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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Yusuf Pathan powers India Maharajas to victory

Yusuf Pathan's blistering innings powered India Maharajas to an emphatic six-wicket victory over Asia Lions in the opening match of the Legends League Cricket tournament, here on Thursday.


Chasing a challenging 176 for victory, the Maharajas were in all sorts of trouble at 34/3 but a match-turning 117-run partnership between Yusuf (80, 40b, 9x4, 5x6) and skipper Mohammad Kaif (42, 37b, 5x4) took them home with five balls to spare.


"Overall, it was a good game. Things went in our favour and the bowlers did a really good job. It was a great track to bat on and we did well to restrict them to 175,'' Maharajas' skipper Kaif added.


THARANGA, MISBAH SHINE


Earlier, Upul Tharanga smashed a quickfire half-century and Misbah ul Haq played a handy knock as Asia Lions set India Maharajas a stiff target of 176.


It was a terrific performance from the Lions after a bit of a wobble in the middle of the innings where Irfan Pathan’s double scalp derailed their plans a bit.


The tournament started with an opening ceremony where Legends League Cricket (LLC) Commissioner Ravi Shastri welcomed all the legendary cricketers from the three teams participating.


Asia Lions were off to a flier as Kamran Akmal slammed a quickfire 25 that gave them the initial impetus. The Lions went at a rate of 8 to 8.5 and were well on course for a 170-175 score.


Just when Akmal looked set for a big one, Manpreet Gony had him holed out at deep mid-wicket.


It was the Irfan Pathan show thereafter as he scalped a dangerous looking Mohammad Hafeez at gully off his very first ball.


When Irfan had Mohammad Yousuf caught behind by Naman Ojha in the xx , it was nostalgia time as it was reminiscent of his famous career-defining hat-trick against Pakistan in the Karachi Test of 2006.


Lions were in a spot of bother after 10 overs as they reached 80/4.


Upul Tharanga was going strong in his 30s despite wickets falling around him and kept the Lions’ scoreboard ticking.


After 14 overs, Lions were 113/4 going at a rate of 8 and Misbah was beginning to unleash himself and Tharanga was closing in on his half-century.


Once Tharanga got to his fifty, the former Sri Lankan batsman went berserk as he smashed Irfan Pathan for a six over the long off boundary and then another four in the 16th over.


Eventually, Munaf Patel claimed the wicket of Tharanga for 66 as Lions’ charge was dented as they slumped to 133/5.


Misbah went ballistic as he slammed Gony for a big six as he helped the Lions reach a healthy 175/7 in 20 overs.


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