Muscat: Asghar Afghan and Upul Tharanga played stellar knocks as Asia Lions overwhelmed India Maharajas by 36 runs in their Legends League Cricket encounter at the Al Amerat Stadium, on Tuesday.
Batting first, the Lions were in trouble when they lost the wickets of Tillekeratne Dilshan and Romesh Kaluwitharana quickly.
However, a 78-run partnership between Tharanga and Mohammad Yousuf steadied the ship for them.
Tharanga was the chief architect of their rebuilding effort as he slammed some handy boundaries and sixes in the crucial middle overs.
Yousuf was an able ally although not overly aggressive as he let Tharanga smash the ball to all parts of the ground.
Yousuf's 26-run innings came to an end in the 14th over when he was caught by Manpreet Gony off Amit Bhandari.
The wicket brought Asghar Afghan to the middle, who went absolutely berserk till the very end.
The Afghan clobbered seven massive sixes and four boundaries in his 69 off 28 balls that came at a stupendous strike rate of 246.
Although, Tharanga was bowled by Bhandari for a thoroughly well-played 72, it made no difference to the Lions' eventual score as Afghan kept the momentum very high.
The Afghan blitzkrieg towards the end ensured the Lions finished with a very healthy total of 193.
MAHARAJAS STRUGGLE IN CHASE
The Maharajas tried their very best but 194 proved a bit too stiff a target as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Wasim Jaffer (35), Yusuf Pathan (21) and Stuart Binny (25) all threw away starts as they looked to up the ante against the perpetually climbing asking rate.
The Lions kept pegging away with wickets as Shoaib Akhtar, Nuwan Kulasekara and Asghar Afghan chipped in.
Manpreet Gony played an entertaining innings of 35 in the lower order but it just wasn't enough as the Maharajas folded up for 157/8 in 20 overs.
It was a richly deserved victory for the Asia Lions riding on their all-round effort.
Brief scores: Asia Lions 193-4 in 20 overs (Tharanga 75 (45b, 7x4, 4x6), Asghar Afghan 69 (28b, 4x4, 7x6); Amit Bhandari 2-41) beat India Maharajas 157-8 in 20 overs (Wasim Jaffer 35, Manpreet Gony 35 not out; Nuwan Kulasekara 2-14, Asghar Afghan 2-23, Mohammed Rafique 2-32)