India Capitals, the GMR group-owned franchisee in Legends League Cricket (LLC) T20, held their nerve against Gujarat Giants in the Eliminator to post a win and proceed to Qualifier 2 of LLC Season 2, where they will be up against the Manipal Tigers on Thursday. At the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium on Wednesday evening, the India Capitals, who are defending champions, scored a mammoth 223 while losing seven wickets batting first. In response, the Gujarat Giants lost the same number of wickets but fell short by 12 runs.
Captain Gautam Gambhir led from the front to register the team’s highest individual score of 51 from 30 balls, with valuable contributions from almost every batter. The Gujarat Giants’ looked ahead of the game till the 18th over of the chase, thanks to a dominating fourth wicket stand of 115 between Chris Gayle and Kevin O’Brien, but after both left in successive overs, the Indian Capitals managed to pull the game back.
The 19th over bowled by Sri Lankan pacer Isuru Udana stood out as he took the wicket of the dangerous Gayle and gave just two runs in the over.
India Capitals will meet Manipal Tigers in the Qualifiers II on December 7, 2023. The match will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports Network from 06:30 pm IST onwards. The game can also be streamed LIVE on Disney+ Hotstar and FanCode.
After winning the toss, the Gujarat Giants chose to bowl first and invited the defending champions to bat. Gautam Gambhir and Kirk Edwards put up an opening stand of over 60 in just over six overs before the latter holed out.
Pieterson joined the skipper at number three, scoring a quick-fire 26 in 15 balls with the help of three big sixes. Gambhir was dismissed after bringing up his half-century, but cameos from Ben Dunk and Bharath Chipli took the score over 200. At one point, even 240 looked a possibility, and despite some good bowling, the India Capitals put up a more than competitive 223. Rajat Bhatia was the pick of the bowlers for the Giants as he finished with figures of 2-37.
The Giants started the chase well and kept the run rate above the 10 per over mark continuously, even accelerating further after the 11th over. Wickets then began to fall, but Gayle kept the scorecard moving at a good pace from one end and then found a willing accomplice in Kevin O’Brien.
The pair threatened to take the game away, and Gayle top-scored for the Giants with a powerful knock of 84 runs from 55 balls. Kevin also got a half-century; however, India Capitals removed both batters in consecutive balls to get the game back on track before Udana sealed it with a telling 19th over. South African Rusty Theron, defending 21 in the final over, too got into the act, picking up a couple of wickets.
For his 22 runs off four overs and a wicket, Isuru Udana was declared the Player of the Match.
India Capitals – 223-7 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 51(30), Bharat Chipli 35(16), Ben Dunk 30(10), Rajat Bhatia 2-37) beat Gujarat Giants – 211/7 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 84(55), Kevin O’ Brien 57(33), Ishwar Pandey 2-34, Rusty Theron 2-37)
Man of the Match – Isuru Udana