Naved stars in all-round display

Lahore Badshahs 149 for 5 (Naved 64, Inzamam 27 no, Baisya 2-25) beat Dhaka Warriors 145 for 7 (Nafees 35, Naved 3-18, Saqlain 3-35) by five wickets

Naved-ul-Hasan took three wickets and top scored with 64 to take the Lahore Badshahs to the brink of a semi-final berth after they beat the Dhaka Warriors comfortably by five wickets on Friday. Lahore have an excellent net run-rate, the second-highest among all teams, but will be keen to round off their league-phase with a win against the Chennai Superstars on Sunday, to leave it to victories and not run-rates to determine their place in the final four.

Dhaka will be disappointed, as they squandered a good start to eventually get to 145 for 7, which the Lahore batsmen chased down with little difficulty.

Shahriar Nafees and Nazimuddin provided their team the ideal start, after being put in, adding 51 in a little over seven overs. The introduction of Saqlain Mushtaq's off spin into the attack, however, gave Lahore their first breakthrough, as Nazimuddin was bowled for 20.

But the Dhaka batsmen continued to score briskly with Nafees, and Aftab Ahmed, who made 20 off 12, adding a further 40 before Saqlain struck again to trigger a collapse. Nafees fell for 35, caught brilliantly by Imran Farhat in the deep while attempting a slog-sweep, and Aftab followed soon after, bowled off a slower ball by Naved. Mahbubul Karim was lbw for 1 in the same over as Dhaka lost three wickets for three runs in seven balls. Alok Kapali, who has a century to his name in the competition, too got a start, but like his other team-mates, failed to convert it into something significant, as he fell to Saqlain for 16 with the score on 114.

Dhaka limped to 145, losing two more wickets on the way, as their final score was far lower than what they would have expected with the start they got.

Lahore lost Imran Farhat in the second over, but recovered well as Naved, who came in at No. 3, added 53 for the second wicket with Imran Nazir, and as many runs for the fourth with Inzamam, on his way to a quickfire 64 that included six sixes, three off an over from Mohammad Rafique, the left-arm spinner. The only time when Dhaka may have sensed a genuine opportunity was following the dismissal of Mohammad Yousuf for 12, as Lahore slid to 68 for 3 in the sixth over.

Yousuf, the latest addition to the Lahore squad, made his ICL debut today, getting off to the perfect start, hitting boundaries off his first three balls. The first was a delightful square-cut followed by a trademark on-drive wide to mid-on. The third was the best of the lot, a beautifully executed extra-cover drive but then an attempted drive on the up through the covers produced a thin outside edge, snapped up by Dhiman Ghosh.

However, Dhaka's hopes were dashed by Inzamam and Naved, who kept the runs coming. Inzamam was the more sedate, focusing more on rotating the strike and leaving it to his partner to go for the big shots. But soon after Naved's departure, while attempting a fourth six off Rafique, and with just 25 more runs to get off almost eight overs, Inzamam freed his arms, aiming at a more comprehensive win and a higher net run-rate, and succeeded in achieving both.