Raipur, Oct 1: Naman Ojha's sensational 71-ball 108* helped Sachin Tendulkar-led India Legends beat Sri Lanka Legends by 33 in the final at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium here on Saturday (October 1). With this win, the India Legends won the Road Safety World Series (RSWS) title for the second time in a row.
India Legends also won the trophy by defeating Sri Lanka Legends in the final of the inaugural season in 2021 at this venue.
Batting first, India Legends posted a massive 195 for 6 and then bowled out Sri Lanka Legends for 162 runs in 18.5 overs. Chasing the target of 196 runs, Sri Lankan Legends had a poor start and they lost the wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya (5) on the score of 10 runs in the second over bowled by R Vinay Kumar.
In the next over, spinner Rajesh Pawar got Dilshan Munaweera (8) stumped by Ojha. Sri Lanka hadn't even recovered from these setbacks when they suffered their biggest jolt in their in-form of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (11). Dilshan was stumped off Rahul Sharma's delivery after hitting a boundary off 15 balls.
After losing their four wickets for 67 runs in 10 overs, the run chase was always going to be tough for the Sri Lankans as half of their team had returned to the pavilion when the scoreboard read 78. Upul Tharanga (10) and Asela Gunaratne (19) were also out cheaply in the middle overs.
Ishan Jayaratne, however, played the highest innings of 51 runs for Sri Lanka. He hit four fours and as many sixes in his knock of 22 balls. Apart from him, Jeevan Mendis scored 20 and Mahela Udavatte scored 26 runs.
R Vinay Kumar was the most successful bowler for India Legends, as he picked up three wickets for 38 runs. Apart from him, Abhimanyu Mithun took two wickets for 28 runs from his four overs. Rajesh Pawar, Stuart Binny, Rahul Sharma and Yusuf Pathan got one wicket each.
Earlier, India Legends won the toss and elected to bat first and scored 195 for 6 in the stipulated 20 overs. The start of the Indians was also not good and they lost their two wickets for the score of 19.
Captain Sachin Tendulkar fell victim to a golden duck while Suresh Raina (4) returned to the pavilion after hitting a four in two balls. Both the batsmen were made their victims by Nuwan Kulasekara. Naman Ojha (108*) and R Vinay Kumar (36) then stitched a 90-run partnership for the third wicket and took India Legends out of trouble.
Vinay was dismissed as the third batsman when the team's score read 109. He was caught by Isuru Udana by Ishan Jayaratna. Vinay hit four fours and a six in 21 balls in his explosive cameo.
Ojha then steadied the ship with Yuvraj Singh (19) and didn't let the net run rate down. By the end of the 15th over, India Legends had scored 139 for 3 wickets.
In the last five overs, Ojha and Yuvraj changed gears and played some aggressive shots and added 45 runs for the fourth wicket. Yuvraj, then, became Kulaskera's third victim after hitting two fours and a six in 13 balls.
After Yuvraj's dismissal, all-rounder Irfan Pathan stepped into the crease and Ojha along with him continued the run rate. In the 19th over, Ojha completed his century in 68 balls with the help of 14 fours and two sixes.
Irfan (11) with the help of a six in nine balls and his brother Yusuf Pathan was dismissed without scoring in the final over of innings. However, Stuart Binny hit two fours in the last two balls to take India Legends to 195 for 6 in 20 overs.
Ojha carried his bat through with his unbeaten knock of 108 runs in 71 balls, including 15 fours and two sixes. Ojha also became the highest individual scorer in the Road Safety World Series.
For Sri Lanka Legends, Nuwan Kulasekara took 3 for 29 in 3 overs, Isuru Udana scored 34 runs in four overs, and Ishan Jayaratne took one wicket for 44 runs in four overs.