RAIPUR (India): Captain Mohammad Hafeez led from the front with a blazing 67 as Lahore Lions trounced Sri Lankan side Southern Express by 55 runs in their Champions League Twenty20 qualifier to advance to the main stage of the event here on Tuesday.
The Lions’ progress to the main round was ensured after Northern Knights beat Mumbai Indians by six wickets later on Tuesday as they finished second to the New Zealanders in the qualifying group.
Tim Southee and Scott Styris took three wickets each to set up the Knights’ victory which saw them advance to the main round with an unblemished record of 12 points from three matches.
Lions finished with eight points, four ahead of Mumbai while the Express failed to get off the mark.
Mumbai needed a victory against the Knights to have any chance of qualifying for the main round but Styris and Southee ripped through their batting order as they managed 132 for the loss of nine wickets.
In reply, a blistering 36-ball 53 by Kane Williamson saw Knights stroll to victory with 3.4 overs to spare.
Earlier, Hafeez had kept Lions’ main-draw hopes alive, scoring 67 off 40 balls with five fours and four sixes after Umar Siddiq, Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed had all been sent back by the eighth over by Farveez Maharoof.
“I think the victory was much needed. To be honest you all knew how important it was,” Hafeez said at the post match press conference.
“We wanted to set a good total early. After losing three wickets, we were bit under pressure because we wanted to set a target and put pressure to the chasing side.
“Someone had to take the responsibility, whoever have played that someone has to do that thanks to almighty that was me.”
Saad Nasim chipped in with 31 as Lions managed to score 164 for six.
In reply, Express could manage only 109 in 18 overs with Aizaz Cheema taking three for 15 while Wahab Riaz took two for 20.
Lahore Lions beat Southern Express by 55 runs.
LAHORE LIONS 164-6 in 20 overs (Mohammed Hafeez 67, Saad nasim 31; Farveez Maharoof 3-28); SOUTHERN EXPRESS 109 in 18 overs (Jehan Mubarak 35; Aizaz Cheema 3-15, Wahab Riaz 2-20).
Northern Knights beat Mumbai Indians by six wickets.
MUMBAI INDIANS 132-9 in 20 overs (Kieron Pollard 31; Scott Styris 3-21, Tim Southee 3-24); NORTHERN KNIGHTS (Kane Williamson 53, Anton Devcich 39; Jasprit Bumrah 2-26).
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