Kapali century in vain as Hyderabad win thriller
Hyderabad Heroes 171 for 6 (Harris 37*, Boje 31) beat Dhaka Warriors 168 for 9 (Kapali 100, Boje 3-20) by 4 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was another last-over thriller in Hyderabad. Alok Kapali hit the first ton in ICL history but finished on the losing side as the Hyderabad Heroes overhauled the target of 169 set by the Dhaka Warriors with a complete team effort.
Hyderabad got the target down to 13 runs from the last over bowled by Farhad Reza. Chris Harris sliced the second delivery to the backward point boundary to reduce the target to 8 from 4. He launched the next one over the sightscreen before spearing the fourth ball to the extra cover boundary. Game over.
Dhaka had almost clinched it in the penultimate over when the final turning point of the game happened. Requiring 17 runs from seven balls, Harris lifted Mohammad Rafique to the right of long-off and Reza had it seemingly covered but spilled it in the end.
It was that kind of a night - just when you relaxed, a partnership would form and as soon as you thought Hyderabad were getting ahead, some one would get out. It was a complete tease act. It had everything: Fours, sixes, wickets, run outs and vital dropped catches.
Jimmy Maher started with a flurry of boundaries, Abdul Razzaq bludgeoned 27 that included the shot of the night: a fierce slice off the medium-pacer Mohammad Sharif that skimmed over backward point boundary. Along with Justin Kemp he picked 19 runs in the fifth over bowled by Reza, but was cleaned up by the same bowler. When Kemp fell immediately to make it 73 for 4, it looked as if the target was beyond Hyderabad but Stuart Binny provided the shot in the arm with four crucial boundaries in a breezy innings of 30, but again got out at the wrong time. Or so it seemed.
The score read 115 for 5 in the 14th over; surely it was over now? However, Nicky Boje and Harris kept the game on a knife-edge. They ran hard, hit the odd boundary, kept Dhaka on their toes and had reduced the equation when Boje was run out. He turned for the second run after Harris had hit the ball to long-off but couldn't beat the throw from Aftab Ahmed.
At that point Hyderabad needed 28 from 15 balls and Harris expertly farmed the strike to steer his side home.
Spare a thought for Kapali, though. In June 2008, he hit a dazzling maiden ton against India in the Asia Cup but had to finish on the losing side. It was another one-man show from him tonight. Dhaka had lost wickets in a clutch at the top before he shared a 77-run partnership with Dhiman Ghosh, whose managed just eight.
Similar to his innings in the Asia Cup, Kapali started off slowly, offering the full face of the bat. He was out of the Bangladesh team for a long time due to his failures, which were, by his own admission, triggered by his penchant to play across the line too early in his innings. Even as he tried to settle down here, the team situation worsened by the minute.
Kapali finally decided it was time to counterattack when Dhaka were tottering at 57 for 5. For the first time he went across the line, pulling Chris Harris for a six. He repeated the dose against the left-arm spinner Inder Shekar Reddy but it was in the 13th over, bowled by the slow bowler Pagadala Niranjan, that he really turned on the heat.
Two exquisite shots over extra cover were sandwiched with a feisty cut and the pressure was off. Hyderabad were always going to struggle in the middle overs with the innocuous slow men Reddy and Niranjan in operation and Kapali cashed in in style.
Harris tried the medium-pace of Syed Sahabuddin but Kapali hit him for three consecutive fours between square leg and midwicket. Harris then brought on Stuart Binny and the change almost worked but Sahabuddin dropped a top-edged skier from Kapali, who was on 71.
Kapali began to go after Harris, hitting him to the sight screen and over the dugout for two big sixes. He brought up his hundred with a chip to midwicket, and though Reza was run out trying for the second run, there were big celebrations.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo