MUSCAT: Upul Tharanga continued his sparkling form with bat as Asia Lions chased down a formidable total of 205 posted by World Giants to register their first win of the Legends League Cricket Oman 2022 tournament at Amerat Stadium on Friday night.
Sri Lankan pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan (52 from 32 balls) and Tharanga (63 from 43 balls) led the Asia Lions chase as World Giants bowlers found it difficult to stop the runs.
Former England medium pacer Ryan Sidebottom gave away 46 runs in his 4 overs while former South African pacer Mornie Morkel returned decent figures of 2-38 in his four overs.
Asia Lions captain Misbah-ul-Haq expressed happiness to post their first win of the tournament.
“Credit to our players. We executed the plan perfectly to chase the big total. It’s a welcome win after missing out closely in the first match,” Misbah said.
Former Irish international Kevin O'Brien, who top-scored for World Giants with 95, said the pitch was very good to bat.
“It is a nice batting track. I got out trying for sixers in the final stages. Unfortunately, we couldn’t defend the total. We will come up strong in the next match,” he said.
Chasing a big score, Asia Lions never looked in trouble.
After a quick 14 from Kamran Akmal, the Lankan pair consolidated the Lions innings.
Both Dilshan and Tharanga got out after completing their half-centuries at crucial junctures.
Then, Mohammed Hafeez came up with a handy 13-ball 27 runs in the middle stage to keep up the run-rate.
In the final stages, experienced skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (19) and Asghar Afghan (14) guided the team to a comfortable six-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
O'BRIEN HITS 95
The World Giants were sent in to bat after Asia Lions won the toss on a windy day at the Amerat Stadium.
Kevin O’Brien struck a masterful 95 from 46 balls, which included seven boundaries and seven sixers.
Another major contribution came from opener Phil Mustard who scored 28.
Opener Kevin Pietersen scored 14, Corey Anderson hit 18, Owais Shah chipped in with 14 and Albie Morkel sent the score past 200 with a seven-ball 17.
Sri Lankan medium pacer Nuwan Kulasekara impressed in bowling for Lions with 2 wickets for 17 in his four overs, which included a maiden.
Pakistan spinner Mohammad Hafeez took 2-32 in 3 overs.
Spin legend Muttaiah Muralitharan was hit for 46 runs in his four overs. However, the Lankan spinner took the prize wicket of O’Brien, caught by Hafeez.
Fellow Lankan pacer Chaminda Vaas chipped in with 1-35 in his 3 overs, accounting for Pietersen in the third over.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Hafeez it was a great feeling to watch the legends in action again.
“Personally, I felt very happy to watch the legends again. It was thrilling to see the likes of Muttaiah Muralitharan, Kevin Pietersen, Mornie Morkel, Shoaib Akhtar and Irfan Pathan take to the field again. This tournament gives fans a great opportunity to watch the legends once again,” Hafeez said.
Brief scores: World Giants 205-7 in 20 overs (Kevin Pietersen 95, Phil Mustard 28; Nuwan Kulasekara 2-17, Mohammad Hafeez 2-32) lost to Asia Lions 209-4 in 19.2 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 52, Upul Tharanga 63, Mohammed Hafeez 27; Mornie Morkel 2-38)