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MCL 2nd Semi-Final Review: Lions beat Superkings in a low scoring affair to walk into the final

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MCL 2016
(Photo Source: Twitter)

While the first semi-final of the MCL proved to be a run fest, the second semi-final between the Leo Lions and the Virgo Superkings turned out to be a low scoring affair. The batting surface looked to be a bowler friendly wicket on the day, which is why no batsman looked comfortable at the crease except James Franklin. And it was perhaps the anchor innings of James Franklin for the Leo Lions that made the difference between the two sides on the night of the big semi-finals.

Having won the toss, the Leo Lions captain Brian Lara opted to bat first. Opener Neil Carter started with a bang as he hit a boundary and a six in the very first over bowled by Murali Karthik. But in the next over, Brett Lee rattled the stumps of Carter who couldn’t add any more to his score of 10. His opening partner Hamish Marshall (3) was dismissed in the next over by Jacob Oram and was caught by Azhar Mahmood. More misery was to follow for the Lions as the in-form batsman Brendan Taylor (14) was dismissed in the last over of the powerplay bowled by Mahmood.

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James Franklin and Brian Lara tried to stabilise the innings. While Franklin was successful in his attempt, Lara looked uncomfortable at the crease. His stay was cut short by Gareth Batty as Lara gave a simple catch to Azhar Mahmood. Lara took 20 balls to score his 11 runs. Scott Styris (4) followed him soon and became the victim of Malinga Bandara and gave Mahmood, his third catch of the match. Franklin kept the scorecard ticking from one end while wickets kept tumbling at the other. In the 17th over, Franklin caressed one to the wide of mid-off to bring up the 100 for the team. In the same over, Franklin brought up his half century in 40 balls.

Botha (11) hit two boundaries before pulling one to deep square leg off the bowling of Brett Lee to lose his wicket in the 18th over. Franklin and Robin Peterson tried to slog but in vain. Franklin hit a maximum in the penultimate over but not much came from his bat after that. Robin Peterson (11) became Lee’s third victim and was dismissed on the last ball of the Leo Lions’ innings. James Franklin remained unbeaten on 65 of 48 balls. His innings included 2 boundaries and 3 sixes.

Chasing 140 to seal the berth in the finals, the Super Kings were rocked by the pace of Fidel Edwards. Opener Neil McKenzie was caught by Scott Styris off the bowling of Edwards in the first over of their chase. Edwards added another wicket to his tally, that of Humayun Farhat, in his next over by trapping him lbw in front of the stumps. An over later, Kyle Jarvis cleaned bowled Azhar Mahmood and all of a sudden the target of 140 seemed like a herculean task for the Super Kings reeling at 18/3 at the end of 4 overs.

Hasan Raza joined Graeme Smith at the crease and the two batsmen slowed things down and tried to keep wickets in hand. Batting didn’t seem easy for either of the two batsmen as they failed to rotate the strike and the asking rate kept going up. The duo put on 53 off 46 balls before the Super Kings skipper Graeme Smith lofted one to deep midwicket off the bowling of his countryman Robin Peterson to be dismissed on 39 that came off 32 balls. The next over, the 13th over of the innings, saw the other settled batsman Hasan Raza lose his wicket to Scott Styris who caught him lbw on 19 of 29 deliveries. Super Kings stuttered at 81/5 at the end of 14 overs.

Two new batsmen, James Foster and Jacob Oram, were at the crease. Foster (11) was soon removed by Peterson in the 16th over and Kings were in all sorts of trouble then. Botha got rid of Oram in the next over and Kings were 94/7. Brett Lee (8) hit an odd boundary but was Jarvis’ second victim of the night. A boundary from Kartik and a maximum from Batty in the 19th over only got the equation down to 22 needed off the last over. The final over saw Jarvis picking up his third wicket and dismissing Kartik for 6. Just 4 runs came off the last over and Virgo Super Kings were left stranded at 122/9 in their 20 overs, falling short by 17 runs.

Brief Scores:

Leo Lions: 139/7 in 20 Overs (Franklin 65*, Lee 3/31)

Virgo Super Kings: 122/9 in 20 overs (Smith 39; Jarvis 3/17)

Man of the Match: James Franklin (Leo Lions)

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