The Lahore Lions added to the suspense over which other team from Group A will join the Kolkata Knight Riders in progressing to the semi-finals when they defeated the Dolphins by 16 runs in Match 14 of the Oppo CLT20 2014. After opting to bat first, the Lahore Lions stuttered, huffed and puffed at the start, before Umar Akmal played a magical innings to rescue the team to a competitive 164 for 5. The Lahore Lions spinners then took over, making the most of the uneven bounce and spin available to them on the track at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru to deny to South African side, restricting them to 148 for 9. A late charge from birthday-boy Robbie Frylinck entertained the crowd and brought the match alive briefly, but the disappointing performance from the batsmen higher in the order meant the team from Rainbow Nation would only come tantalizingly close. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M14 - LAHORE LIONS V DOLPHINS)
After opting to bat first, the Lahore Lions batsmen were caught unawares as the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium – usually a batsman’s paradise – didn’t offer too much pace and forced the batsmen to create their own momentum. And before they could get a hang of the pace and bounce of the pitch, the Lahore Lions had slipped to 34 for 4 in the eighth over. Things could have been worse, had wicket-keeper Morne van Wyk held on to an Umar Akmal edge in the tenth over.
Saad Nasim, and Umar Akmal, who was surprisingly sent out to bat at number six, set about rebuilding the innings. They were no doubt cautious and intent on batting the overs out, but at the same time did not let the loose deliveries go unpunished. Both batsmen kept the scoreboard ticking, apart from picking up the odd boundary or a six.
In the fifteenth over, Umar hit Andile Phehlukwayo for two boundaries and a six, while Saad Nasim got stuck into Prenelan Subrayen in the following over hitting him for two sixes. The pair had added 92 runs in just under nine overs when Saad Nasim didn’t pick a slower delivery from Robbie Frylinck and was rapped on the pads in front of the stumps. The 24-year old made 43 and hit three boundaries and as many sixes in his 26-ball knock.
Umar, who has always been rated as a special talent and a match-winner, carried on. His was an innings of two parts; he was circumspect to begin with – and rightly so - scoring 21 at a run-a-ball, before he stepped on the accelerator. He struck four boundaries and four sixes and added 52 to his tally in the following 24 balls to finish unbeaten on 73.
Asif Raza, who was dropped second ball, hit one four and a six in his 12-ball 19, as the Lahore Lions finished their 20 overs at a more-than respectable 164 for 5. In brief, the Lahore Lions innings was the sum of three parts: 35 for 4 in the first eight overs, 31 for no loss in the next four overs, and 98 for 1 in the final eight overs.
Robbie Frylinck was the most successful bowler for the Dolphins, returning with figures of 3 for 22 from his four overs. Cameron Delport and Kyle Abbott chipped in with a wicket each.
The run-chase was a matter of survival for the Dolphins, and hence they had no other option but to go after the Lahore Lions bowlers in pursuit of runs. That strategy comes with its own share of risks, and unfortunately for the side from South Africa, the risks did not come off on the day. Barring skipper Morne van Wyk (36) and Jonathan Vandiar (29), none of the specialist batsmen made any meaningful contributions in the chase. A late charge by birthday-boy Frylinck, batting in the company of the last man, gave the Lahore Lions some jitters. Frylinck took the nothing-to-lose approach and slammed three fours and five sixes, cruising to his first-ever half-century in T20 cricket in 20 balls. Despite Frylinck’s heroics at the end and the 55-run last-wicket partnership, the Dolphins finished their 20 overs at 148-9, finishing short by 17 runs.
The result – their third loss in as many matches – drew the curtains down on the Dolphins’ aspirations of progressing to the semi-final.
For the Lahore Lions, the spinners did the bulk of the damage, picking up 7 wickets for 71 runs in 13 overs.
Lahore Lions win by 16 runs
Brief Scores: Brief Scores: Lahore Lions 164-5 in 20.0 Overs (Saad Nasim 43, Umar Akmal 73*, Robbie Frylinck 3-22) defeated Dolphins 148-9 in 20.0 Overs (Morne van Wyk 36, Jonathan Vandiar 29, Robbie Frylinck 63*, Mohammad Hafeez 2-18, Mustafa Iqbal 2-21, Saad Nasim 2-19)
Man of the Match:Man of the Match: Umar Akmal, for his unbeaten 45-ball 73.
Hafeez: "It is beautiful game of cricket and T20 gives us everything. We wanted to play aggressive cricket and know everyone needs to chip in. We know our spinners can do a job for us as it is very difficult once it gets turning."
van Wyk: "It probably looked closer than it was, credit to Robbie tonight. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes, we haven't clicked this tournament and haven't really put two halves together. We can't wait to come back show everyone what we can do next year."