KARACHI: Pakistan’s Lahore Lions defeated Sri Lankan Southern Express by 55 runs at Raipur to move one step closer to the main round of the Champions League Twenty20 event.
A scintillating knock by captain Muhammad Hafeez helped the Lions to recover from an early loss of three wickets when they were sent in to bat.
Hafeez was in prime form as he hit five boundaries and four maximums to lead his team to 164-run mark. The captain’s knock was assisted by small yet important knocks from Saad Nasim (37) and Ahmed Shahzad (29).
Hafeez said in the post-match presentation ceremony: “We knew we had to win, and win comprehensively, and the boys did a good 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 now.
“I was struggling to hit the ball early on but then 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.”
Veteran Farvez Maharoof bagged three wickets in four overs leaking away 28 runs.
In reply, Southern Express started off with a few dry overs but then pushed a little to score at a faster rate. But their cause was hampered by a brilliant over-all bowling performance for the Lions. Aizaz Cheema was again seen on a hat-trick and once again he failed to complete the landmark.
Southern Express captain Jehan Mubarak was the only player to show resistance against the Lions’ bowling but he was cleaned up by Adnan Rasool on 35 runs.
Opener Tillakartne Sampath (18) and tail-ender Ishan Jayaratne (16) also chipped in with useful knocks but for a lost cause.
Lahore Lions will now be looking up to the match between Northern Knights and Mumbai Indian. If the latter win, Knights will accompany them to the main round. If Mumbai lose to Knights, then Lahore Lions will join them on the trip to the main round.
Another meager possibility is if Mumbai beat Knights by a heavy margin, then Mumbai and Lahore can qualify for the main round.