Hyderabad coast to nine-wicket win
Hyderabad Heroes145 for 1 (Razzaq 66, Maher 48*) beat Chandigarh Lions(Mongia 38, Reddy 2-15, Boje 2-21) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-details
It was the day of the openers in Game 19 of the ICL 20-20 Indian Championship. Jimmy Maher and Abdur Razzaq ensured it was a canter at the end for the Hyderabad Heroes as they thrashed the Chandigarh Lions by nine wickets after Lou Vincent and Sarabjit Singh had given them a promising start. But in the end, it was all about converting those starts, as Maher and Razzaq completely dominated the Chandigarh attack.
Maher set the tone, scoring two fours in the second over of the innings from Darrell Tuffey. And once Razzaq dispatched Amit Uniyal thrice to the boundary the very next over, Chandigarh were in for a tough time. Sedate in one over, and on the rampage the very next - this was the policy followed by the openers.
Three consecutive boundaries off Tuffey in the sixth over prompted Chris Cairns to bring on the spinners early. But any hopes of Dinesh Mongia and Rakesh Sharma stemming the run flow quickly evaporated as both batsmen looked to be like men possessed. Razzaq took two sixes and a four off Mongia in the 11th over and Hyderabad reached 100 in the 14th over. And even though Razzaq departed with the score on 123, Maher and Ambati Rayudu safely guided Hyderabad home with ten balls to spare.
This was always going to be a crucial match with both teams requiring much-needed breathing space at the top of the table, with four teams locked on four points. Two points from this match would mean the secure No. 3 spot in the points table.
Sarabjit looked to have given Chandigarh the perfect start after they elected to bat, with a straight drive for four off the first ball of the match by Razzaq. Vincent also came down heavily on Syed Sahabuddin, dispatching him for two boundaries in the fourth over off identical shots - down on one knee and smashing it to fine leg.
They raced to 39 at the end of the fourth over, which forced Chris Harris into an early change which paid off immediately. Inder Shekar Reddy's second ball trapped Vincent plumb in front of middle stump while trying to paddle it towards the leg side.
Hyderabad turned on the pressure as Chandigarh clearly looked to be struggling, with the run rate dipping with the fall of quick wickets. Cairns didn't last long, caught superbly by Stuart Binny off Razzaq after having hit a boundary to long leg the previous ball. A double blow followed in Nicky Boje's next over as Sarabjit held out to Justin Kemp while looking to up the scoring rate.
The run rate fell from 8 to 6 by the 11th over as Chandigarh looked in damage control mode. TP Singh was a handed a lifeline by Reddy, who tipped over a catch at the deep square leg. But Reddy redeemed himself tin the very next over when Binny showed him how it's done at deep midwicket.
Mongia, the hero for Chandigarh many a time, was fast running out of partners. Harris and Boje tightened the noose. But even his 32-ball 38 wasn't enough for Chandigarh to post a competitive score, ending on a disappointing.
Chandigarh's next game is against the in-form Royal Bengal Tigers and will need to step up their game if they harbour any hopes of making the semis. Hyderabad, on the other hand, can afford to relax for the time being.