In the seventh editions of the Champions League Twenty20, or CLT20 as it is also known, the Lahore Lions made their first appearance for Pakistan. Previously the Sialkot Stallions and the Faisalabad Wolves have tried their hand at this prestigious series.
By now everyone is aware that the Lahore Lions did not go all the way and bowed out from the tournament during the group stage, but they are the first Pakistani team that got past the qualifier stage and almost got through to the next round as well. What was also pleasantly surprising was the performance that the team put up as a team, as well as individuals.
Although they did not bring home the goal, the Lahore Lions were most probably the only team that did not come out of a proper T20 franchise system making their run at the tournament remarkable. The team managed to cover up the infrastructure and system issue with sheer talent and teamwork.
One of the most impressive players for the team was the captain and our very own Professor Hafeez. He had a good tournament but not with the bat. As a bowler, he took four wickets with an economy of 4.45, which is not bad. As a captain, although he managed to get the team past the qualifiers, still some of his decisions – such as the one to play the out of form Nasir Jamshed – are something that will always be questioned.
Another player who left his mark was Saad Nasim. This is the same kid that blasted an unbeaten 43 in our 2013 domestic T20 final against the Faisalabad Wolves, leading the Lahore Lions to victory.
He continued his form in the Champions League as well with a 58 against the Northern Knights and a 69 against the Scorchers in the last group match. Both the innings came at a time when the Lahore Lions batting line up was faltering. These impressive performances also earned him a place in the national team for the ongoing Australian series.
Umar Akmal was another front runner for the team with a 38 in the first qualifier, a 40 off 24 balls in the first group match against the Kolkota Knight Riders and a brilliant 73 off 45 balls against the Dolphins in the third group match. The last inning saw five sixes and five fours making him the top scorer for the Lahore Lions in the group matches.
In the bowling department, the orthodox spinner Mustafa Iqbal led the pack with a total of five wickets.
Overall although their performance was not amazing, still this run by the Lahore Lions could become a source of inspiration for the Peshawar Panthers who will be Pakistan’s entry into the eighth edition of the Champions League T20.
The Lahore Lions CLT20 Results
|September 13||Mumbai Indians||Raipur||Won by 6 wickets|
|September 14||Northern Knights||Raipur||Lost by 72 runs|
|September 16||Southern Express||Raipur||Won by 55 runs|
|September 21||Kolkata Knight Riders||Hyderabad||Lost by 4 wickets|
|September 25||Chennai Super Kings||Bangalore||Rain interrupted the match|
|September 27||Dolphins||Bangalore||Won by 16 runs|
|September 30||Perth Scorchers||Bangalore||Lost by 3 wickets|