Riding on a superb all-round show, Gemini Arabians registered a massive 78-run win over Libra Legends in the opening match of the Masters Champions League Twenty20 tournament at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium (DICS) in Dubai.
Put into bat, Gemini Arabians posted a massive 234 for three in their allotted 20 overs and in response Libra Legends could manage only 156/8. The hero of the Gemini win was the pair of Kumar Sangakkara (86 runs 43 balls, 6×4, 7×6) and opener Richard Levi (62 runs, 43 balls, 4×4, 3×6).
Together, they stitched together an 84-run partnership for the second wicket after skipper Virender Sehwag (21) got the tournament off to a rollicking start with a six off the first ball. Once Levi left and Sangakkara got out, it was the turn of the Australian Brad Hodge to strike big as he smashed an unbeaten 46 off 19 deliveries with two boundaries and four sixes.
In reply, Libra Legends failed to get going and were reduced to 43 for four with New Zealand pacer Kyle Mills doing the initial damage to notch up figures of 2/27 in his four overs. After this, Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, also worked his magic to grab a couple of wickets.
Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate was the lone batsman to show some defiance with a 53-runs knock that came off 37 deliveries.
Earlier, the tournament got off to a grand opening ceremony. It featured all the six captains including Adam Gilchrist (Sagittarius Strikers), Paul Collingwood (Capricorn Commanders), Brian Lara (Leo Lions), Graeme Smith (Virgo Super Kings), apart from Jacques Kallis (Libra Legends) and Sehwag (Gemini Arabians). All six captains signed the pledge of spirit of cricket.