Chris 'Universe Boss' bossed over the bowlers, but it were the Pathan brothers — Yusuf and Irfan — who had the last laugh in the 11th match of the SKY247.net Legends League Cricket (LLC) at the Barkatullah Khan Stadium here on Friday.
After Gayle's hurricane 68 off 40 balls had helped the Gujarat Giants post 186/7 in 20 overs, Yusuf and Irfan played aggressive knocks to help the Bhilwara Kings chase down the target and win the game by five wickets.
The Kings had a moderately good start as their openers put on 57 runs. But after Morne van Wyk's dismissal, their scoring rate dipped.
The Kings lost set batter William Porterfield (40 off 37 balls) in the 12th over making things difficult for themselves. But then began the Yusuf storm. With four gigantic sixes and a four, Yusuf made 39 off 18 balls before he was out in the 16th over.
Irfan then took over the baton from his brother. The Kings captain, along with Jesal Karia (39 not out off 24 balls), ensured that they reached home with two balls to spare. Irfan stayed unbeaten on 26 off 14 balls.
Earlier, the Giants went for an all-Caribbean opening combination as Lendl Simmons opened the innings along with Gayle.
After Simmons' dismissal for 22 in the fifth over, the Giants had the worst possible finish to their Powerplay as they lost two wickets — captain Parthiv Patel and Kevin O'Brien — in the very next over. Yusuf was the man who inflicted the damage on the Giants.
Yusuf, however, got a reality check soon after. While one expected the Giants to be on the backfoot following those wickets, Gayle, a stalwart of the shortest format of the game, was in no mood to spend a quiet night in Jodhpur. In the eighth over of the innings, he hit Yusuf for three fours and two sixes, his fifty coming up in 23 balls.
Yashpal Singh (58 off 37 balls) too got a fifty to help the Giants get a formidable total. In the end though, it proved insufficient.
How it stands
After Friday's match, India Capitals and Bhilwara Kings confirmed their places in the playoffs with 7 points each. Only three teams will be moving ahead with the fourth being eliminated straightaway.
The battle for the third playoffs place is between the Gujarat Giants and Manipal Tigers. If the Tigers, who are currently on 3 points, lose their last league phase game against India Capitals on Saturday, the Giants with 5 points will finish third and make the playoffs.
But if the Tigers win, they too will be on 5 points, the same as the Giants, and so it will all come down to the net run rate. As on Friday, the Giants had a net run rate -0.366 while the Tigers were poorer with -0.607.
Artsmith Media Release