Daniel Vettori and Mahela Jayawardene helped Sagittarius Strikers beat Virgo Super Kings by 26 runs in the third match of the Masters Champions League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Chasing 158, Super Kings were reduced to 43/6 and they never really recovered from that despite Azhar Mahmood’s fighting fifty.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Strikers lost Adam Gilchrist early but Jayawardene ensured that the loss of the skipper didn’t hinder their progress as he started from where he left off at the Big Bash League.
A 71-run second wicket partnership between Michael Carberry and Jayawardene helped Strikers establish a solid platform. Although Jonathan Trott continued to build a good partnership with the former Sri Lankan batsman, Jayawardene was struggling and it told as he tried to hit out but only succeeded in hitting it straight to Malinga Bandara.
Although he had scored 69 by then, his wicket prompted a mini-collapse and ensured they lost their next three wickets for 24 runs. After a strong start, the Strikers failed to provide the final flourish in the death overs as they struggled to clear the boundary.
In the end, they finished with 153/7, at least, 15 runs short of what they would have been looking for when Jayawardene was smoking the ball to all parts of the ground. Brett Lee showed that he has still got as he finished with two wickets.
The pattern for the Super Kings innings was set in the first over as captain Graeme Smith looked all at sea against Shane Bond before eventually being caught behind off the fifth ball of the over. After Neil McKenzie and Owais Shah tried to consolidate, Bond was back to wreak havoc.
Super Kings’ batsmen simply couldn’t handle the former New Zealand fast bowler as he knocked over both McKenzie and Shah in the space of three balls, both wickets coming courtesy of a catch to Trott.
Jonty Rhodes was trapped lbw by Vettori in his first over and just like that the Super Kings had lost three wickets for just a single run. It didn’t get much better as the game went on as before long they were struggling at 43/6.
Nobody apart from Azhar Mahmood, who scored 51 off 31 managed to stay for long enough to make any damage. Although the margin of victory was just 26 runs, it was far more convincing than that as the second top scorer for the Super Kings was Brett Lee, who came in at No.9.
Brief Scores: Sagittarius Strikers 153/7 in 20 overs (Jayawardene 69; Lee 2/29) beat Virgo Super Kings 131/9 in 20 overs (Mahmood 51; Vettori 3/19) by 26 runs.Published 30 Jan 2016, 00:28 IST