Lahore Badshahs captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is keen to reverse the surprise loss to Hyderabad Heroes in the final last year © Cricinfo Ltd.
 

Match facts

Oct 10, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (14.00 GMT)

Big Picture

The opening match is a re-run of last year's final when Hyderabad Heroes surprised the favourites Lahore Badshahs. Hyderabad's strength has been the performance of the local players like Alfred Absolem, who took a record seven-for in a game, Stuart Binny, who starred with 228 runs and nine wickets, Ambati Rayudu and Ibrahim Khaleel, the wicketkeeper. Captain Chris Harris, who bats at No. 7, believes their strength is that they bat deep down.

Inzamam-ul-Haq is keen to reverse that surprise loss. Their strength is their international experience: most in the team have played for Pakistan. Their weakness is the possibility of complacency. Inzamam has promised they will not slip up this year. On Thursday afternoon, when the ground was taken over by the rehearsals for the opening ceremony, Inzamam and his boys practised with coach Moin Khan. The players had taken a break during Ramzan but had a run in the domestic Twenty20 tournament in Hyderabad.

Watch out for

Imran Farhat: All eyes will be on Inzamam but watch out for Farhat, an aggressive opener. Farhat and Imran Nazir form the tournament's most deadly opening pair.

Mushtaq Ahmed: He has done it all but still wants to shine in the latest format of the game. With a World Cup and a County Championship in the kitty, he wants another trophy. "Our team is a big hit in Pakistan," Mushtaq said. "They see it as an extension of the national side. We want to win for them."

Justin Kemp: Hyderabad's star recruit, the big-hitting allrounder will be the impact player of the squad.

Ambati Rayudu: Rayudu, once the Next Big Thing in Indian cricket, has come under the scanner here for his shot selection. He has worked hard with coach Steve Rixon and has matured.

Pitch & conditions

Does it matter in this format? The only worry is it has been raining in the evenings for the last couple of days. The organisers would hope it doesn't affect a) the opening ceremony and b) the pitch.

Quotes

"Whenever we have been down, one man has stood up... That has made all the difference and that is why we are a strong unit."
Alfred Absolem on the strength of Hyderabad Heroes.

"I feel like a newborn in this format. They say the spinners don't do well in Twenty20, I want to prove them wrong."
Mushtaq Ahmed on a mission.


Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo