The Northern Knights took a step closer to progressing to the main draw of the Oppo CLT20 2014 after they defeated the Lahore Lions by 72 runs in the third of the qualifying stage matches. After posting 170 runs on the board, the Northern Knights new-ball pair quelled the contest in the first six overs of the run-chase when they reduced the Lahore Lions to 19 for 5. The Lahore Lions eventually folded up in the 18th over, with 98 runs on the board. (Also Read: MATCH REPORT: Q2 – MUMBAI INDIANS V LAHORE LIONS)
Tim Southee set things off for the Northern Knights when he landed the perfect yorker in the second over and breached past the defences of Nasir Jamshed. Trent Boult angled one across Ahmed Shehzad in the following over, lured the batsman to play at it, and found the ball take the outside edge on its way to the wicket-keeper. Southee picked up a big wicket in the next over when Mohammad Hafeez attempted to pull a short delivery but only managed to feather one to the wicket-keeper. The procession continued when Umar Akmal dragged a Boult delivery back onto his stumps in the fifth over and Umar Siddiq was adjudged leg before in the sixth over. (Also Read: NORTHERN KNIGHTS V SOUTHERN EXPRESS - CLT20 2014 | NK vs SE)
The middle and lower order resisted for a while, but the Lahore Lions were up against it once they had lost half their side before the field restrictions were relaxed. Saad Nasim was the only batsman to get into double digits; he made 58 from 40 balls.
Not surprisingly, Boult and Southee were the pick of the Northern Knights bowlers. The left-armer Boult had sensational returns of 4-0-12-2, while Southee returned impressive figures of 4-0-22-3. Ish Sodhi and Scott Styris were the other wicket-takers in the innings. Despite the mountain of runs on the board and the sensational start by the quicks, the Northern Knights (who had a shocking day on the field on the opening day) demonstrated superb intensity on the field right through their defence. The tag team effort by Southee and Daryl Mitchell to dismiss Asif Raza was representative of how good the Kiwi lads were in the field.
Earlier in the evening, a rollicking 90-run fourth wicket partnership between Daniel Flynn and BJ Watling propelled the Northern Knights to 170 for 6. Flynn, who was put down first ball, batted with plenty of intent from the word go. Three of the first five balls he faced were dispatched to the boundary; the second ball took the top edge and raced over the top of slip, while the fourth and fifth deliveries were cut away to the point boundary. He was put down yet again on 26, when his opposite number grassed an opportunity at cover.
The Northern Knights skipper found a good ally in BJ Watling, who didn’t waste too much time after walking out to bat at 60 for 3. He started aggressively too, picking up boundaries as his first two scoring shots. There was a quiet period of three overs when neither Flynn nor Watling scored a boundary. Flynn broke the shackles when he hooked a short delivery from Imran Ali over the square leg fence. Watling joined in the act soon after, hitting Mohammad Hafeez for a six and picking up a boundary in the next over bowled by Imran Ali. Aizaz Cheema came in for some stick in the 16th over; Flynn hit a boundary and a six, while Watling picked up a boundary as 16 runs were added to the scoreboard making it the most productive over of the innings.
Both batsmen were dismissed for 53; Flynn was beaten in the air by Adnan Rasool and stumped by Umar Akmal in the 18th over, while Watling perished in the final over when he hit a full toss down the throat of long on.
The Northern Knights added only five runs to the score in the final over of the innings, but still had a challenging total of 170 for 6. Kane Williamson (14), Daniel Harris (20) and Scott Styris (14) were the other notable contributors for the Kiwi side.
For the Lahore Lions, Asif Raza was the only bowler to finish with respectable figures; the 27-year old returned with impressive figures of 3-0-14-1 when the next best economy rate for a Lahore Lions bowler was 8.25. Aizaz Cheema returned as the most successful bowler picking up three wickets, while Adnan Rasool and Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with a wicket each.
Northern Knights win by 72 runs
Brief Scores: Northern Knights 170-6 in 20.0 Overs (Daniel Flynn 53, BJ Watling 53, Aizaz Cheema 3-35) defeated Lahore Lions 98 all out in 18.0 Overs (Saad Nasim 58, Tim Southee 3-22, Trent Boult 2-12, Ish Sodhi 2-30)
Man of the Match: Tim Southee, for his bowling figures of 4-0-22-3 and for being part of the sensational tag-team catch to dismiss Asif Raza.
Flynn: "Today was a fantastic performance. I think we went out and played positively, and when you do that, things go your way. It was a matter of time before Boult and Southee did that damage. We realise we've still got a tough game to come, so the boys will have to be on their game."
Hafeez: "I think we didn't execute our plans well. The conditions were great for us, and they batted very well, but we didn't bowl very well. We made the right decision to bowl first, but didn't capitalise on the conditions. We know that Tuesday's game is important and we'll have to look at what we need to improve."