Negi guides Southern Super Stars to thrilling win over Manipal Tigers

A batsman hitting a shot during a Legends League Cricket match in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
A batsman hitting a shot during a Legends League Cricket match in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Legends League Cricket

Match attracts less crowd
Ranjit Thakur
JAMMU, Nov 27: Despite the brilliant display by spinning trio of Praveen Gupta, Imran Khan and skipper Harbhajan Singh, who hit the right areas and bowled with nagging line and teasing length, Pawan Negi played a power-packed innings of 11-ball 25 runs to guide Southern Super Stars to a thrilling 5-wicket victory over their rivals on a wicket that was on slower side in the prestigious Legends League Cricket at MA Stadium, here today.
While chasing a modest total of 124 runs set by Manipal Tigers, Southern Super Stars needed 28 runs in the last two overs and rode on Pawan Negi’s heroics to finish the game in 19.4 overs. Negi hit 2 fours and 2 massive sixes in his explosive knock.
Openers Jesse Ryder and Upul Tharanga scored 30 runs each off 31 and 38 balls respectively. Ryder hit 4 fours and one six in his knock, while Tharanga struck 2 fours and one six. Shreevats Goswami and Rajesh Bishnoi also contributed valuable 19 and 11 runs to the total.

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Praveen Gupta of Manipal Tigers was the pick of the bowlers, who took 2 wickets by conceding 9 runs in his 3 overs, while Imran Khan also took 2 wickets by giving away 24 runs in his 4 overs. Skipper Harbhajan Singh was the most economical bowler who gave away just 10 runs in his 4 overs and took an important wicket of explosive opener Jesse Ryder.
Earlier, winning the toss and batting first, Harbhajan Singh-led Manipal Tigers scored a modest total of 124 runs in 20 overs, losing 9 wickets on the surface which was on the slower side.
Anjelo Perera top scored with unbeaten 47 runs off 34 balls, studded with 2 fours and 2 sixes, while Hamilton Masakadza contributed 26 runs off 28 balls with 2 fours. Thisara Perera (13) and Robin Uthappa (11) were the other contributors. Pawan Negi, Abdur Razzak and Johan Botha took 2 wickets each for Southern Super Stars, while Ashok Dinda and C de Silva claimed one wicket each.
The match, however, attracted less crowd.
Although it has been three decades since Jammu hosted an international level cricket event and there was a frenzy surrounding the sale of Legends League Cricket (LLC) tickets, the opening match between Manipal Tigers and Southern Super Stars at the MA Stadium failed to attract a full crowd.
During the first game, a significant portion of the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu remained unoccupied. Although the stadium can accommodate approximately 20,000 individuals, the organizers missed out on the chance due to insufficient management and their lack of experience in hosting international events.
Prior to the commencement of the match, chaos was observed outside MA Stadium, which apparently was created due to `security reasons’ and delayed entry of spectators into the stadium. The organizers exhibited a total lack of management skills as spectators from various regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were unable to obtain tickets and returned empty handed despite waiting in the queues for hours.
The cricket enthusiasts in Jammu are also upset about the escalated ticket prices. Previously, the tickets were available for Rs 299, but now they are being sold for Rs 500 to Rs 2000. “The people of Jammu have been eagerly anticipating this event for a long time, but the exorbitant prices fixed by the organizers are unacceptable. We would like the tickets to be reasonably priced and accessible to the general public,” expressed a cricket lover.
The people of Jammu, particularly hoteliers, were anticipating a significant boost to local business due to an international level cricket event taking place in Jammu after many years. However, it appears that the event turned out to be a disappointment.
On the other hand, Legends League supporters contended that there are a number of reasons that contributed to the low turnout in the stadium in the first game. They clarified that since Jammu had never held such an event before, people may have been put off by their unfamiliarity. Concerns about parking and security also played a part in the low turnout. They nevertheless maintain their optimism and hope that the next games will draw a bigger crowd.
There were more than 100 former cricketers, including Mohammad Kaif, Yusuf Pathan, S Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa – from India, Shane Watson (Australia), Tilakarante Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Chris Gayle, Ricardo Powell, Dwanye Smith and Tino Best (West Indies), Kevin O’Brien (Ireland), Hashim Amla and Morne Morkel (South Africa), Kevin Petersen (England), Abdur Razzak (Bangladesh), Ross Taylor and Martin Guptil (New Zealand), and Asghar Afghan (Afghanistan) are coming to Jammu to play in these matches.