Klusener's 91 fails to halt Badshahs' march
Lahore Badshahs 182 for 7 (Imran Nazir 42, Humayun 39, Shibsagar 2-19) beat Kolkata Tigers 175 for 4 (Klusener 91, Shahid 2-12) by seven runs
Even a battling 91 from Lance Klusener couldn't halt the undefeated run of the Lahore Badshahs as the Kolkata Tigers failed to surmount an imposing target of 183.
Klusener's 91 made for half of the Badshahs' total of 182, but a remarkable spell by Shahid Nazir thwarted the efforts of the South African as the Badshahs sealed their place in the final against the Hyderabad Heroes with a seven-run win.
The Tigers' openers raced away while hunting down 183. Klusener, who's been opening the batting in the 20-over format and not the finishing role he primarily played for South Africa, combined with Deep Dasgupta as 60 runs came off the first six overs, including 18 off one from Azhar Mahmood.
Just then, Inzamam-ul-Haq brought on Shahid, who was drafted back into the side, and he did the job, by removing Dasgupta and conceding only two runs off his first over to peg back a run-rate that seemed out of control.
Thirty-four runs came off the following six overs, and two wickets fell - including that of the dangerous Craig McMillan - as the required run-rate climbed up to over 12. Shahid had done the damage, stymying the run-flow in the middle overs with 12 coming from his four, and two wickets as a bonus.
Klusener stepped on the pedal soon, and the Tigers kept in touch with the asking-rate in the next four overs. Mohammad Sami suffered the bulk of the onslaught, giving away 29 in two overs. However, only eight came off the 17th bowled by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, leaving the Tigers with 31 required off the final two.
Not comfortable with trying any of his part-timers, Inzamam threw the ball back to Sami. When five wides were frittered away off the first ball he delivered, Klusener perhaps sensed the kill, and a four next ball brought the equation down to 22 off 10. However, Rohan Gavaskar squandered four balls for just three runs.
Klusener managed a six off Azhar Mahmood, but he too couldn't pull off what he'd done many a time in his international career, falling for 91 off the final delivery sent down.
Inzamam had decided to bat at the toss, but the Badshahs suffered an early blow when Andre Adams had Imran Farhat trapped in the first over. Humayan replaced brother Imran, and along with Imran Nazir, resumed the Badshahs' dominance witnessed through the tournament.
South Africa's pace bowlers may have floored India in Ahmedabad, but Nantie Hayward had no such luck as he was hammered for 27 off his first two overs. It was Klusener who finally got the breakthrough in the tenth over, Humayun Farhat top-edged one to short fine leg.
Shibsagar Singh dismissed Hasan Raza for a duck in the next over, and suddenly the Tigers had clawed their way back to slow down the rampaging Badshahs - from 82 for 1 in nine overs to 95 for 4 in 13.
Naved Latif hit three sixes to gain lost ground, before he was snapped up by Klusener. Mahmood then smashed 24 off just eight balls as Hayward was carted for 20 off the 20th over. Inzamam occupied one end with a sedate - by Twenty20 standards - 28-ball 33 as the Badshahs finished at 182 for 7.
Shibsagar took 2 for 19 off his four overs. Klusener scalped two as well, but that, besides his two catches and 57-ball 91, could only earn him the match prize, as the Tigers missed out on a chance to win the big prize.