Legends League Cricket: Naman's 140 in vain as Tahir wins it for World Giants

Legends League Cricket: Naman's 140 in vain as Tahir wins it for World Giants
Naman Ojha celebrates his century. Mohammad Kaif is also seen. Photo: Screengrab/Sony Liv

Muscat: Former South Africa spinner Imran Tahir made the most of his reprieves with an unbeaten 52 as World Giants defeated a depleted Indian Maharajas by three wickets in a Legends League Cricket humdinger here.

Put into bat, Indian Maharajas were reeling at 15/2 inside the second over but wicketkeeper-batter Naman Ojha smashed a whirlwind 140 to stage a remarkable recovery alongside skipper Mohammed Kaif (53 not out) to take them to a mammoth 209/3 here on Saturday.

But Tahir had his way after being dropped twice as he smashed five sixes and three fours to seal the win in style with his first T20 fifty.

This was the World Giants' first win after they lost to Asia Lions on Friday as all the three teams now have one win each with the second and final leg beginning on Monday.

With 48 needed off the last three overs, Tahir smashed Manpreet Gony and Munaf Patel for three sixes as the South African got a reprieve for the second time.

The Indian Maharajas had to defend 12 runs in the final over and skipper Kaif had limited options with RP Singh and Hemang Badani both back in the dressing room with niggles as he handed the ball to Venugopal Rao.

Tahir pounced on Rao with two sixes to take the team home with three balls to spare.

Legends League Cricket: Naman's 140 in vain as Tahir wins it for World Giants
World Giants celebrate victory. Photo: Screengrab/SonyLiv

"We decided that I would take the risks and avoid singles. I was lucky to hit the sixes, get over the line. It was difficult to chase and we tried our best. I'm really pleased to contribute to the team. I'm a very happy man going back home."

"It's (the LLC) been brilliant. I wish I could have stayed more. I would like to come back again," aid Tahir, who will now go to Pakistan to play in the PSL.

Earlier, Naman raced to the three figures in just 57 balls before getting out in the final over after his majestic knock from just 69 deliveries comprising 15 fours and nine sixes.

But the total did not prove enough as the Indian Maharajas were let down by their fielding effort, while Kaif was handicapped by his limited bowling resources.

RP Singh suffered an ankle injury and had to be replaced after bowling the first over, while Maharajas also missed the Pathan brothers - Irfan and Yusuf - after their match winning efforts in their opening match against Asia Lions.

World Giants were never in the game with the tall 210-run chase and lost wickets at regular intervals, while opener Kevin Pietersen held on to his end with a 27-ball 53.

Once the star English batter got out in the 10th over after being dismissed by Stuart Binny (2/22), skipper Darren Sammy (28) and Morne Morkel (21) played crucial cameos but the run-rate kept mounting.

But Indian Maharajas' poor fielding and lack of bowling options made the job a tad easier for Tahir.

"It's tough, they all retired, especially the fielding part is really tough. We also missed a few key players - Irfan and Pragyan. I had to manage with the part-timers, RP also had an ankle problem," Kaif said.

"When we got KP out, we thought we were back in the game. We kept taking wickets but we kept dropping catches. However, there's been close matches. It's good for the tournament," he said.

Talking about Naman's century, the skipper said: "It was initially tough to bat won. They won a good toss. Naman made my job easier, I just had to rotate the strike."

Brief Scores: Indian Maharajas 209/3 in 20 overs (Naman Ojha 140, Mohammed Kaif 53 not out; Ryan Sidebottom 2/20) lost to World Giants 210/7 in 19.3 overs (Kevin Pietersen 53, Imran Tahir 52 not out; Stuart Binny 2/22, Munaf Patel 2/51) by three wickets.

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