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October 18, 2008
Match factsOct 19, 2008
Big PictureThe second match of Sunday's double-header at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel in Ahmedabad is between two teams that have had similar starts to the tournament. However, while one team has managed to score points after consecutive losses, the other is still searching for its first victory.
Ahmedabad Rockets had started the tournament poorly, with two defeats in Hyderabad. However, they claimed their first points by beating the Mumbai Champs in front of a vociferous and partisan home crowd on Friday and will aim to keep that momentum going.
The Lahore Badshahs, the rage of the previous ICL season in which they were finalists of their debut tournament, have been slow in getting off the blocks, losing their first two games. With the lights failing in the inaugural match of the tournament, Lahore were at 30 off six overs chasing 166; they needed 49 to win under the tournament rules. In their second game, they set Royal Bengal Tigers a below-par target of 140. Their key player, Inzamam-ul-Haq, hasn't had an impact so far and there is also pressure on Tahir Mughal, whose 8 off 14 balls at No. 3 punctured Lahore's chances against Bengal.
Lahore's fast bowlers have also been expensive. Mohammad Sami conceded nine an over in the first game and had an economy-rate of 7.66 in the second. Shahid Nazir leaked 35 runs in three overs against Bengal, and Inzamam had to try Imran Farhat's part-time legbreaks as an alternative. Inzamam also indicated that the legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed was likely to play since spinners have been effective in the tournament so far.
Players to watchSaqlain Mushtaq played only two matches for Surrey during this year's Twenty20 Cup in England but picked up six wickets. He's carried that form into the ICL, taking 2 for 19 in four overs in the second match, the only wickets to fall in Bengal's innings. He may be 31 and injuries may have slowed him down but experience and the doosra remain potent weapons in Saqlain's arsenal.
Imran Nazir was Lahore's highest run-scorer in the previous season, with 274 runs at a strike-rate of 130, but he's scored only 19 and 9 so far in this tournament. He takes as many risks as Evel Knievel but his hand-eye coordination is so good that, on his day, he could bat the opposition out of the match.
Ryan Campbell, a former Australian wicketkeeper, is a new ICL recruit and he didn't take very long to have an impact. After making a duck and 5 in the first two games, Campbell exploded against Mumbai with a blistering 92 off 51 balls with four sixes. Lahore haven't played him before so he could take them by surprise.
Jason Gillespie's greying hair makes him look older than 33 but he has held his own in the slam-bang ICL environment. Operating with the new ball, he took 1 for 35 in the first game, 0 for 7 in the next, and 1 for 16 in Ahmedabad's first win of the tournament. He and Heath Streak have a wealth of international experience and are likely to play a crucial role in their team's fortunes.
Quotes"We had a tough time but we hope to put everything behind us and win our next matches. Everyone is working hard to get back to winning ways."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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