Heated atmosphere overshadows decider
Match factsNovember 16, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (1400 GMT)
The Big Picture
After plenty of drama and controversy last evening, the ICL finals are poised at 1-1 going in to the decider. A disputed catch led to tension and a rift between the two teams prompted Chris Harris, the Hyderabad Heroes captain and Steve Rixon, the coach, to murmur about the spirit of cricket in the post-match conference, which no one from the Lahore Badshahs attended. The dug outs exchanged angry words and the third final could be played in an edgy atmosphere with more than just the trophy at stake.
Hyderabad stopped the Lahore juggernaut with disciplined bowling on a slow wicket. The batting promised much with Jimmy Maher setting the tempo with a breezy 31-ball 56 but they sleepwalked through the middle overs. Saqlain Mushtaq and Shahid Nazir brought Lahore back in to the game and it seemed they got one hand on the trophy when they restricted Hyderabad to 158. However, they couldn't find any momentum with the bat and the usually free-flowing openers, Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat, struggled to get going and the virus spread to the middle order.
Batting certainly won't get any easier on a pitch which has gotten slower and the spinners will have a bigger role to play. That said, it's up to the batsmen to pile on a score of at least 170 to feel safe.
Form guide (last five matches, most recent first)Hyderabad- WLWWW
Lahore - LWWWW
- Imran has hit the most number of sixes (20) in the tournament and along with Farhat (15 sixes), form the most explosive opening pair in the tournament.
- Hyderabad have hit seven fifty-plus scores while Lahore have crossed fifty eight times. The respective bowling attacks too seem to be even. Naved-ul-Hasan (22 wickets) has done the job with the new ball, while Saqlain (15) and Shahid (10) have chipped in in the middle overs for Lahore. Abdul Razzaq (11 wickets) has attacked with the new ball but the Hyderabad spinners have really squeezed the opposition in the middle overs: The spinners, Nicky Boje and IS Reddy, have shared 30 wickets and Harris has picked 13.
Players to watchAzhar Mahmood v Hyderabad: Mahmood was involved in a war of words with Rixon over the disputed catch at the boundary by Justin Kemp and he will strive to walk the talk tonight.
Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat: Lahore will need their fiery openers to get their act together. They were strangely subdued yesterday.
Chris Harris: His 'dibbly dobbly' bowling is still proving effective. He picked two vital middle-order wickets in the second final and Hyderabad will look to him again to put a stranglehold on the runs.
Nicky Boje: One of Hyderabad's highest run-getters strangely came in very late to bat in the second final. They might push him ahead of Kemp, who has had a horror series with the bat. Boje has combined well with Harris to pick wickets and made the opposition sweat in the middle overs.
Quotes"With the wicket getting bit a slower, with our type of bowlers, I knew we could squeeze things in the middle."
Chris Harris believes his spinners can do the job again.
"The third umpire had given it out; the two on-field umpires gave it out. I won't be surprised if there is some of hearing, if not, I would be very surprised."
Harris wants Lahore to be penalized.