Misbah Ul Haq and Shahid Afridi shape Asia Lions’ impressive 35-run win over World Giants in a ten-over thriller
Misbah Ul Haq cracked an unbeaten 44 off just 19 balls with four boundaries and three sixes backed by Tillakaratne Dilshan’s unbeaten 32 off 24 balls with three boundaries and a six to help Asian Lions post 99 for 3 in 10 overs. World Giants could muster only 64 for 5 in 10 overs despite Chris Gayle’s 23 off 16 balls with three sixes. Asian Lions skipper Shahid Afridi, with a double strike in the fifth over by removing Gayle and Lendl Simmons, put his team on the road to victory. Bangladesh’s left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak with another double strike in the eighth over removing Shane Watson and Ricardo Powell in one over and producing a wicket maiden over pushed World Giants to a 35 runs defeat in the third match of the Skyexch.net LLC Masters at the Asia Town Cricket Stadium in Doha.
The match had to be played as a ten-over-per-side contest since the start was delayed by two and a half hours due to a wet outfield. Speaking about the contest, Raman Raheja, the Co-founder and CEO of Legends League Cricket, said, “Rain Gods played a surprise one on us here in the desert but finally we had a good game of cricket. Though a short contest, the match had some very exciting moments. Fans enjoyed and that’s what matters in the end. We are ready for the next match between Asia Lions and Indian Maharajas on Tuesday and hopefully with no surprises from the weather.”
World Giants won the toss and elected to field. Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar opened the bowling and Asian Lions openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan could pick up only four runs off the first over. The second over too was bowled by a spinner and right-arm off-spinner Ricardo Powell. He struck with the fourth ball to clean bowl Tharanga for 1. Dilshan hit the first boundary of the match by lifting Panesar to long off. One-drop Thisara Perera smashed Chris Gayle through the covers for the second boundary of the match.
Paul Collingwood, who bowled the fifth over was hit over mid-wicket by Dilshan for a towering six. Collingwood struck with the fifth ball by having Perera clean-bowled for 10. At the halfway mark, Asian Lions were 33 for 2. Skipper Shahid Afridi walked in to join Dilshan but lasted only two balls before he was caught by Kevin O’Brien at long-on off Gayle for 2. Misbah Ul Haq, the match winner for Asia Lions against Indian Maharajas, through a knock of 73 in the opening match after picking a double of the first ball he faced from Gayle then lifted the next over long-on for a six. The pair steered Asia Lions past the 50-run mark in 6.3 overs.
Skipper Aaron Finch introduced himself and bowled a tight seventh over giving away just six runs. The first ball of the eighth over from Powell was smashed by Misbah to mid-wicket boundary and the next he lofted to long-off for another boundary. He also hit Powell’s last delivery for another boundary to long off and take 14 runs off the over. Dilshan did not spare Finch’s first delivery of the ninth over, hitting him to the deep cover boundary. He also picked another boundary off the last ball to short third man. The first ball of the tenth over from Collingwood was hit by Misbah to long on for a boundary and then went on to smash the fourth ball for a six over long-on to bring in the 50-run partnership with Dilshan. He also hit the fifth ball for another six over long-on and pick 19 runs off the last over to remain unbeaten on 44 and Dilshan unconquered on 32 for a total of 99 for 3 in 10 overs.
World Giants needing 100 runs to win, began on a sensational note with Chris Gayle being adjudged leg before to the fourth ball of the first over from Mohammad Hafeez but won the review. However, Hafeez gave just two runs only from the first over. Lendl Simmons hit Tillakaratne Dilshan’s third ball of the second over for a six over deep mid-wicket to take nine runs off that over. Simmons also hit Hafeez’s first delivery of the third over for a huge six into the mid-wicket stands. The first three overs yielded 19 runs.
Gayle pulled Dilshan’s first delivery of the fourth over into the mid-wicket stand for a six, and the second delivery he hit into the long-on stands for another six. The third delivery was hit even more powerfully into the long-on stands for his third consecutive six. Nineteen runs came off that over.
Asian Lions skipper Shahid Afridi, who introduced himself for the fourth over had Chris Gayle caught by Perera at long-on for 23 with the third delivery. He also had Simmons out caught brilliantly at point for 14 with his fifth delivery despite the ball bouncing off his hand but managed to hold on to the rebound. Afridi gave away just four runs in that over and bagged two wickets too. At the halfway mark, World Giants needed 58 more runs to reach the target.
Abdur Razzak bowled brilliantly to Aaron Finch and Shane Watson giving away just six runs in the sixth over. Sohail Tanvir who bowled the seventh over had Finch out sweeping straight to Asghar Afghan at deep square leg for 2. Pressure-mounted Tanvir bowling three consecutive dot balls to Ross Taylor and giving away just one run. With 51 runs needed off the last 18 balls, Abdur Razzak had Watson caught by Hafeez at point for 3 with the first ball of the eight over and also had Powell stumped by wicketkeeper Tharanga for a duck with the last delivery for a wicket maiden over.
Defeat began to loom large on World Giants with 51 runs needed off the last 12 deliveries and Afridi bowling another tight over giving away only seven runs. The last over from Tanvir had Kevin O’Brien lift his fourth delivery for a six to long off but that was the only big hit of the over and yielded just eight runs and win by 35 runs.
Asia Lions bt World Giants by 35 runs. Asia Lions 99 for 3 in 10 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 32 n.o, Misbah Ul Haq 44n.o)
World Giants 64 for 5 in 10 overs
(Chris Gayle 23, Shahid Afridi 2 for 11, Abdur Razzak 2 for 2)
Player of the Match: Misbah Ul Haq
The first match of round 2 will be played between Asia Lions and India Maharajas on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, from 8:00 p.m. IST and 5:30 p.m. AST at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium in Doha. The match will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network and can be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar and FanCode.