Zimbabweans Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza once again played key roles as the India Capitals overcame the Gujarat Giants' challenge by six wickets in the seventh match of the Legends League Cricket (LLC) on Sunday.
The win at the Arun Jaitley Stadium was the Capitals' second in the League and they now occupy the top spot in the standings. The Giants have also won two matches, but they are placed second by virtue of having an inferior net run rate than the Capitals.
Chasing a 153-run target, after electing to bowl first, the Capitals were off to a good start with captain Gautam Gambhir and Mire combining well. They raced to 48 in four overs before Gambhir (14) was trapped lbw by Giants spinner KP Apanna.
Mire did not last long thereafter, but his brisk innings provided the Capitals with an ideal platform to launch their chase. The 33-year-old former Zimbabwe batter slammed 41 off just 23 balls with five boundaries and two huge sixes.
Masakadza then picked up the baton from compatriot Mire to keep the Capitals on track. Along with former West Indies international Denesh Ramdin (13), Masakadza shared a 52-run partnership to take the Capitals closer to the target.
Masakadza made 50 off 34 balls with seven fours and a six and by the time the Giants managed to get rid of him, the Capitals were only 25 runs away from the target. They completed the chase in 18.5 overs, with Rajat Bhatia (11) and Ashley Nurse (11) staying unbeaten.
Ajantha Mendis was the pick of the bowlers for his side, taking 2/26.
Earlier, the Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was leading the Giants, played a captain's knock. Opening the innings, he remained not out on 75 from 59 balls to guide the Giants to a respectable total.
That No.8 batsman Graeme Swann's 26 was the next-best score in the Giants' innings speaks of the significance of Dilshan's effort.
The Giants had begun well with Irishman Kevin O'Brien (23) unleashing his boundary shots, but the Capitals bowlers, led by 50-year-old Pravin Tambe, put a lid on their scoring by scalping regular wickets.
While the Giants were 47 without loss after the fifth over, they slipped to 57/5 in the ninth over. The mid-innings collapse hurt them badly and they never really recovered from that though Dilshan played a masterful knock.
Alongside Tambe (2/30), Ashley Nurse too bowled well, picking up 2/28. (ANI)