Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis cracked elegant half-centuries to lead World Giants to the final of the Legends League Cricket (LLC) Masters, defeating Asia Lions by 20 runs in the sixth match of the tournament at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium, here.
Amla scored 68 off 59 balls with nine boundaries and a six while Kallis scored an unbeaten 56 off 43 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. Together, they put on a 105 runs partnership in 80 balls to help World Giants post 150 for 3 in 20 overs.
In reply, Asia Lions were restricted to 130 in 19.1 overs through Chris Mpofu and Tino Best's three-wicket spells. Except for Tillakaratne Dilshan (37) and skipper Shahid Afridi (26), none rose to the challenge and crashed to a 20-run defeat on Thursday night.
Asia Lions will now meet India Maharajas in Saturday's Eliminator. Asia Lions won the toss and elected to bowl. World Giants' opener Amla scored the first boundary of the day off Mohammad Hafeez through a reverse sweep.
Chris Gayle, who had played a match winning knock of 57 against India Maharajas in the last game, got run out for 2 in a terrible mix-up. Amla called for a single and raced to the other non-striker's end.
As Gayle was out of the crease at the non-striker's end, he was declared out when wicketkeeper Upul Tharanga removed the bails off Afridi's throw from mid-off. Shane Watson, who captained the team in this match, began by sweeping Hafeez to the square leg boundary in the fourth over.
Amla picked two consecutive boundaries off the first two deliveries from left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak in the fifth over. Watson hit the fourth ball of the sixth over from Sohail Tanvir into the hands of Shahid Afridi at mid-wicket on his personal score of 6.
Tanvir went on to produce a wicket maiden. South Africa's legendary batsman Kallis joined his countryman Amla. At the end of the powerplay, World Giants had scored only 30 runs and lost two wickets.
Razzak bowled a brilliant seventh over giving away just five runs and World Giants were left gasping for runs. Tanvir restricted the run flow further preventing the batsmen from taking any liberties.
Razzak's ninth over was tighter, giving just three runs. Skipper Afridi, who introduced himself, too gave away only three runs, and at the halfway mark World Giants could muster only 48 for 2.
In the 12th over, Kallis scored a boundary off Afridi's first delivery while Amla hit another off the last ball. It was after seven overs that over ten runs were scored off an over.
Kallis lifted Isuru Udana over mid-wicket for a six in the 13th over. The pair recorded their 50 runs partnership in 7.5 overs. Kallis went on to hit Afridi for two consecutive boundaries, the first to square leg and the next through the extra cover.
Abdul Razzaq who was introduced for the 15th over gave away just four runs. Amla hit a six off Mohammad Amir to the fine leg. He also hit Amir to short third man for another boundary and reached his half-century in 49 balls with seven boundaries and a six.
The score went past the 100-run mark in 15.3 overs. Amla hit a boundary off Razzaq's second over through extra cover while Kallis lifted him over long-on for a mighty six.
Tanvir was re-introduced to check the run-flow but Kallis elegantly flicked him to the long leg fence for another boundary. The pair registered their 100-run partnership in the 19th over in 12.5 overs.
Kallis reached his half-century too in 39 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. Amir yorked Amla with the last ball of the 19th over for 68. The first ball of the last over bowled by Tanvir was hit to a short fine leg boundary by Kallis.
Kevin O'Brien who joined Kallis pulled the fifth ball for a six over mid-wicket to ensure a challenging total of 150 for 3 in 20 overs. World Giants scored 60 runs off the last five overs losing just one wicket.
Chasing the target, Asia Lions openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan, fresh from their 73 runs partnership against India Maharajas in their previous match, began cautiously.
World Giants introduced Ricardo Powell as the impact player in place of Amla. Dilshan picked the first boundary of the innings off the second ball of the second over from Monty Panesar to the backward square leg fence.
He also hit Brett Lee's second delivery off the third over to backward square leg for another boundary. In the third over, Dilshan was in full flow hitting Samit Patel for a six over backward point and followed it up with two boundaries off the next two deliveries.
The first boundary was a reverse hit and the next cut fiercely. Sixteen runs were scored off Patel's over. Tharanga fell to the last ball of the fifth over, clean bowled by Chris Mpofu for 4 to end the 38 runs partnership.
Thisara Perera who joined Dilshan hit Powell's third delivery for a six to mid-wicket. At the end of the powerplay, Asia Lions scored 47 for 1. Tino Best, who was introduced for the seventh over, yorked Perera for 12.
Monty Panesar bowled a tight eighth over giving just four runs. Best trapped Dilshan's leg before with the first ball of the ninth over for 37 to push Asia Lions into trouble. His knock off 28 balls had five boundaries and a six.
Misbah Ul Haq walked in with the score reading 58 for 3 in 8.1 overs and began with an elegant square drive off Best to the backward point fence. Hafeez too picked a boundary off Panesar to third man and at the halfway mark, Asia Lions were 71 for 3 needing another 80 runs from the last 60 balls.
Mpofu picked the valuable wicket of Misbah with the second ball of the 11th over. Misbah on 5, edged onto his wicket while attempting to steer to the third man. All eyes now turned towards Afridi with the required run rate mounting to 8.44.
Hafeez departed to the last ball of the 13th over, run out by Mpofu while attempting a risky single for 13. This pushed Asia Lions into deep trouble with half the side in the dug-out for 85 runs.
Sohail Tanvir, known for his big hits, joined Afridi.
Lee was re-introduced for the 15th over and Afridi swung the first delivery to mid-wicket for a six. He also lofted Lee's fourth delivery for a straight boundary. Attempting another big hit off the fifth ball, he got caught by Best at deep mid-wicket for 26.
His 18-ball knock had three boundaries and a six. World Giants took a firm grip on the match when Patel had Tanvir stumped by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk for 5. With 23 runs needed off the last two overs, Paras Khadka got run out to bowler Mpofu's direct hit.
Mpofu also clean-bowled Isuru Udana for a duck. Best picked his third wicket in the last over, clean bowling Abdul Razzaq for 9 to book his team's place in the final.
Brief scores: World Giants 150 for 3 in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 68, Jacques Kallis 56 not out; Sohail Tanvir 1/31) beat Asia Lions 130 in 19.1 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 37, Shahid Afridi 26; Chris Mpofu 3 for 16, Tino Best 3 for 20) by 20 runs.