Legends League Cricket: Asia Lions Roar Back To Stun World Giants

It was raining sixes and fours on a very windy and cold evening as Asia Lions wrote a stunning six wicket win over World Giants to return to winning ways in Legends League Cricket at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground.

Painful from their defeat to the Indian Maharajas the previous day, Asia Lions rode an 88-run 54-ball partnership through Sri Lankan duo Upul Tharanga (63) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (52) to finish a stiff five-ball 206. chasing free on friday.

Lions opener Dilshan crushed three sixes and two fours en route to his 32-ball knockout, while Tharanga scored for them the highest score with his 43-ball 63, including seven limits and two maximums, as they presided over proceedings after Kamran Akmal (14) was sacked in the fourth over.

Pakistani Mohammad Hafeez came in with his quick cameo of 27 from 13 balls, while it took 56 runs off 24 balls after Tharanga was brilliantly played out by Imran Tahir.

In the penultimate over, Asghar Afghan (14 from 7 balls) and Lions skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq (19 from 11 balls) brought Ryan Sidebottom to the cleaners with two sixes and as many boundaries in an over that netted 22 runs to virtually seal the problem.

Previously, Kevin O’Brien set the tone for World Giants with a stunning 95 from 46 balls (7×6, 7×4) to boost the total to 205/7 after Lions chose to bowl.

The former Irish cricketer kept their innings together after England star batter Kevin Pietersen (14) came out cheap in the third over.

O’Brien raced to 95 with back-to-back six and four to Muttiah Muralitharan (1/46) but the Sri Lankan spin wizard had the last laugh to take him away in the same five runs short of a century.

Sri Lankan sailor Nuwan Kulasekara was brilliant in the death overs to return with a neat 4-1-17-2, while Hafeez also claimed two wickets to finish off an all round show.

“As a team we were looking for a win and we finally got it, it’s a great feeling,” said Hafeez, who recently retired after playing his last for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup last year.

“Above all, I personally enjoyed the game of playing with the top stars of World cricket. It was very special to share the locker room with them,” said Hafeez.

“The intensity level was certainly not that high. But I was here in person to watch the legends and was so happy to see them. It is a wonderful initiative, I would like to congratulate the organizers for bringing them under one roof. As a fan I am very happy.

“It was very special to have Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga as coach who had the World Cup winning Sri Lankan skipper. As a kid I grew up watching him, so for me it’s a great added value in this competition.

“It’s great entertainment for the fans. To see your idols like Shoaib Akhtar, Kevin Pietersen and Muralitharan play again is something very special,” added the 41-year-old, who will now go home to play in the PSL.

Short scores:

World Giants: 205/7 in 20 overs (Kevin O’Brien 95; Nuwan Kulasekara 2/17, Mohammed Hafeez 2/32) lost to Asia Lions 209/4 in 19.2 overs (Upul Tharanga 63, Tillakaratne Dilshan 52; Morne Morkel 2/38) by six wickets.


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