Naman Ojha played a blinder at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium here at the Legends League Cricket (LLC) the other night. But his 140 off just 69 balls didn’t prove enough for India Maharajas to win against World Giants.
Imran Tahir’s 52 not out off 19 balls turned the match around towards the very end. A stunning onslaught from a man who is known primarily for his leg-spin took his side home with three wickets and as many balls to spare. Fellow South-African-born former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen had set up the chase with 53 off 27 balls, opening the innings.
That means the first three matches of the inaugural edition of the LLC were all decided in the final over. The retired cricketers have proved that they could be more competitive than many people would have expected.
It is not just Ojha and Tahir who have provided the fireworks. The 40-ball 80 by Yusuf Pathan had lit up the opening match, as he powered Maharajas to a six-wicket win against Asia Lions, for which Upul Tharanga had hit 66 off 46 balls earlier in the night.
Then in the second match, Kevin O’Brien smashed 95 off 46 balls, only to end on the losing side as the Giants’ daunting total was overtaken by Lions, for which the Lankan duo Tillakaratne Dilshan (52, 32b) and Taranga (63, 43b) were in fine form.
The tournament has not just captured the imagination of the cricket fans in Oman, if the way it is followed on the internet is anything to go by. The streaming of the opening match on YouTube attracted more than 3.3 lakh views. And there have been more than 3.7 lakh views for the last match.
These men continue to entertain.
(The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket)
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