Special Correspondent

GURGAON: A fifth straight victory for Lahore Badshahs reinforced the belief that it is indeed the team to beat in the Indian Cricket League’s Edelweiss 20s Challenge.

A comfortable eight-wicket victory over Delhi Giants made Badshahs the first team to qualify for the semifinals of the eight-team competition.

The defeat kept Giants at four points from five games. It plays Hyderabad Heroes on Monday and only a victory can keep alive its hopes of a place in the last-four stage.

Displaying a fine mix of enterprise and expertise, Badshahs restricted Giants to a paltry 103 for seven and then left it for Imran Nazir to make merry.

The opener smashed a six and six boundaries in his 47-ball innings to help the team reach the target in 14.5 overs without taking undue risks.

Nazir put on 59 runs for the second-wicket with Humayun Farhat (16, two 4s) in 7.5 overs and another 39 with Hasan Raza in 5.4 overs to complete the formalities.

Earlier, Giants struggled for the better part of its innings. On a pitch where the ball was not exactly coming on to the bat, opener Mohnish Mishra (33, 31 deliveries, five 4s) made good use of the hardness of the new ball and kept the scoreboard ticking.

Once Mishra was bowled off leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the ninth over with 53 on the board, wickets fell at regular intervals.

Brief scores: Delhi Giants 103 for seven in 20 overs (Mohnish Mishra 33, Mushtaq Ahmed three for 19) lost to Lahore Badshahs 104 for two in 14.5 overs (Imran Nazir not out 60, Hasan Raza not out 20).

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