2016 MCL, Match 1: Gemini Arabians thrash Libra Legends by 78 runs
Kumar Sangakkara, Richard Levi and Brad Hodge powered the Arabians to 234 in 20 overs
The much-awaited Masters Champions League kicked off with the match between the Virender Sehwag-led Gemini Arabians and the Jacques Kallis-led Libra Legends. Jacques Kallis was deputising for the injured Sourav Ganguly, who looks set to miss the whole tournament.
Jacques Kallis won the toss and elected to put the Arabians into bat. At the end of the first innings, however, Kallis might have rued his decision as the Legends piled on runs and put a massive total of 234/3 in 20 overs.
The Arabians were propelled to a blistering start as Sehwag went ballistic in the first few overs. Sehwag started off the MCL with a six over backward square leg, showing he still had it in him. The veteran Indian opener timed the ball very sweetly and scored 21 off 11 balls before he got out to a bouncer from Ian Butler.
Sehwag's dismissal meant that his opening partner, South African Richard Levi took the attack to the bowlers as he started playing more shots.
Sangakkara, who came in at No. 3, took his time to open his account as he was not able to find the gaps in the field. Sangakkara took eight balls to get off the mark, but what followed once he got going was a display of sheer class and elegance.
The former Sri Lankan captain played some glorious shots, shots that would easily get him into the national side. Levi reached his fifty and went on to score a well made 62 off 43 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes.
Sangakkara, however, continued to play his shots and despite his slow start went to score a 43-ball 86, falling just 14 off the three-figure mark after he holed out the fielder at long-off. His wonderful knock included six fours and seven sixes.
With three overs left to go after Sangakkara's dismissal, Brad Hodge took matters into his hands and smashed an unbeaten knock of 46 off just 19 balls. The last over of the innings produced 21 runs as Butler was smashed for three sixes by Hodge.
In reply, the Libra Legends lost wickets at regular intervals as Kyle Mills bowled a brilliant early spell for the Arabians. Mills sent back both the Legends’ openers, Michael Lumb and Jacques Kallis and finished his four overs with figures of 2/27.
Taufeeq Umar and Marcus North failed to get going as both were dismissed cheaply putting the Legends in a spot of bother at 43/4 in 5.3 overs.
Sean Ervine and Ryan ten Doeschate, both of who were new at the crease, put in a 53-run partnership before Ervine was bowled by the wily Muttiah Muralitharan. Ten Doeschate continued to play shots and was the best Legends’ batsman as he made 53 off 37 balls.
Tim Ambrose, who was involved in a 54-run partnership with ten Doeschate, scored 30 and was the second highest scorer for the losing side.
Along with Mills, Naved-ul-Hasan and Muralitharan picked up two wickets each while Justin Kemp picked up one wicket as the Arabians’ all-round performance gave them a huge victory.
Brief Scores: Gemini Arabians 234/3, 20 overs (Sangakkara 86, Levi 62; Hogg 1/25) beat Libra Legends 156/8, 20 overs (ten Doeschate 53, Ambrose 30; Mills 2/27, Muralitharan 2/27) by 78 runs.
Man of the match: Kumar Sangakkara