Chennai Superstars v Lahore Badshahs, ICL semi-final, Ahmedabad November 9, 2008

Lahore have the momentum

Cricinfo staff

Match facts

Nov 10, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (1400 GMT)


Will Shabbir Ahmed prove to be the difference in the first semi-final? © Shabbir Ahmed
 

The Big Picture

After Sunday's thrilling encounter, the two teams meet yet again in the first semi-final. Chennai Superstars' dominance in the tournament has somewhat faded with two defeats heading into the semi-final, and it's Lahore Badshahs who enter this contest as the favourites.

With big crowds - on Sunday it was in excess of 50,000 - egging them on, Lahore seem to enjoy the atmosphere in Ahmedabad. They returned for the final leg here still unsure of their semi-final spot, unlike Chennai, but finished the league phase in second place, edging out their opponents on Monday by a few decimal points. Three straight wins, nearly all must-win encounters, puts them in good stead for the crunch clash. Add to that their record in Ahmedabad: played four, won four.

Chennai's experience in Ahmedabad is not as impressive, winning only one out of three games. But it's not a team you can write off just yet. Almost their entire line-up has been instrumental in winning matches for them this season, and one out-of-the-box performance could well put the contest out of Lahore's reach.

Form guide (last five matches, most recent first)

Chennai - LLWWW
Lahore - WWWLW

Stats

  • With 14 wickets in the tournament, Naved-ul-Hasan is the joint-highest wicket-taker. He jolted Chennai's chase on Sunday by taking two wickets apiece in back-to-back overs. Another four-wicket haul on Monday, and his team could well be in the final.

  • Chennai's Pakistan fast bowler, Shabbir Ahmed, sat out Sunday's game. He will come up against some of his former Pakistan team-mates in the semi-final, making for an interesting battle. With 11 wickets in six games, he's Chennai highest wicket-taker in the tournament, and some fresh legs is what the side needs in a must-win game.

  • Four hundred and nine runs were scored in Sunday's game, the highest match aggregate in the ICL. A similar aggregate will surely make it entertaining for the spectators flocking to the Sardar Patel Stadium.

Players to watch

With 31 on Sunday, his top score so far in the tournament, Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Lahore captain, showed signs that he is peaking at the right time. The intensity was visible - he even pushed hard for the singles - and if the top order fails to fire in the semi-final, expect him to take charge along with Mohammad Yousuf.

R Sathish made a blistering 38-ball 76 but he failed to get support from the lower order as Lahore clinched victory. His team will want him to fire again, and hope this time it results in victory.

Shahid Nazir took some stick on Sunday - he conceded 43 in four overs, but he picked up three vital wickets. He has been a steady performer in the tournament. He may average only a wicket per game, but his economy-rate of 6.71 makes him an asset.

Four sixes, and five fours, came off Ian Harvey's bat in a 29-ball 54 on Sunday. It was the first half-century in the tournament for one of the ICL's most successful players, and another such performance at the top of the order is what his team will need in the knockout stages. Harvey will also aim to do keep the runs down while bowling - his economy-rate in the tournament is a not-so-impressive 8.12.