Rockets go down fighting to Badshahs
Lahore Badshahs 151 for 9 (Raza 43, Kalia 4-20) beat Ahmedabad Rockets 140 for 6 (Jain 43) by 11 runs Scorecard
The undefeated reign of the Lahore Badshahs came under threat on more than one occasion in the battle between the two new Indian Cricket League outfits in Hyderabad. It was the last match of the league stage for both teams, ironically at different ends of the spectrum; both had got off to winning starts in their first game of the tournament, but while the Badshahs had conquered all other teams on their way, the Ahmedabad Rockets had fizzled out after a successful launch.
The Badshahs, who had rested a few key players in their previous game, were back to full strength for the final match ahead of their semi-final clash against the Kolkata Tigers on April 2. Inzamam-ul-Haq decided to bat at the toss, and though Imran Farhat fell early, Imran Nazir and Taufeeq Umar set up a solid foundation with a 60-run stand.
Sumit Kalia then thrust the Rockets into ascendancy with three wickets in the tenth over - removing Umar, Nazir and Humayun Farhat for a first-ball duck - to leave the Badshahs in peril at 62 for 4. Kalia wasn't done though and got the emperor, Inzamam, in his next over; his spell at close read 4-0-20-4. Hasan Raza led a revival with his 34-ball 43, but four wickets in seven balls meant the Badshahs were headed for a score around 140.
However, Heath Streak's sky-high confidence of having dismissed Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Sami off the first two balls of the 20th over were quickly grounded when Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who's been given the green signal to play for Yorkshire, smacked two sixes and a four to push his team's score to 151.
The Badshahs bowlers began chipping away early, and by the seventh over, the Rockets were reduced to 43 for 4. Sridharan Sriram and Anshu Jain then strung together a 48-run stand. Mushtaq Ahmed got Sriram to tickle one to the wicketkeeper Humayan, and the Rockets needed a further 63 from 42 with five wickets remaining.
Jain didn't give up and Streak gave him company at the other end, and the equation came down to 22 off 12. Naved-ul-Hasan was entrusted the ball for the penultimate over, and there was no reciprocation of favours towards Streak, as only four runs were conceded, Streak having managed only two off four deliveries. Mahmood's task of bowling the final over was made easier, and he didn't make a mess of it as the Badshahs extended their winning streak to seven, romping home in a 11-run win, their closest match so far in the tournament.