Gemini Arabians 191/5 (20/20 ov)
Sehwag 83, Sangakkara 62; Best 3-24
Sagittarius Strikers 181/6 (20/20 ov)
Jayawardene 65, Mustard 48 not out; Onions 3-37
Gemini Arabians won by 10 runs
Virender Sehwag moved a step closer to lifting the first Masters Champions League trophy, after his Gemini Arabians side beat Sagittarius Strikers by 10 runs at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday evening.
The former India opener, whose presence in the competition for retired international players has been one of the major attractions of the MCL, top scored with 83.
Going in to tomorrow night’s final, when they will meet the winner of today’s second semi-final between Leo Lions and Virgo Super Kings, he still trails one of his teammates at the top of the run-scoring charts, though.
Kumar Sangakkara extended his lead at the head of that list. The Sri Lankan great made a 43-ball 62, to take his aggregate for the competition to 356.
Sehwag, who clinched Gemini’s place in the knockout stage by hitting a blistering century in Sharjah earlier in the week, has 309.
Inter-team competitions such as that must have helped sustain the Arabians side, so rarely have they been challenged in the first MCL.
They won all five of their group matches, and their tally of 191 for five was comfortably out of reach of the Strikers this time, too.
That was despite the efforts of Sangakkara’s former Sri Lanka teammate, Mahela Jayawardene.
Jayawardene, who is third in the list of run-scorers, made 65 at the top of the order for the Strikers. When he went, though, they run-chase was always likely to fall short.
Englishman Graham Onions, one of the MCL players who still harbours aspirations of making it back to international cricket, took three wickets for the Arabians.
That included both the celebrated Strikers openers, Adam Gilchrist and Jayawardene, as well as the former Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat.
Onions’s colleague with Durham in English county cricket, Phil Mustard, at least took Strikers close, as he lashed five sixes in an innings of 48 that took just 18 balls, but he had been left with too much to do.
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