Legends League Cricket: India Capitals beat Gujarat Giants, advance to qualifier two

Legends League Cricket

SURAT: India Capitals held their nerve against Gujarat Giants in the Eliminator, to post a win and proceed to Qualifier 2 of Legends League Cricket (LLC) Season 2, where they will be up against the Manipal Tigers on Thursday.

At the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium here on Wednesday evening, the India Capitals, who are defending champions, scored a mammoth 223 for the loss of seven wickets batting first. In response, the Gujarat Giants lost the same number of wickets but fell short by 12 runs.

Captain Gautam Gambhir led from the front to register the team’s highest individual score of 51 from 30 balls, with valuable contributions from almost every batter. The Gujarat Giants looked ahead of the game till the 18th over of the chase, thanks to a dominating fourth wicket stand of 115 between Chris Gayle and Kevin O’Brien, but after both left in successive overs, the Indian Capitals managed to pull the game back.

The 19th over bowled by Sri Lankan pacer Isuru Udana stood out as he not only took the wicket of the dangerous Gayle, but also gave just two runs in the over.

India Capitals will now meet Manipal Tigers in the Qualifiers II on December 7, 2023.

After winning the toss, the Gujarat Giants chose to bowl first and invited the defending champions to bat. Gautam Gambhir and Kirk Edwards put up an opening stand of over 60 in just over six overs, before the latter holed out for 26.

Kevin Pietersen joined the skipper at number three, scoring a quick-fire 26 in 15 balls with the help of three big sixes. Gambhir was then dismissed after bringing up his half-century, but cameos from Ben Dunk (30) and Bharat Chipli (35), took the score over 200. At one point even 240 looked a possibility, and despite some good bowling, the India Capitals put up a more than competitive 223. Rajat Bhatia was the pick of the bowlers for the Giants as he finished with figures of 2-37.

The Giants started the chase well and kept above the 10-per-over mark constantly, even accelerating further after the 11th over. Wickets then began to fall but Gayle kept the scorecard moving at a good pace from one end and then found a willing accomplice in Kevin O’Brien.

The pair threatened to take the game away and Gayle top-scored for the Giants with a powerful knock of 84 runs of 55 balls, with nine fours and four sixes. Kevin’s also got a half-century, scoring 57 in 33 balls consisting of seven fours and two sixes. However, India Capitals removed both the set-batters in consecutive balls to get back on top, before Udana sealed it with a telling 19th over. South African Rusty Theron, defending 21 in the final over, too got into the act, picking up a couple of wickets.

For his 22 off four overs and a wicket, Isuru Udana was declared the Player of the Match,

Brief Scores:¬†India Capitals – 223-7 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 51(30), Bharat Chipli 35(16), Ben Dunk 30(10), Rajat Bhatia 2-37) beat Gujarat Giants – 211/7 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 84(55), Kevin O’ Brien 57(33), Ishwar Pandey 2-34, Rusty Theron 2-37)

Man of the Match – Isuru Udana. (ANI)

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