Ahmedabad:Imran Farhat slammed a quickfire 38-ball 65 as Lahore Badshahs survived a scare before scraping through a four-wicket victory over Hyderabad Heroes in an edge-of-the-seat first final of the ICL 20-20 championship played at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium on Thursday.
Chasing a target of 171 to win, Badshahs survived a middle-order collapse to reach the target in 19.1 overs and drew first blood in the three match finals. Imran Nazir started Badshahs' riposte with a fury as the opener clobbered two sixes and three fours in 10 balls to amass 28 runs in two overs before perishing in the next over, when he tried to slice a Abdul Razzaq delivery only to see his top-edge fly high and land into the safe hands of Justin Kemp at mid-on.
However, his partner Imran Farhat continued the carnage and combined with new man Naved-ul-Hasan to reach 58 in five overs, before Nicky Boje tightened the screw giving away only one run in his first over and six runs in his second, which included a missed stumping chance of Naved.
Naved, however, could not make use of the opportunity and perished in Boje's next over. Looking for a lofty shot, Naved was caught just in front of the rope by Indra Shekhar Reddy in the 10th over.
Soon Mohammad Yousuf joined Farhat in the middle and the duo weaved together a 45-run partnership in 24 balls. Farhat butchered the bowlers mercilessly and brought up the century in the 11th over with a six and a four, en route to his fifty in the next over with another four.
Farhat also had luck on his side when Syed Sahabuddin dropped a dolly in the 13th over. Looking for a six off a Razzaq delivery, Farhat had popped the bowl straight to Sahabuddin as the butterfingered fielder fumbled with it before dropping it in the ground.
However, Farhat did not last long as he was sent packing in the next over by Anirudh Singh as Badshahs' lost their third wicket. He scored 65 off 38 balls, marked by five fours and as many sixes.
Badshahs' lost three more wickets -- Inzamam-ul-Haq (5), Yousuf (11) and Shahid Yousuf (5) -- within the span of two overs as all of a sudden the match started swinging on Heroes side.
Inzamam was castled by skipper Chris Harris and Yousuf was run out by a clever piece of fielding by Stuart Binny, while Shahid was adjudged leg before wicket in the 16th over as the Badshahs' were reduced to 142 for six.
With 29 runs needed in 28 balls, Azhar Mahmood (18) and Khalid Mahmood (10) joined hands and played sensibly to reach the total, with five balls to spare.
Earlier invited to bat first, Adbul Razzaq thrived on the largess of the Badshahs' fielders and combined with Jimmy Maher to stitch together a 58-ball 89 run partnership en route to his 69 off 46 balls to help Hyderabad Heroes post a target of 171 run in the allotted 20 overs.
Heroes made a solid start as the openers Jimmy Maher and Ibrahim Khaleel mixed copybook shots with some innovative hits to keep the runs flowing and weaved a 49-run partnership in 5.4 overs, before Naved-ul-Hasan removed Khaleel in his first over.
The 26-year-old Hyderabadi slammed a 15-ball 25, studded with five fours, before being adjudged lbw by umpire Allan Jones off a Naved in-coming delivery.
Abdul Razzaq joined Maher in the middle next as Inzamam tossed the ball to the experienced offie Saqlain Mustaq and Arshad Khan, who is playing his first match of the season, in the 7th over. But instead of taking wickets, butterfingered Arshad dropped Razzaq in the 9th over when he shot it back to the bowler.
The spin duo could not restrict the run flow as Razzaq and Maher picked up singles and played sensibly to bring up the century in the 12th over, with a lusty blow from Razzaq over the long on off a Arshad delivery.
Razzaq had another clean shave in the 13th over, when he was way outside the crease while stealing a quick single with the ball in Yousuf's hands. But Yousuf failed to throw the ball at the stumps in time as there was nobody at the non-striker's end.
Razzaq made good use of the opportunities and hammered the bowlers all over the ground to reach his fifty in the 15th over, before Maher perished in the 16th over looking to up the tempo. He was stumped by keeper Khalid Mohammad off a Saqlain delivery at an individual score of 45 runs off 46 balls, which included three hits to the fence and one shot over the rope.
With Maher back in the pavilion, a lot was expected from second semi-final's man of the match Stuart Binny but the right-handed batsman failed to deliver and was back in the hut at a score of 10 off seven balls, which included two fours. He was caught by Khalid while trying to slice a Naved delivery.
Leading wicket-taker of the tournament, Naved struck again in his last bowl when he had newman Ambati Rayudu run out with a sharp piece of fielding as all of a sudden the heroes slumped to 155 for four in 18 overs.
Razzaq tried to accelerate but the Heroes could manage only 15 runs in the last two overs, with four runs coming from the last over bowled by Naved. He fall in the last delivery of the innings at an individual score of 69 off 46 balls, studded with six hits to the fence and three shots over the rope as Heroes posted 170 in 20 overs. Naved emerged as the pick of the bowlers for the Badshahs, scalping three wickets.