Champions League T20: Akmal leads Lahore Lions to victory in first qualifier

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 9:42:38 by

Umar Akmal seemed to be in premier form at the right time for Lahore Lions as he scored 38 of just 18 balls to chase down a 136-run target to set up a six-wicket win against Mumbai Indians on Saturday at Raipur.

Sent in to bat first, Mumbai were slow from the beginning. With wickets falling at equal intervals no batsmen except Aditya Tare (37) was able to score runs. Michael Hussey showed some resistance top of the order but was sent home by Wahab Riaz. He bagged two wickets.

Aizaz Cheema took two wickets on two consecutive balls to strike another blow to Mumbai’s pace.

In reply, Lahore started well with a strong partnership from Ahmed Shahzad and Nasir Jamshed. Shehzad fell on 34 to give skipper Muhammad Hafeez a chance to walk in. Nasir Jamshed coupled with the captain to add a few more runs but got stumped on 26. Saad Nasim walked in to help the skipper but was out for six runs.

In came Umar Akmal to save the day for the Lions. He scored prolifically throughout the match but with 13 runs required he smashed two sixes on consecutive balls to tie the score in the 19th over. He then guided a full-toss towards the boundary while punching his fist in the air.

Muhammad Hafeez gave credit to fine bowling performance simultaneously admiring Umar’s batting.

“I think bowlers did their job,” said Hafeez. “The later overs were very good, everyone bowled well. I knew one good partnership would make the difference, and Umar Akmal was exceptional.”

Meanwhile, Mumbai captain Kieron Pollard said,” We weren’t able to get early wickets but we pulled it back in the middle. I really can’t fault the bowlers, but with a wet ball, we should have made more runs. The pressure is on us now. We have never won Champions League easy, it is important that we bring our A-game tomorrow.”

Lahore Lions play their second qualifier on Sunday against Northern Districts team at 1530 PST.

Lahore News Sources -2

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