Sehwag-Sangakkara put on a 118-run stand to send Gemini Arabians to MCL final
Virender Sehwag powered-Gemini Arabians defeated Sagittarius Strikers by 10 runs to qualify for the Masters Champions League (MCL) finals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Former Indian opener Sehwag continued his "whatever comes to you, just hit" game and moved a step closer to lift the first ever MCL trophy. After winning the toss, captain Sehwag straighaway decided to bat first on what looked like a dusty pitch.
The skipper destroyed Strikers bowling attack and made 83 off just 50 balls. His teammate Kumar Sangakkara carried the mantle later and made a brilliant 43-ball 62, to become the highest run-getter in the tournament. Both Sehwag and Sanga put on a 118 run partnership off 79 balls.
The rest of the Arabians batsmen couldn't do much as Tino Best's fast and aggresive bowling restricted them to 191 in 20 overs. He got three wickets in the match which included all important Sehwag.
Krishmar Santokie was thrashed all over the park as he became the most expensive bowler of the match. He gave 55 runs in his quota of 4 overs at an economy of 13.75.
Adam Gilchrist and Mahela Jayawardene started off well for the Strikers, especially Gilly, who looked in top class form after hitting two trademark pull boundaries in the mid-wicket region. But soon he was clean bowled by Graham Onions. Jayawardene continued his classy touch and made 65 runs off 52 balls.
The pressure to bring down the required run-rate made Strikers' batsmen take risks which resulted in wickets. They fell short off 10 runs in the end even after Phil Mustard's swashbuckling 18-ball 48 runs effort at a strike rate of 266.67.
Arabians were unbeaten in the tournament and they stay so. The score of 191 was out of reach of the Strikers. They’ll play the winner of 2nd semi-final match Leo Lions and Virgo Super King in the MCL final on February 13.
Gemini Arabians 191/5 (20/20 overs)
Sehwag 83, Sangakkara 62; Best 3-24
Sagittarius Strikers 181/6 (20/20 overs)
Jayawardene 65, Mustard 48 not out; Onions 3-37
Gemini Arabians won by 10 runs
Post match presentation:
Gilchrist: “We are obviously disappointed. We have just been edged out. Arabians are a powerful side and credit to them for winning today. I want to thank Zafar and his whole family for getting this up and running. Also the team owners. The standard has been good.”
Arabians’ captain Sehwag was awarded with Man-of-the-Match for his 83 runs which he scored at a strike rate off 166 with 12 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Sehwag: “The wicket was beautiful to bat. I think we batted, fielded and bowled well. Even though, the margin was not big, we won the game. When you win the semi-final, everyone in the team feels happy. The bowlers did well, especially with the dew around. It is easy to captain a side when you keep winning. I am not sure it will be easy in the final, but we will try to work it out. Everyone is putting in a lot of effort. We are up for the final.”