Uthappa and Gambhir’s 159-run opening stand helped India Maharajas record a 10-wicket win over Shahid Afridi’s Asia Lions
Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir were at their vintage best as they tore apart rivals’ bowling and helped the India Maharajas record a thumping 10-wicket win over the Asia Lions in Legends League Cricket 2023.
After suffering back-to-back losses, the Maharajas came out with a performance to remember at Doha’s Asian Town Cricket Stadium as half-centuries from their openers deflated Shahid Afridi’s Lions.
Uthappa and Gambhir added 159 runs for the opening stand as they knocked off the target of 158 without losing a wicket.
Uthappa slammed a 39-ball 88 that included 16 boundaries, including five sixes. Gambhir, the skipper, led from the front with an unbeaten 36-ball 61 that saw 12 hits to the boundary.
The duo negotiated the pace of recently retired Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Amir with ease. Afridi’s plan to introduce Mohammad Hafeez with an aim to stem the run flow backfired as Gambhir took the offie to task as the pair completed a 50-run stand in just five overs.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, who was brilliant with the ball against the World Giants, found Uthappa too hot to handle as his first over – and Indian Maharajas innings’ sixth over – yielded 14 runs.
There was no stopping as Uthappa sent Shoaib Akhtar to leather hunt before three consecutive sixes off Hafeez saw him reach a half century in just 27 deliveries. The off-spinner’s ninth over cost the Lions 23 runs, as there was no stopping Maharajas on a rampage.
Earlier, the Maharajas restricted the Lions to 157 for five from 20 overs. For the Lions, the Lankan pair of Upul Tharanga (69, 48b, 7×4, 2×6) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (32, 27b, 4×4, 1×6) added 73 runs for the opening stand in 8.4 overs.
Tharanga was lucky to be dropped by wicketkeeper Uthappa at 21, but that drop catch appears to have sent the Indian opener into beast mode, as he was instrumental in stumping Misbah-ul-Haq, who helped Lions win the first two matches, off leggie Pravin Tambe.
BRIEF SCORES: Asia Lions 157/5 (Upul Tharanga 69, Tillakaratne Dilshan 32, Abdul Razzaq 27*; Suresh Raina 2/16) lost to India Maharajas 159/0 (Robin Uthappa 88*, Gautam Gambhir 61*)