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Heroes tame Lions to storm into semis

Hyderabad, Mar 29: The 25th match of the Edelweiss 20s Challenge featured the hosts Hyderabad Heroes take on the Chandigarh Lions at the Lal Bahadur Stadium, Hyderabad.

The Heroes, who have had some stupendous success on their home turf were looking to clinch a victory to register their place in the semi final. Chris Cairns, won the Toss and elected to field. In the end, it was the hosts, who registered their fourth straight win at home, beating the Lions by 33 runs. Chris Harris and Ibrahim Khaleel were declared as joint winners of the Man of the Match award.

The Heroes opened their account with their batting anchor Jimmy Maher and the explosive Abdul Razzaq. It was the Lions, who had a better start, with their debutant paceman Ishan Malhotra, in the very first over, bowled a maiden and claimed a wicket, which saw the back of the inform Maher. The first four overs proved to be a fascinating contest between the bat and ball, especially with Tuffey and Malhotra swinging the ball prodigiously and local hero Rayudu, trying to tame the bowlers.

Just then it was the impressive Malhotra, who won the battle, sending back Rayudu for 12 in the fifth over. Razzaq got into the act in the sixth over with four consecutive boundaries off Tuffey, taking 17 runs of the over. At the end of the sixth over, the Heroes were right back in the game and placed at 43 for two.

Cairns, however, brought on the experienced Mongia in the seventh over to slow down things and he responded immediately ending Razzaq's dangerous cameo of 26 runs, assisted by some smart piece of stumping from Sarabjeet.

With spin operational at both ends, the Heroes' batting was in a bit of a bother. At the half way mark of their innings, the hosts were placed at 65 for four. With no major partnerships and wickets at regular intervals, helped the Lions hold the upper hand by the 15th over mark, with the Heroes placed at 95 for five.

It came down to the dangerous duo of skipper Harris and Kemp to deliver the final onslaught and they did a good job of it by taking the score to 127/ 5 by the 18th over. Some lusty hitting from the duo helped the Heroes set a competitive target of 149.

In reply, the Lions came out chasing the competitive target with their internationally acclaimed pair of Elliott and Vincent.

It was a positive start from the Lions, especially with Elliott playing some exquisite shots taking the score to 31/0 at the end of the third over. Cairns took a leaf out of his counterpart's book and brought on his spinners to stop the Lions' carnage and it yielded dividends with the first breakthrough in the form of Vincent's wicket off Boje.

It was the young Absolem, who put the Heroes in the driver's seat with the wickets of the dangerous Elliott and Sarabjeet, setting back the Lions at 47 for three in the seventh over. At the half-way mark, the Lions were placed at 64 for three, needing 85 runs off 60balls at just under nine runs per over with 7 wickets in hand. The key for the Lions was, their dependence, heavily on the fortunes of Chris Cairns, battling it out in the middle. However, the Heroes captain Harris, bowled a peach of a delivery in the 12th over to send his counterpart back to leave the Chandigarh side in big trouble at 68 for four.

The Heroes were displaying some remarkable discipline with the ball in the crucial middle orders, resulting in the spiraling rise of the required run rate for the Lions. At the 15th over mark, the Lions were in a slump at 84 for five, needing another 65 off only 30 balls at over 13 runs per over. In the end, the Lions could not breakthrough the tight leash maintained by the Heroes with the ball and fell short of the target by 33 runs.

Brief Scores: Hyderabad Heroes 148 for five, (Harris38, Kemp 35, Ishan Malhotra 2 for 22) win by 33 runs runs against Chandigarh Lions, 115/9 (Elliott 34, Mongia37, Absolem two for 17 and Harris two for 14)


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Story first published: Sunday, March 30, 2008, 1:31 [IST]
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