Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Lahore Lions progressed to the group stages of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) after demolishing Southern Express by 55 runs in Raipur.
Lahore captain Mohammad Hafeez led by example as he smashed an entertaining 67 and took a wicket as well.
Southern Express skipper Jehan Mubarak would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first since Farveez Maharoof dismissed Umar Siddiq, Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed in quick succession.
Hafeez and Saad Nasim stabilised the innings with a 75-run partnership before Nasim was caught by Ishan Jayaratne at long-on off the bowling of Charith Jayampathi for 31.
Hafeez went on to score 67 off 40 balls, which included five boundaries and four sixes, before he was caught by Angelo Perera at long-off off the bowling of Jayaratne.
Wahab Riaz mustered three runs before he was run out by Perera.
Thanks to Hafeez, Lahore finished on 164/6 off their 20 overs.
Maharoof was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Jayaratne and Jayampathi chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 165 to win, Southern Express got off to a horrible start as Aizaz Cheema sliced through their top order to leave them reeling at 36/3.
Mubarak and Perera steered the innings back in the right direction with a 44-run partnership before Mubarak was caught by Siddiq at long-off off the bowling of Adnan Rasool for 35.
Following Mubarak’s dismissal, Southern Express’ collapse continued as they went from 80/4 to being bowled out for a dismal 109.
Cheema was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Rasool and Riaz snapped up two wickets apiece and Hafeez and Imran Ali claimed one wicket each.
Hafeez, who was also named Man of the Match, was thrilled to have progressed to the group stages, and said: “We knew we had to win, and win comprehensively, and the boys have done the job. Some players came on this platform for the first time, and they have shown courage. We have done the job, let us see how it goes. I was struggling to hit the ball early on. But, in that over I thought why not go after every ball, and it worked for me. It is always good to come to India. And we want to stay here and play more cricket.”