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MCL 1st Match Review: Jubilant start for the Gemini Arabians

Virender Sehwag MCL
Virender Sehwag started off the Gemini Arabians innings with a  first ball six (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The inaugural Masters Champions League (MCL) began with a dazzling opening ceremony followed by the introduction of the teams and their respective captains.

Gemini Arabians took on the Libra Legends to mark the beginning of the first season. On paper, the Arabians looked very strong with big names like Kumar Sangakkara, Saqlain Mushtaq, Muthiah Muralitharan and Brad Hodge on their side. Comparatively, the Legends lacked the firepower which the Arabians possessed

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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was originally set to skipper the Libra Legends. But the 43-year-old was forced to withdraw due to an injury. However, Ganguly was present and provided support from the dugout.

Libra Legends won the toss and put Gemini Arabians side to bat first. Virender Sehwag, the Arabians skipper, gave a sparkling start to the innings. Andy McKay’s erratic first ball on the pads was flicked over fine leg for a wonderful six.

His opening partner, South African Richard Levi also set the tone straight for the match by bashing the Legends bowlers for boundaries and sixes. The Arabians raced past the fifty runs mark in just 4.2 overs with the help of this the fiery duo. However, Sehwag was dismissed by Ian Butler soon in the same over.

Sri Lanka batting maestro Kumar Sangakkara joined Levi and both continued thrashing the Legends’ bowlers. The duo put up a partnership of 84 runs. The partnership was brought a halt after Levi (62 from 43 balls) was dismissed in the 14 over by Brad Hogg. Sanga took a couple of overs to settle in but was unstoppable later. The stylish left-hander frequently dispatched everything in his sight for sixes and fours. He was eventually dismissed by Ryan ten Doeschate off the last ball of the 17 over after clobbering him for 22 runs in it.

If Sanga was unstoppable at one end then on the other end, T20 specialist Brad Hodge (46 from 19 balls) played his natural aggressive game and gave heavy blows to the Legends. Hodge struck 16 and 22 runs respectively off the penultimate and the final over to take the Arabians to a monstrous total of 234/3 after 20 overs.

Brad Hogg (1/25) was the most economical and successful amongst the Legends’ bowlers who were treated mercilessly today.

In reply, the Legends were no match to their counterparts. Skipper Jacques Kallis was sent back to the dugout in the third over of the match by Kyle Mills. Taufeeq Umar was run out in the following over. Mills came back in the 5th over and made Michael Lumb depart from the middle while Muralitharan beat Marcus North and got him stumped by Sanga in the subsequent over. The team was struggling at 43/4 by the end of six overs. The run rate had reached sky high and the match was virtually in favor of the Arabians.

A brief recovery effort by Sean Ervine and Ryan ten Doeschate was set off with a 53 run stand. However, that did not make any difference as the match had already slipped away from the Legends’ grasp. The Legends’ eventually finished at 156/8 after 20 overs, handing over a 78 runs victory to the Arabians.

Brief Scores:

Gemini Arabians: 234/3 in 20 overs(Sangakkara 86; Hogg 1/25)

Libra Legends: 156/8 in 20 overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 53; Mill 2/27)

Man of the Match: Kumar Sangakkara

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