DOHA: Misbah-ul-Haq batted bravely for 73 runs to help Asia Lions to a respectable total before Sohail Tanvir’s bowling attack powered the side to a narrow nine-run victory over Indian Maharajas in the first match of the Legend League Cricket Masters.
Choosing to bat first, the Lions amassed 165/6 in their allotted 20 overs, thanks to Misbah’s anchoring half-century and Upul Tharanga’s tenacious 40.
Earlier, the Lions got off to a shaky start against the Maharajas, losing two wickets in three overs for just 18 runs, with Tillakaratne Dilshan (5) and Asghar Afghan (1) falling cheaply.
Following his slump, Misbah put on an anchoring 108-run third-wicket stand with Tharanga, putting the side in command before the latter died in the 15th over.
The wicketkeeper batter hit two sixes and scored a cautious 39-ball 40.
Misbah then put on another crucial partnership for the Lions, this time with skipper Shahid Afridi, who scored a quick eight-ball 12 before falling in the 17th over.
In the next over, the Maharajas finally got rid of Misbah, who led the Lions with 73 off 50 deliveries, including two boundaries and four sixes.
For the Maharajas, Parvinder Awana and Stuart Binny each took two wickets, while Irfan Pathan and Ashok Dinda each took one.
Despite Gautam Gambhir’s fifty, the Maharajas fell nine runs short of their target, finishing with 156/8.
The skipper led his side to victory in the run chase with a 39-ball 54, but the Maharajas fell short due to insufficient support from the other end.
Apart from Gambhir, Murali Vijay (25), and Mohammad Kaif (23), the other notable run-getters failed to deliver in the run chase.
Tanvir led the Lions’ bowling attack with 3/27, while Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Thisara Perera, Dilshan, and Isuru Udana each took a wicket.