DOHA: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi concealed the logo of a betting company on his shirt during the Legend League Cricket Masters – a T20 league featuring retired cricket superstars.
Afridi, who is leading one of the three teams at the event, put a tape to hide the betting company’s logo, which is also one of the main sponsors of the league, on his kit in the opening match between Asia Lions and India Maharajas on Friday.
Being a devout Muslim, the legendary all-rounder remained steadfast to his religious values, which prohibit gambling. His brave move might invite a censure or a hefty fine on him by the league organizers.
It may be noted here that Afridi-led Asia Lions claimed a narrow nine-run victory over Gautam Gambhir-led India Maharajas in the match.
Opting to bat first, the Lions accumulated 165/6 in their allotted 20 overs at the back of an anchoring half-century by Misbah and Upul Tharanga’s gritty 40.
Earlier, the Lions were off to a poor start against the Maharajas as the side lost two wickets inside three overs for just 18 runs as Tillakaratne Dilshan (5) and Asghar Afghan (1) perished cheaply.
Following the slump, Misbah stitched an anchoring 108-run partnership for the third wicket with Tharanga and put the side into a commanding position before the latter perished in the 15th over.
The wicketkeeper batter scored a cautious 39-ball 40 and hit two sixes.
Misbah then put on another vital partnership for the Lions as he put on a brief 23-run stand with skipper Shahid Afridi, who scored a brisk eight-ball 12 before perishing in the 17th over.
The Maharajas then finally got rid of Misbah in the next over, who top-scored for the Lions with 73 off 50 deliveries, laced up with two boundaries and four sixes.
Parvinder Awana and Stuart Binny bagged two wickets each for the Maharajas while Irfan Pathan and Ashok Dinda made one scalp each.
Set to chase 166, the Maharajas fell nine runs short as the side could accumulate 156/8 despite Gautam Gambhir’s fifty.
The skipper top-scored for his side in the run chase with a 39-ball 54 but received no significant support from the other end and thus the Maharajas eventually fell short.
Besides Gambhir, Murali Vijay (25) and Mohammad Kaif (23) remained the other notable run-getters while the rest failed to deliver in the run chase.
Left-arm pacer Tanvir led the bowling attack for the Lions with 3/27 while skipper Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Thisara Perera, Dilshan and Isuru Udana picked up a wicket each.
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