In a stellar start to its campaign, India Maharajas defeated Asia Lions in the inaugural match of the Legends League Cricket in Muscat on Friday.
Led by the powerful display of the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf, the Maharajas romped home by six wickets in a 176-run chase against the Lions.
Yusuf Pathan stole the show with his 40-ball 80 in the Indian chase that fell to a spot of bother before he arrived at the crease.
The Maharajas top-order was derailed by a veteran Lions attack that comprised Shoaib Akhtar, Nuwan Kulasekara and Umar Gul. India openers Naman Ojha and Stuart Binny fell cheaply while S Badrinath was run-out without opening his account by spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan within the PowerPlay.
Yusuf soon joined skipper Mohammed Kaif with the Maharajas requiring 142 runs in under 14 overs. Yusuf tore into the bowling attack with powerful strokes against the seamers before taking on the spinners, Muralitharan and Mohammad Hafeez. He brought up his fifty in style with a six in the 15th over of the chase and was all set to take India home before being run-out on 80 off 40 deliveries, an innings laced with nine fours and five sixes.
Kaif (42 n.o.) and Irfan Pathan (21 n.o.) then proceeded to seal the chase without breaking a sweat in the final over of the chase.
Earlier in the evening, the veteran Indian side won the toss and sent the Misbah-ul-Haq led Asian side into bat. The Lions lost regular wickets up-front, with Irfan (2/21) and Munaf Patel (1/25) keeping a lid on the scoring rate. However, a fine fifty from former Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga (66) and an able cameo from skipper Misbah (44) took the Lions to 175 for seven in 20 overs.
The Asia Lions will take on the World Giants in the second match of the tournament on Saturday. The Giants will then face the Maharajas on Sunday.
Brief Scores: IMR 179/4 in 19.1 overs (Yusuf 80, Kaif 42*, Akhtar 1/21) beat ALN 175/7 in 20 overs (Tharanga 66, Misbah 44, Gony 3/45, Irfan 2/22)