped it up on the field as Rixon rocked back and forth in laughter on the sidelines. It was a super performance and there was nowhere else to look when handing out the Man-of-the-Match performance.
Absolem's magnificence was in keeping with the Heroes' batting. Jimmy Maher and Ambati Rayudu formed a formidable duo, battering 124 at a breakneck speed, separated by a brief rain interval. The duo came together at the start of the sixth over and proceeded to smash runs all over the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. After showers held up play for a brief while the overs were brought down to 18 but it continued to rain boundaries. Rayudu was especially brutal, hitting 65 off 36 balls with four sixes and six fours. Maher was last out for a 52-ball 84, his second fifty in a row. The Rockets completely fizzled in their chase.
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