Heroes conquer Badshahs in bowl-out
Hyderabad Heroes 130 (Rayudu 46*, Naved-ul-Hasan 5-22) beat Lahore Badshahs 130 for 9 (Nazir 30, Farhat 30, Reddy 4-19, Binny 3-9) in a bowl-out after match tied
The Lahore Badshahs nearly pulled off a great escape in Hyderabad, but the hometown Heroes held their own in a bowl-out to win the third tournament of the Indian Cricket League with a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-three finals.
A largely one-sided affair had turned on its head in the 18th over of the Heroes' chase. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan dismissed Stuart Binny, Anirudh Singh and Chris Harris to trigger panic in a chase that was going along smoothly. Naved-ul-Hasan had 11 to defend off the final over, but he nearly squandered it with two no-balls - and the resultant free hits - first up. A wide levelled the scores, but fortunately for the bowler, Ambati Rayudu, batting on 46, attempted harakiri by going for the single. Alfred Absolem was run out as wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat threw down the stumps. Naved-ul-Hasan finally got his line right for the next delivery; an inswinging yorker castled No. 11 Inder Shekar Reddy, giving the bowler a five-for, and more importantly, handing the Badshahs a chance to level the finals in the bowl-out.
Nicky Boje hit the stumps first for the Heroes to make it 1-0, which remained the same when the delivery from Naved-ul-Hasan failed to swing in, narrowly missing off stump. Absolem missed, so did Shahid Nazir. Reddy hit, but Naved Latif's miss left Heroes captain Harris with the chance to seal the game. He duly obliged, his team clinching the US$625,000 prize money. The distraught Badshahs had themselves to blame: their bowlers fared no better than that of Pakistan's in the Durban bowl-out last year.
Before Naved-ul-Hasan's intervention, the Badshahs did not look like stretching the Heroes to a third final. Inzamam decided to bat his opponents out of the game, but the Heroes showed their upset win in the first final in Panchkula was no fluke. A disciplined effort from the opening bowlers denied the Badshahs a blazing start, with the Imrans - Nazir and Farhat - failing to capitalise on their starts, both falling for 27-ball 30s.
They were the highest scores in the Badshahs' innings as left-arm spinner Reddy and medium-pacer Binny cut through the line-up. Inzamam didn't hide his discontent when he was given out leg-before while sweeping Reddy, replays - and Inzamam himself - indicated that he had edged it on to the pads. Binny struck twice in the 16th over, and at 98 for 6 the Badshahs' chance of making a challenging score of around 150 were quelled and they ended with 130 instead. Reddy had four wickets in the innings, while Binny's figures read an impressive 3-0-9-0.
The Heroes' openers didn't throw it away in hunt of a modest target. The denied the quick bowlers an early breakthrough, and it was Mushtaq Ahmed who removed both Abdul Razzaq and Jimmy Maher for 19.
Boje fell after a run-a-ball 15, but Rayudu held firm at one end as the Heroes eased towards their target. Justin Kemp only managed 3, but when Binny hit two consecutive fours off Shahid Nazir - the first one a bottom-edge that bounced over the keeper's head - they needed only 26 off 20.
Naved-ul-Hasan then came up with the heroics of the 18th over, however, he only managed to stave off the inevitable. Their consistent display in the final made the Heroes worthy winners of the title, though the Badshahs can claim bragging rights having dominated all opposition in the league phase.
Perhaps the irony wasn't lost on the Badshahs; their captain Inzamam and coach Moin Khan were among those who had moved from the Heroes to the recently-formed team, but they left back an ace in Razzaq, who emerged as the Man of the Tournament.