A team of champions never stay down for too long, and that is what India Legends showed everyone today. They bounced back to reclaim the top spot in the Unacademy Road Safety World Series standings as they laid waste to a scrappy looking South Africa Legends side today in a fashion that only do-or-die teams would.
Sent in to bat first, India Legends posted the highest ever total in the Unacademy Road Safety World Series. They ended with a score of 204/3. The foundation for the score was laid by an absolute masterclass by none other than Sachin Tendulkar, who made 60 off just 37 deliveries. Sehwag departed early but Badrinath made a brisk 42 before retiring with an injury. Yusuf Pathan came in and started going at it from the word go as he also made a quick 23 off just 10 balls. The India Legends looked like they would reach about 170-180 at that point. That was until a certain Yuvraj Singh decided to wield his blade in its most vicious form. He absolutely clobbered his way to an unbeaten half-century off just 22 deliveries, smashing 2 fours and 6 sixes along the way. He also provided arguably the highlight of the tournament so far as Yuvraj smashed four sixes in four consecutive deliveries. This absolute thunderstorm of an innings made a huge difference as India Legends scored 68 runs off the last 4 overs.
South Africa Legends were quite decent with the ball over the first 15 overs. They would have likely reduced the blues to something around 170, a score that would have looked much less imposing. Mondy Zondeki was the pick of the bowlers with 2/35. Garnett Kruger picked the wicket of Sehwag, returning figures of 1/35.
Chasing a daunting target, the Proteas started brightly as both their openers Puttick (41 runs from 35 balls) and Van Wyk(48 runs from 35 balls) made good contributions. By the end of the powerplay, they were a good 15 runs ahead of the India Legends at the same stage. The groundwork laid by the openers was solid but the execution that came after it, not so much. Alviro Petersen departed cheaply as did De Bruyn and Bowman. Jonty Rhodes couldn't pull off any last minute heroics as his partners fell at regular intervals.
The India Legends camp was left a bit worried after the start given by the Proteas openers but said worries were left unfounded as the India Legends bowling unit put up a display of clinically economical bowling to see the Blues to an eventual 56-run win. Yusuf Pathan was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets for 34 runs, while Yuvraj Singh capped off an all-round performance taking 2/18.
Although the South African Legends weren't actually that bad, they played in a game where their opponents were just too good for them. They were outplayed by a considerable degree in the batting department while their bowlers had nothing to rejoice after being hit around the park for loads of boundaries.
South Africa will now be looking to win their last game of the group stage so that they can guarantee their passage to the semi-finals. As for India Legends, they will want Sri Lanka to lose their next game so that they can finish on top spot in the table. This win would do India Legends a world of good in terms of form as well. They will go into the semis in remarkable touch and will be favourites to reach the final.
Overall, another great game between two sides, and a batting spectacle by Yuvraj Singh made it worth watching more than once.