Imam helps Lahore Blues clinch National T20 Cup
LAHORE – Brilliant unbeaten knock of opener Imam-ul-Haq helped Lahore Region Blues outclass Lahore Whites by 7 wickets in all-Lahore final to clinch the Brighto Paints Present Cool & Cool National Twenty20 Cup at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
An outstanding bowling effort from the Lahore Blues’ bowlers and rollicking batting from their openers guided them to title triumph. Both Lahore teams won five matches each in the round-robin stage before they thrashed Fata and Faisalabad respectively in the semifinals to make it all-Lahore final.
Salman Butt-led Lahore Whites won the toss and opted to bat first. After playing out the first four overs cautiously, Kamran Akmal was removed in the 5th over when he tried to go for a big shot down the ground. He was playing at 20. Lahore Whites then kept on struggling but brilliant bowling by Blues reduced them to 66-4 in 10.4 overs at one stage. However, Butt and Aamer Yamin steadied the ship and put on a 47-run partnership for the fifth wicket before the latter was dismissed. Butt remained the top scorer from Whites as he slammed unbeaten 62 off 59 balls, hitting eight fours.
The pick of Lahore Blues bowlers was Atif Jabbar, who captured two wickets for 24 from his full quota of overs. Former Test cricketer Aizaz Cheema got one wicket while Khalid Usman and Agha Salman also chipped in with one scalp each.
In pursuit of 128 runs, Lahore Blues got off to a sizzling start as both opener Imam-ul-Haq and Ahmed Shehzad were involved in a 43-run partnership before the latter was dismissed for 22. Thereafter, Imam played a match-winning innings as he partnering with M Hafeez added 76 runs. Hafeez lost his wicket when he was playing at 33. Lahore Blues won the match quite comprehensively by seven wickets with 15 balls to spare. Imam-ul-Haq hammered unbeaten 59 and emerged as the ultimate hero of the final and was also decaled man of the final.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal graced the final as chief guest while Shakil Shaikh, Shafiq Papa, LCCA president Shahraiz Rokhari and its executive committee members, Blues manager Ayaz Khan and others were also present on the occasion. During the colorful concluding ceremony, the chief guest gave away trophy to the winning team. Lahore Blues were awarded a cash prize of Rs 2,000,000 while Lahore Whites earned Rs 1,000,000.
Kamran Akmal of Lahore Whites, who scored 432 runs was the best batsman of the tournament and took away a cash prize of Rs 50,000, while Umaid Asif of Lahore Whites, who bagged 14 wickets in the tournament and declared as the best bowler, received a cash award of Rs 50,000.
Hamad Azam was the best all-rounder and got away with Rs 50,000. Interestingly, this is the second year that the National T20 Cup final has featured two sides from the same city, as last year, Karachi Blues and Karachi Whites squared off for the trophy, with the Blues coming out on top.
Kamran Akmal b Khalid Usman 20
Salman Butt not out 62
Sami Aslam st Adnan b Salman 8
Asif Zakir b Atif Jabbar 9
Umar Akmal c Khalid b Atif Jabbar 5
Aamer Yamin c Adnan b Aizaz Cheema 15
Bilal Asif not out 7
EXTRAS: (lb 1) 1
TOTAL: (For 5 wkcts; 20 overs) 127
FOW: 1-34, 2-43, 3-58, 4-66, 5-113.
BOWLING: Aizaz Cheema 4.0-0-26-1, Ali Shafiq 4.0-0-16-0, Khalid Usman 3.0-0-28-1, Agha Salman 3.0-0-13-1, Atif Jabbar 4.0-0-24-2, Hussain Talat 2.0-0-19-0.
Imam-ul-Haq not out 59
Ahmed Shehzad c Wahab b Umaid 22
M Hafeez c Sami Aslam b Bilal Asif
Hussain Talat lbw b Asif Ali 1
Agha Salman not out 0
EXTRAS: (b 1, lb 3, w 12) 16
TOTAL: (For 3 wkcts, 17.3 overs) 131
FOW: 1-43, 2-119, 3-125.
BOWLING: Asif Ali 3.0-0-23-1, Ehsan Adil 1.0-0-17-0, Wahab Riaz 4.0-0-26-0, Umaid Asif 4.0-0-24-1, Aamer Yamin 2.0-0-14-0, Bilal Asif 3.3-0-23-1.
Toss: Lahore Whites
Umpires: Asif Yaqoob, M Sajid
TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza
RESERVE UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab
MATCH REFEREE: Nadeem Arshad