Tendulkar & Co lift title with a 14-run win over Dilshan’s men
We re-commenced the Unacademy Road Safety World Series on 5th March, 2021. Well, it was quite a task, taking every single precaution, making it safe for everyone involved, and yet amidst all of that, having fun rebuilding a venture for such a noble cause. Since the fifth of this month, it's been a hell of a ride. Two weeks of pure entertainment! It was great, seeing some of the best to have ever played the gentlemen's game take the field again. Some of them lost their mobility, some lost their flexibility, while some lost their pace. None of them lost the competitive edge, though. Seriously, what a joy! However, there's always an end to every beginning.
The end of the road for now, people. The Unacademy Road Safety World series has found its first ever champion. The hosts India legends have stamped their name as the inaugural winners of the competition.
Having been put into bat first by the Sri Lanka Legends, India Legends posted a mammoth score of 181/4 in their stipulated 20 overs. Sachin Tendulkar continued his fine form with a brisk 30(23) before he fell to Farveez Maharoof. Badrinath and Sehwag also fell cheaply, but then, India Legends clicked into gear. Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan thrashed the bowlers at the death, with Yuvraj scoring 60(41) and Yusuf remaining unbeaten at 62*(36). The duo put up an 85-run partnership to take the team to an imposing total of 181/4.
The Sri Lanka Legends actually put up an excellent bowling performance for the first 10 overs or so. Sure, they went for some runs here and there, but they were clinical and disciplined for those ten. They put a stranglehold on the runs and even Sachin Tendulkar got out to a loose shot trying to speed up the run-rate. The Sri Lanka Legends really only lost their way in the last 6 overs or so. Farvez Maharoof was simply brilliant as he returned 1/16 from his 4 overs while his fellow bowlers were being driven, pulled, hooked and slogged for runs all around. Herath was the only other bowler who managed an economy less than six as he returned 1/11 in his two overs. He also picked up the huge wicket of Virender Sehwag.
In the second innings, the Sri Lankans made a bright start with the bat, managing 62/0 in the first seven. Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan 21(18) had a start but couldn't get going. Sanath Jayasuriya 43(35) was really good with the bat on this occasion but after he fell, the Islanders were reeling at 91/4, losing Upul Tharanga cheaply. Jayasinghe and Weeraratne then made their way to the crease. Being relatively new there, both of them started rather cautiously before they used the 15th over as a launchpad. The duo mauled the Indian bowlers as Weeraratne smashed 38 off just 15 deliveries. Jayasinghe made a tidy 40(30) before falling on the penultimate ball of the tournament.
The India Legends started slowly, but took hold of the game in the middle overs. They were given a nasty scare at the start of the death, but came back strongly at the end to finish with a victory. Gony was fantastic, his accidental throw to Jayasinghe's shoulder the only blemish in an otherwise world class performance of 1/24 in four overs. Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan picked up two wickets apiece, removing the entire top order all by themselves. Yusuf Pathan was crowned with the Man of the Match award for his efforts.
In the the end, it was a fitting end to a fantastic tournament. The Sri Lankans received deserved kudos from all over the world for their resilience, grit and ability to handle pressure. Things just did not go their way for once, but they showed that they could hold their own even with all of their in-form players failing to make an impact.
India Legends came up clutch and won most of the 50-50 battles, emerging deserved winners.
As usual, we would tell you to watch this space, but not this time. Now you'd have to await news about another edition of this amazing tournament, which looks inevitable following the success here. As always, do keep in mind to stay alert while driving, and not take any unnecessary risks. Make sure you're safe and healthy.
We look forward to coming back as quickly as we can. We're already missing you guys, after all.
See you soon, people! Lots of love and best wishes from our side. We sign out for now.
Brief scores :
India Legends 181/4 in 20 overs (Y. Pathan 62*(36), Y. Singh 60(41); R. Herath 1/11 F. Maharoof 1/16) beat Sri Lanka Legends 167/7 (S. Jayasuriya 43(35), C. Jayasinghe 40(30), Y. Pathan 2/26, I. Pathan 2/29) by 14 runs in the final.