Mohammad Hafeez had tried to portray Lahore Lions as the underdog, saying he would be content if his team played to potential and enjoyed themselves. As the match wore on however, it was revealed to be a ruse as a bowling line-up that looked fit for an international team confounded Mumbai Indians.
A target of 136 would not bother most T20 champions and Lahore Lions, who had won the Faysal Bank T-20 in 2014, had Ahmed Shehzad at the top and Umar Akmal during the finish to guide them home and leave the defending champions with a tougher path for their place in the main draw.
The top order had been a point of concern through the IPL for Mumbai and those same concerns followed them to the Champions League. Aizaz Cheema’s nagging lines forced Mumbai to slip from a sedate 20 for 0 in the third over to 23 for 3 in the fourth.
Cheema induced Lendl Simmons into holing out to mid-off for 7. Jalaj Saxena, on debut for Mumbai, was on the receiving end of a lovely outswinger and edged to slip the very next ball. The hat-trick was denied by Ambati Rayudu, but an optimistic single could have caused problems had Saad Nasim nailed the throw at the non-strikers’ end. Lions were not hurt badly by that missed opportunity as Rayudu’s swat to midwicket resulted in an edge to the keeper in the next over.
Michael Hussey, who was picked ahead of Corey Anderson, added 44 runs with Aditya Tare to halt the slide. A cracking pull had got Hussey going and he looked imperious while lifting Hafeez over long-off but the pace of Wahab Riaz, melded with a good line outside off, had him nicking to the keeper. Tare trudged on for 37 off 36 balls, his efforts to accelerate stymied by offspinner Adnan Rasool, who conceded only 13 in three overs.
Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar went on a slogging spree in the final few overs but the final score of 135 looked quite light, 18.4 overs later it was proved so.
Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad collected 51 for the opening partnership but some smart fielding helped Mumbai hit back. Pollard dived and got under a skew to long-on and Tare displayed good presence of mind to have Jamshed stumped, as the batsman wandered out of his crease without realising the ball had dribbled off his bat and pad to the keeper. Akmal arrived with 55 required off 37 balls and defused the situation with a flurry of boundaries – he helped smack Lasith Malinga for 15 runs in the 18th over and killed the chase with four, six and four.
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