Jimmy Maher blasted a swashbuckling 31-ball 56 as Hyderabad Heroes beat Lahore Badshahs by eight runs to win a thrilling second final in the ICL Twenty-20 Championship, at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel stadium, in Ahmedabad on Saturday night.
After setting a modest target of 159 runs, Hyderabad's bowlers rose to the occasion and bundled out Badshahs for 150 in 19.1 overs, in an edge-of-the-seat contest, to avenge their first final defeat and keep alive their chances of winning the title.
Chasing 159 to win, Badshahs made a tottering start and could never really recover, only Shahid Yousuf standing amidst the ruins with a belligerent 51 off 27 balls, including six fours and three shots over the rope. But with the asking rate climbing, Badshahs kept losing wickets and eventually the match slipped out of their hands.
Opener Imran Nazir (7 off 10 balls) and Imran Farhat (6 off 12 balls) failed to live up to their reputation of giving explosive starts, as pacer Abdul Razzaq picked two wickets in his second over to reduce Badshahs to eight for two in three overs.
However, Shahid Yousuf scored 51 to bring up his team's fifty in the seventh over while Farhat failed to repeat his previous match performance and perished two balls later, courtesy a clever piece of stumping by Ibrahim Khaleel off a Nicky Boje delivery.
With the required run-rate climbing with every ball, the next victim was newly-inducted Mohammad Yousuf (8). He was caught by Ambati Rayudu at mid-wicket, trying to play a lofty shot off Chris Harris in the 10th over.
Shahid Yousuf was caught early by keeper Ibrahim Khaleel off skipper Harris. Inzamam-ul Haq (10), Azar Mohammad (14) and Khalid Mohammad (3) also had a short stay in the middle, while Mohammad Sami (18) was sent packing by an exceptional catch by Justin Kemp at the boundary line.
Earlier, Jimmy Maher slammed a quickfire 31-ball 56 at the top and weaved a 78-run opening partnership with Ibrahim Khaleel (26 off 29 balls) but Hyderabad Heroes squandered the opportunity and posted a modest total of 158 for seven in the allotted 20 overs after Lahore Badshahs skipper Inzamam-ul Haq won the toss and invited them to bat first.
Maher gave the Heroes a brilliant start along with Ibrahim Khaleel to bring up the fifty in five overs, before reaching his individual fifty in just 23 balls.
However, Maher did not last long and perished in the next over from a Shahid Nazir yorker to bring an end to the 48-ball 78-run opening partnership. He scored 56 runs, which included eleven hits to the fence.
New man Abdul Razzaq soon joined Khaleel as the duo stitched 26 runs in 20 balls to bring up the century in the 11th over before Khaleel was retired hurt by a Shahid Nazir beamer on the right shoulder in the next over.
However, Heroes failed to keep up the momentum and tumbled like a deck of cards, only Razzaq (15), Stuart Binny (11) and Nicky Boje (10) reaching double figures as they scored only 56 runs in the last nine overs for the loss of six wickets for a modest target of 159 runs.
Razzaq was run out by Inzamam-ul-Haq while Binny was castled by Mohammad Sami. Lahore's Naved and Azar Mohammad scalped two wickets each.