Imran Farhat slammed a quickfire 38-ball 65 as Lahore Badshahs scampered to a four-wicket victory over Hyderabad Heroes in an edge-of-the-seat first final of the ICL Twenty20 championship, at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday night.
Chasing a target of 171, Badshahs survived a middle-order collapse before reaching to the target in 19.1 overs in the best-of-three finals.
Imran Nazir started Badshahs' riposte, clobbering two sixes and three fours in 10 balls to amass 28 runs in two overs before perishing in the next over, when he tried to slice an Abdul Razzaq delivery only to see his top-edge fly high and land into the safe hands of Justin Kemp at mid-on.
However, his partner, Imran Farhat, continued the carnage and combined with new man Naved-ul Hasan to take the score to 58 in five overs, before Nicky Boje tightened things up, giving away only one run in his first over and six runs in his next, which included a missed stumping chance of Naved.
Naved, however, could not make use of the opportunity and perished in Boje's next over. Looking for a lofty shot, he was caught just in front of the rope by Indra Shekhar Reddy in the 10th over.
Soon Mohammad Yousuf joined Farhat in the middle and the duo weaved together a 45-run partnership in 24 balls. Farhat butchered the bowlers mercilessly and brought up the team's hundred in the 11th over with a six and a four, en route to his fifty in the next over with another four.
Farhat also had luck on his side when Syed Sahabuddin dropped a dolly in the 13th over. Looking for a six off a Razzaq delivery, Farhat hit the ball straight to Sahabuddin but the butterfingered fielder fumbled with it before dropping the catch.
However, Farhat did not last long as he was sent packing in the next over by Anirudh Singh as Badshahs lost their third wicket. He scored 65 off 38 balls, marked by five fours and as many sixes.
Badshahs lost three more wickets -- Inzamam-ul Haq (5), Yousuf (11) and Shahid Yousuf (5) -- in the span of two overs, as all of a sudden the match started swinging Heroes' way.
Inzamam was castled by skipper Chris Harris and Yousuf was run-out by a clever piece of fielding by Stuart Binny, while Shahid was adjudged leg before wicket in the 16th over as Badshahs were reduced to 142 for six.
With 29 runs needed from 28 balls, Azhar Mahmood (18) and Khalid Mahmood (10) joined hands and played sensibly to attain the target with five balls to spare.
Earlier, invited to bat first, Adbul Razzaq thrived on the largesse of the Badshahs fielders and combined with Jimmy Maher to stitch together a 58-ball 89 run partnership en route to a 69 off 46 balls that helped Hyderabad Heroes post a target of 171 in the allotted 20 overs.
Heroes made a solid start as their openers Jimmy Maher and Ibrahim Khaleel mixed copybook shots with some innovative hits to keep the runs flowing and weaved a 49-run partnership in 5.4 overs, before Naved-ul-Hasan dismissed Khaleel in his first over.
The 26-year-old Hyderabadi slammed a 15-ball 25, studded with five fours, before being adjudged lbw by umpire Allan Jones off a Naved in-coming delivery.
Abdul Razzaq joined Maher in the middle next as Inzamam tossed the ball to the experienced offie Saqlain Mustaq and Arshad Khan, who is playing his first match of the season, in the seventh over. But instead of taking wickets, Arshad dropped Razzaq in the ninth over when he shot it back to the bowler.
The spin duo could not restrict the run flow as Razzaq and Maher picked up singles and played sensibly to bring up the century in the 12th over, with a lusty blow from Razzaq over the long on off an Arshad delivery.
Razzaq had another narrow escape in the 13th over, when he was way outside the crease while stealing a quick single with the ball in Yousuf's hands. But Yousuf failed to throw the ball at the stumps in time as there was nobody at the non-striker's end.
Razzaq made good use of the opportunities and hammered the bowlers all over the ground to reach his fifty in the 15th over, before Maher perished in the 16th over looking to up the tempo. He was stumped by keeper Khalid Mohammad off a Saqlain delivery at an individual score of 45 runs off 46 balls, which included three hits to the fence and one shot over the rope.
With Maher back in the pavilion, a lot was expected from second semi-final's man of the match Stuart Binny but the right-handed batsman failed to deliver and was back in the hut after scoring 10 off seven balls, which included two fours. He was caught by Khalid while trying to slice a Naved delivery.
Naved, the tournament's leading wicket-taker, struck again in his last over when he had new man Ambati Rayudu run-out with a sharp piece of fielding, as all of a sudden the heroes slumped to 155 for four in 18 overs.
Razzaq tried to accelerate but the Heroes could manage only 15 runs in the last two overs, with four runs coming from the last over bowled by Naved. He fell to the last delivery of the innings at an individual score of 69 off 46 balls, studded with six hits to the fence and three shots over the rope, as Heroes posted 170 in 20 overs.
Naved emerged the pick of the bowlers for the Badshahs, scalping three wickets.