Virgo Super Kings bounced back from their defeat to Gemini Arabians last night to book a place in the semi-final after they clinched a victory over Capricorn Commanders by 12 runs. The win meant the Super Kings qualified in third place while the Commanders were knocked out.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Super Kings didn’t get off to a great start. They lost two early wickets, but Neil McKenzie and Owais Shah steadied the ship and guided the side past 50.
But when Shah got out with the score on 68, it prompted a mini-collapse that saw three wickets fall in four balls for no run. Fortunately, for the Super Kings, Hasan Raza and James Foster navigated through a tricky period and got them past 100.
Although Foster perished soon after that, Raza stayed till the end of the innings and ensured the Super Kings got to a respectable total of 131/9.
To qualify for the semi-final, all the Commanders needed to do was win the game and they looked on course to doing just that as their openers, Ashwell Prince and Andrew Symonds once again got them off to a good start.
The pair added 53 for the first wicket before Symonds fell. But the Australian’s wicket triggered the second collapse of the game as the Commanders lost four wickets for 9 in the space of three overs.
Just when it seemed as though Rikki Clarke and Abdul Razzaq had got them through a difficult patch and were seeing them home to victory, Clarke fell with the score on 94. And the Commanders lost their next four wickets for 11 runs and ultimately fell short of the target.
Virgo Super Kings 131/9 in 20 overs (McKenzie 43; Laughlin 4/18) beat Capricorn Commanders 119/9 (Prince 30; Bandara 4/16) by 12 runs.
Scott Styris made it two wins from two as captain, as the Leo Lions made it through to the semi-final with an 11-run win over Libra Legends, who finished the inaugural season of the Masters Champions League without a single win.
If the first match was a low-scoring tight affair, this was the complete opposite as the Leo Lions smoked the ball to all corner of Sharjah after they were asked to bat by the Legends. The opening pair of Hamish Marshall and Neil Carter put on 48 runs in the powerplay before the latter was dismissed.
Marshall and Brendan Taylor steadied the ship from there and ensured that they laid the platform for a late onslaught. While Taylor was keeping things simple and rotating the strike, Marshall went for the big hits and kept up a good scoring rate.
The former Kiwi batsman got to his fifty off 30 balls with a six off Brad Hogg and was looking set for a century but he was soon dismissed for 64 by his compatriot Andy McKay. Taylor followed him back to the pavilion just four balls later as he was run-out.
Two quick wickets jolted the Super Kings effort and it looked as though they had to be content with a total close to 160 instead of the 180 they would have been thinking of when Hamish was running amok.
At the crease though were two former Kiwi internationals in Scott Styris and James Franklin. And the pair added 82 runs off the last 32 balls and the Super Kings sailed past 200. Franklin finished with 28 off 16 but the real star was the captain, who scored 45 off 20 balls, including five sixes.
Chasing 202 was always going to be difficult but they were provided with the perfect start by Michael Lumb, who got them to within a hit away from fifty in the fifth over before he was dismissed.
When Jacques Kallis and Sean Ervine were dismissed soon after the powerplay, the game looked to be beyond the Legends, but Ryan ten Doeschate, their most consistent player in the tournament tried to do his best to finish the tournament with a win.
In the end, though it was in vain, as an entertaining cameo from Ian Butler and a whirlwind fifty from ten Doeschate weren't enough to save the Libra Legends, who remained winless as they lost by 11 runs.
Leo Lions will play the Super Kings on Friday while the Gemini Arabians will take on the Sagittarius Strikers on Thursday in the first semi-final.
Leo Lions 201/3 in 20 overs (Marshall 64, Styris 45) beat Libra Legends 190/9 (ten Doeschate 67; Botha 2/40) by 11 runs.Published 08 Feb 2016, 00:31 IST