India Maharajas bounced back after successive losses in the Legends League Cricket (LLC) 2023 to post a massive 10-wicket win against table-toppers Asia Lions in match no. 3 at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium in Doha on Tuesday (March 14) night. Half-centuries by Robin Uthappa and skipper Gautam Gambhir powered the Maharajas’ win against the Shahid Afridi-led Lions.
Uthappa and Gambhir put on a 159-run opening partnership with Uthappa cracking an unbeaten 88 off 39 balls with 11 boundaries and five sixes while Gambhir scored an unconquered 61 off 36 balls with 12 boundaries.
Electing to field first, India Maharajas had restricted Asia Lions to 157 for 5 in 20 overs. For Asia Lions, Upul Tharanga hammered 69 off 48 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes while Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 32 off 27 balls with four boundaries and a six. Together they put on 73 runs opening partnership in 8.4 overs, which however went in vain.
Finally! The moment, the return, the rise of the Maharajas! ,
India Maharajas won by 10 wickets in an exciting Match Day 4 of the season! ,@VisitQatar #LegendsLeagueCricket #SkyexchnetLLCMasters #LLCT20 #YahanSabBossHain pic.twitter.com/pWyRxxtTxa— Legends League Cricket (@llct20) Mar 14, 2023
India Maharajas bowled their left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan to begin proceedings, and he gave away just three runs in the first over. Stuart Binny’s first delivery of the fifth over was nicely cut away by Tharanga to the backward point fence. Tharanga escaped being caught behind to an outside edge to the third delivery when wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa dropped him at 21.
At the halfway mark, Asia Lions were 76 for 2 with Misbah-ul-haq, the hero of their first two matches joining Tharanga. The age-less 51-year-old leg spinner Pravin Tambe took the valuable wicket of Misbah, brilliantly stumped by wicketkeeper Uthappa for a duck.
Abdul Razzaq known for his big shots hit Dinda for a boundary to backward point and also a six off successive balls to remain unbeaten on 27 off 17 balls with two boundaries and two sixes. This also ensured Asia Lions a total of over 150 runs. Finally ending with a total of 157/5 off their 20.
Indian Maharajas on the other hand were brutal and chased the target down with their consistent scorer and skipper Gautam Gambhir and on-song Robin Uthappa. They negotiated the pace of Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Amir confidently with Uthappa picking two boundaries off Amir’s second over. An elegant cover drive by Gambhir off Tanvir in the third over was a treat to watch.
Off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez was introduced for the fifth over, hoping to check the run flow. Gambhir hit two consecutive boundaries off Hafeez’s fifth and sixth ball to register a 50-run opening partnership in five overs.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak who bowled brilliantly against World Giants in the third match was introduced for the sixth over. Uthappa cuts him for a boundary and hits two consecutive boundaries of the fifth and sixth deliveries to take 14 runs off that over. The powerplay thus yielded 65 runs.
Shoaib Akhtar bowled the seventh over cheered by the crowd. Uthappa pulled his fourth and last delivery for boundaries with a few shouts from the crowd as to what happened to his express deliveries. Hafeez, who bowled the ninth over, was pulled by Uthappa over mid-wicket into the stands for three consecutive sixes to race to his half-century in just 27 balls. He also picked a boundary and took 23 runs off that over.
Brief Scores: Asia Lions 157 for 5 in 20 overs (Upul Tharanga 69, Tillakaratne Dilshan 32, Abdul Razzaq 27 not out, Suresh Raina 2/16) lost to Indian Maharajas 159/0 in 12.3 overs (Robin Uthappa 88 no, Gautam Gambhir 61 no)