MUSCAT: Kevin Pietersen’s 38-ball 86 enabled World Giants to a comfortable seven-wicket victory against Asia Lions in a crucial match of the Legends League cricket tournament here at the Amerat Grounds on Wednesday night.
Kevin O’Brien remained not out on 31 as World Giants surpassed the target of 150 set by Asia Lions and raced to the top of points table with four points from three matches.
Asia Lions, who finished their group matches, are second in the table with four points from four matches.
The Lions have to wait till the last match on Thursday night between India Maharajas and World Giants to know their entry into the final on Friday.
Asia Lions have not helped themselves with the net run-rate as they have -0.452, marginally better than the India Maharajas NRR of -0.503.
However, the Maharajas have got a chance to improve their NRR in the last match of the group stage against World Giants, provided they win the game.
The Giants are sitting pretty on top with a NRR of +1.244. They have almost ensured of the final unless a poor performance against the Maharajas.
KP IN CHARGE
Pietersen, who continued his star act with the bat, smashed nine fours and seven sixers on way to his 86 runs.
KP also top-scored with 53 in the World Giants’ first win of the tournament against India Maharajas on last Saturday.
Earlier, World Giants skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to bowl.
Former Lankan superstar Sanath Jayasuriya opened for Asia Lions along with Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Experienced campaigner Ryan Sidebottom sent back Jayasuriya for 3 and Morne Morkel bowled Dilshan (17) to Lions in early trouble.
Asia Lions’ top performer Upul Tharanga came next but could not get along for a big score as O’Brien trapped him lbw at a personal score of 22 with the team score at 66-3 in the eighth over.
Afghanistan all-rounder Asghar Afhan rescued the Lions with a timely knock of 41 from 26 balls.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq contributed 18 and Romesh Kaluwitharana hit 26 before retiring hurt.
Morkel (2-24) Sidebottom (2-38) bowled well for the Giants. Former Australian speedster Bret Lee chipped in with a 1-27 in his 4 overs.
Brief scores: Asia Lions 149-7 in 20 overs (Asghar Afghan 41, Kaluwitharana 26; Morne Morkel 2-24, Ryan Sidebottom 2-38) lost to World Giants 152-3 in 13 overs (Kevin Pietersen 86, Kevin O’Brien 31)