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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Nazir century propels Lahore to ICL title

Nazir century propels Lahore to ICL title

November 17, 2008 00:31 IST

Lahore Badshah rode on Imran Nazir's unbeaten swashbuckling 44-ball 111 to rout Hyderabad Heroes by eight wickets in the high-voltage third final to lift the second edition of the ICL 20-20 Championship trophy in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Nazir hit the fastest century of the tournament to help Lahore Badshah reach the target of 159 in just 13.5 overs with a huge six over deep mid-wicket to register one of their biggest victories over the Hyderabad Heroes in the third of the best-of-three finals.

Nazir, who played with a runner in Naved-ul-Hasan, hit as many as seven fours and 11 sixes in his 44-ball massacre. He reached his century with a massive six over mid-wicket in the 14th over.

Nazir reached his fifty in 16 balls, a record of the tournament. It is also the second fastest in international Twenty20 matches, with India's Yuvraj Singh holding the top spot, which he scored against England in October last year.

Nazir started Badshahs' riposte with a fury, pulverising the bowlers for two sixes and a four in the first over to score 24. Nazir triggered off a flurry of fours and sixes, bringing up the fifty in just 20 balls along with Imran Farhat before rocking his way to the fastest half-century of the tournament in just 16 balls.

Nazir showed no respect for the bowlers as the Badshahs raced past the hundred run mark in a mere eight overs. Although Heroes tried to tighten the screw, picking up Imran Farhat (28 off 25 balls) and Shahid Yousuf (1) within the span of four balls but it was too late. Nazir then clubbed with Mohammad Yousuf (17) and hammered three sixes and two fours in the 14th over to score 160 and pocket the match in style.

The winner received Rs two crore along with the 15,000 crystal studded trophy, while the runners-up won Rs one crore.

Earlier, Ibrahim Khaleel slammed a quickfire 25-ball 45 innings, belting seven hits to the fence and one shot over the rope, but the Hyderabad Heroes kept losing wickets in regular intervals before setting a modest target of 159 in 20 overs after deciding to bat first.

Last match's hero Jimmy Maher (5) failed to give the Heroes a rollicking start as his leg stump was sent for a walk by Azar Mahmood in the second over. Shahid Nazir then struck twice, removing Anirudh Singh (12) and Abdul Razzaq (1) in his second over as the Heroes slumped to 57 for three in 6.5 overs.

However, opener Ibrahim Khaleel kept the flag fluttering and clobbered the bowlers all over the park to keep the acceleration going before he was out in the 10th over. Trying to hit a lofty shot off Saqlain Mustaq, he was caught by Nazir at deep mid-wicket. One over later, Ambati Rayudu was also dismissed by Shahid Nazir as his third victim of the day.

Stuart Binny (25 off 17 balls) and Nicky Boje (19 off 12 balls) then played sensibly and brought up the hundred in the 13th over.

The duo stitched together 42 runs in 27 balls before Boje's thin inside edge off Mohammad Sami landed in the safe hands of keeper Humayun Farhat in the 15th over and two balls later, Binny shot Saqlain straight to Imran Nazir at long off to leave Heroes at 126 for seven in 15.2 overs.

Justin Kemp (22 off 17 balls) and Chris Harris (9 off 13 balls) then put on 32 runs to help Heroes reach a respectable total.