Cuttack: A superlative opening partnership between Tatenda Taibu and Jesse Ryder helped the Manipal Tigers post 175/8 in 20 overs against the Bhilwara Kings in the eighth match of the SKY247.net Legends League Cricket (LLC) on Monday.
The decision to put the Tigers in to bat first at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack almost backfired on Kings’ captain Irfan Pathan as the rival openers swung into action with big hits from the very beginning. Nothing looked to work for the Kings as Taibu and Ryder thrashed anything loose from Fidel Edwards, Tino Best and captain Irfan.
A copybook six over Irfan’s head from Taibu showed that his skills with the bat remain as it were during his playing days. The duo plundered 63 without loss in the six Powerplay overs with their outstanding strokeplay.
Former Zimbabwe captain Taibu was more fluent, scoring 54 off 30 balls with five fours and four sixes. New Zealander Ryder too was at his aggressive best as he slammed 47 off 35 balls, with six boundaries and two sixes.
The opening pair shared a 109-run partnership before Irfan was bailed out by his elder brother, Yusuf Pathan. Bowling his part-time spin, Yusuf (2/25) removed both Ryder and Taibu in the 11th over of the innings.
The dual strike pushed the Tigers on their backfoot somewhat and their run rate dropped. Corey Anderson (24) and Mohammad Kaif (32) tried their best to force the pace of the innings, but did not quite succeed.
The Tigers’ hopes of having a couple of big overs at the death were hit hard when Caribbean speedster Best (3/20) scalped three wickets in the 19th over.