Lahore Badshahs secure maiden win
Lahore Badshahs 136 for 9 (Kalia 3-19, Aziz 3-16) beat Ahmedabad Rockets 105 (Saqlain 3-26) by 31 runs
The contest between the Lahore Badshahs and the Ahmedabad Rockets was one of those rare occasions when the bowlers dominated a Twenty20 match. Lahore were restricted to 136 but their bowlers put in a disciplined performance and shot out Ahmedabad Rockets for 105 to clinch their first win of the tournament.
Lahore went into the game without Inzamam-ul-Haq, who suffered from back pain, and were led by Azhar Mahmood. Their batsmen failed once again, setting a target that was neither here nor there, but their bowlers rose to the occasion.
It was Sami and Azhar Mahmood who began the defense. Ryan Campbell, who had played an explosive innings in Ahmedabad's last game, failed to connect with a slog and was bowled in the first over. Mahmood followed up with a low offcutter that breached Damien Martyn's defences.
Ahmedabad scored only 29 off the first six overs, their best batsmen were gone and, despite strong support from a vocal home crowd, the chase was always going to be tough. Naved-ul-Hasan struck with his first ball when Murray Goodwin flashed straight to point and more trouble awaited Ahmedabad in form of Saqlain Mushtaq.
Saqlain's doosra isn't a secret anymore but tonight he produced another unique delivery. With his palm facing midwicket - as opposed to the off side when he bowls the conventional offbreak or doosra to a right hander - Saqlain rolled his fingers over the seam and delivered a ball that went straight through, and quickly at that. S Sriram was lbw while attempting a reverse sweep and Jason Gillespie was bowled.
The match ended when Rakesh Patel holed out at deep square leg and Lahore got into a celebratory huddle as fireworks lit up the sky. The crowd trudged back home disappointed after having a great time in the first half of the game when Sumit Kalia, the left-arm spinner, ran through Lahore.
Kalia's only error today was his drop off Imran Nazir in the first over of the game. Everything else clicked seamlessly for him. His success with the ball began in the eighth over with Lahore comfortably placed at 62 for 1. Kalia got Naved-ul-Hasan stumped before striking twice in his next over: he lured Shahid Yousuf into a mis-hit towards long-off and used the arm-ball to trap Imran Nazir lbw for a run-a-ball 25. By the time he finished his spell - 4-0-19-3 - Lahore had lost their early momentum.
Naved Latif and Khalid Mahmood tried to regroup but Parvez Aziz restricted the damage by removing both in the 17th over. At the innings break it looked like Ahmedabad's bowlers had done enough. Unfortunately for them, their batsmen fell 31 runs short of doing enough to secure the victory.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo