World Giants 166 for 8 (Watson 55, Finch 53, Harbhajan 4-13) beat India Maharajas 164 for 5 (Gambhir 68, Uthappa 29, Powell 2-16) by two runs
Robin Uthappa and Gambhir adopted a watchful approach during the first three overs of the chase of 167. The former Kolkata Knight Riders opening pair rotated strike consistently before Uthappa changed gears in the fourth over as he dispatched Tino Best for two consecutive boundaries.
Meanwhile, Gambhir carried on his momentum from the previous match. He got into his work in the final over of the powerplay, hitting Chris Mpofu for three successive boundaries, pushing along his opening partnership to 65 after the powerplay.
Powell broke the partnership in the next over, as Uthappa found Kevin O’Brien at long-off. But it was Powell’s dismissal of Gambhir in the 16th over, which came about through a quicker delivery that skidded on to rattle the stumps, which was more significant to the late turnaround. Powell ended with figures of 2 for 16 in three overs, even as Brett Lee defended seven off the final over to complete a sensational come-from-behind victory.
Earlier, Giants had made a slow start to their innings, picking up just five runs in the first two overs. Gambhir played his cards smartly by bringing on Harbhajan Singh against Chris Gayle, though Harbhajan started with two consecutive wides while bowling around the wicket. But his switch to over the wicket immediately found success, as a skiddy delivery went on to dislodge the leg stump. It was the seventh time Harbhajan dismissed Gayle in T20s.
New batter Watson began his innings by hitting Harbhajan for two consecutive fours. Finch quickly picked up his scoring rate too as he took down Pragya Ojha in the fifth over, which included four fours and one six.
Ojha’s nightmare evening continued in the seventh over. Finch paddled the second delivery to the final-leg boundary, before smashing an overpitched ball over cover for six. The fourth delivery was also hit for a boundary as Finch brought up his fifty off 26 balls.
Gambhir then replaced Ojha with Pravin Tambe as the Impact Player. And Tambe made an impact in the final delivery of his first over itself, as a quick delivery forced Finch to edge one to Uthappa.
Watson then took charge of the innings. He brought up his 30-ball half-century in the 12th over with a six off Irfan Pathan, clearing his front foot and launching one into the stands over midwicket.
But Harbhajan had derailed Giants’ middle order as he helped reduce them from 129 for 3 to 137 for 7. O’Brien was Harbhajan’s second wicket as he miscued a delivery to Mohammad Kaif, who took a sharp diving catch forward. Two deliveries later, in the 16th over, Ross Taylor was caught lbw. Off the penultimate delivery of the over, Morne van Wyk’s sweep caught an inside edge onto the pads, with Uthappa completing the catch. Harbhajan finished with 4 for 13 off just two overs.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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