Delhi Giants v Hyderabad Heroes, ICL, Panchkula November 1, 2008

Hyderabad fall one run short in thriller

Cricinfo staff

Delhi Giants 144 for 9 (Abbas Ali 53) beat Hyderabad Heroes 143 for 6 (Razzaq 41) by one run

Abbas Ali's 53 was the highest score of the match © ICL

The Delhi Giants foiled the Hyderabad Heroes' attempt to go to the top of the league by clinching a tense one-run victory in Panchkula. Abbas Ali's half-century helped Delhi set a target of 145 and a tight bowling performance, along with a spate of run-outs, restricted Hyderabad to 143 for 6.

The advantage swung repeatedly between the two teams during the course of the match but Hyderabad seemed to have the edge on the final stretch, needing 36 off the last four overs with five wickets in hand. The next two overs from Dale Benkenstein and Ali Murtaza cost only nine runs and Delhi regained lost ground. However, Hyderabad scored 11 off the penultimate over from Shane Bond, reducing the equation to 16 off six balls.

The first four deliveries off the final over were fabulous, Benkenstein found the blockhole each time, and Anirudh Singh and Chris Harris managed only singles off them. Needing sixes off the final two balls to win the game, Anirudh stepped out to the fifth, took it on the full, and slammed it over the long-on boundary. Nerves were fraying in the Delhi camp, but Benkenstein kept his cool and bowled the last one into the blockhole. Anirudh couldn't get under it and ended up edging it past short third man for four.

That the match went down to the final ball, however, was due to some mindless running from Hyderabad. They were cruising at 75 for 1, with Abdul Razzaq and Ambati Rayudu in control, when two wickets off consecutive balls in the 12th over changed the course of the game. Rayudu was run out while attempting a risky second run and Razzaq top-edged the next ball to third man.

The equation at the end of the 12th over - 70 off 48 balls - suddenly favoured Delhi as Hyderabad had two brand new batsmen at the crease. Hyderabad had a formidable middle-order comprising Justin Kemp, Nicky Boje and Stuart Binny but all three were run out in successive overs, leaving the remaining batsmen with one run too many to chase.

The hero of Delhi's innings earlier in the day was Abbas Ali who held the innings together as wickets fell at the other end. He began batting in the fifth over with Delhi on 30 for 2 and immediately hit Syed Sahabuddin for consecutive fours through cover and to fine leg. His 53 came off 39 balls and included eight boundaries and took Delhi to 126 before he was bowled in the 17th over. The innings lost momentum after that but Delhi's bowlers and fielders ensured that 144 was enough to pip Hyderabad.