KARACHI: Spurred by Mohammad Hafeez’s brilliant performance, the Lahore Lions outplayed Faisalabad Wolves by 33 runs in the final to lift the Faysal Bank National Twenty20 Cup at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore yesterday.
The Lions captain first scored a defiant 22 off 22 deliveries and later shone with the ball, claiming four wickets for 11 runs to play a key role in his team’s title-winning triumph.
After electing to bat, the Lions got off to a fiery start as in-form Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed put up 44 in 4.2 overs for the first wicket.
Shehzad, who scored a match-winning century against Bahawalpur Stags in the semi-finals, smashed six fours in his quick knock of 29 runs off just 18 deliveries. A superb running catch by Farrukh Shehzad at mid-off dismissed the opening batsman.
Jamshed was then joined by Hafeez as both added 51 runs for the second wicket before the left-hander fell prey to another impressive catch from Farrukh. Jamshed was the top scorer with 42 off 28.
It was after Jamshed’s dismissal that the Lions started to struggle, losing Hafeez with 100 runs on board. Farrukh took three more catches as the Wolves confined the Lions to 154 for seven in the allotted overs.
Ehsan Adil, who took three wickets for 23, was the pick of the bowlers for Wolves.
Later, Hafeez produced sterling figures of four wickets for 11 from his quota of four overs as the Lions restricted their opponents to 121 for eight to seal the final victory.
Experienced all-rounder Abdur Razzaq was also impressive with the ball, taking a brace of wickets after giving away 19 runs from three overs.
Team effort contributed to win: Hafeez
Meanwhile, Hafeez credited the title to the whole team’s effort, saying all the players played their part in the win.
“We had a very good combination,” said Hafeez. “The team played with unity, which was the key to our victory. I feel honoured to captain the side and the confidence bestowed on me by the Lahore Association is overwhelming.”
The national Twenty20 captain said the tournament has proved a good opportunity for the players to test their strength before the India tour.
“All the players got at least six matches. It was good practice for those who are in contention for the Indian tour.”
Meanwhile, Misbah said his team missed the services of their top spinner Saeed Ajmal, who is busy with the Big Bash League in Australia.
“We missed Ajmal,” said Misbah, before lauding the Lions for the triumph. “Credit goes to Lahore Lions though as they were the better side and played well.”
Ahmed Shahzad (Lahore Lions)
Asad Ali (Faisalabad Wolves)
Farrukh Shahzad (Faisalabad Wolves)
Yasir Arafat (Rawalpindi Rams)
Imran Ullah Aslam (Bahawalpur Stags)
Umer Akmal (Lahore Lions)
Kamran Akmal (Lahore Lions)
Gulraiz Sadaf (Multan Tigers)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2012.