Updated March 20th, 2024 at 00:31 IST

Legends Cricket Trophy: Rajasthan Kings Beat New York Superstar Strikers to emerge as champions

Ashley Nurse's all-round show and disciplined bowling effort helped Rajasthan Kings register a clinical 20-run win over New York Superstar Strikers.

Legends Cricket Trophy | Image:Special Arrangement
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Ashley Nurse's all-round show and disciplined bowling effort helped Rajasthan Kings register a clinical 20-run win over New York Superstar Strikers in the highly anticipated grand finale at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, March 19, to be crowned the champions of the first ever 90-ball format - Legends Cricket Trophy 2024.

In the 90-ball per side game, Ashley Nurse top-scored 97 for Rajasthan Kings and the West Indies star also picked up a wicket at a crucial juncture and bagged the player of the match award in the final.

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Chasing a stiff target of 180 set by Rajasthan Kings, New York Superstar Strikers could only reach 159 for 6 in the stipulated 15 overs and lost the game.

The Strikers' opening duo, Chadwick Walton and Alviro Petersen, initiated their chase cautiously in the powerplay for their team. Walton fell victim to Robin Uthappa's quick glovework, getting stumped for 17 off 15 balls after being deceived by Shadab Jakati's spin.

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Following Walton's dismissal at 37 runs in 4.5 overs, the Strikers sought a substantial contribution from Petersen. However, Bipul Sharma dismissed Petersen for just 3 runs added to the team's tally, ending his innings at a slow 17 off 16 balls.

Introduced into the attack in the ninth over, Ashley Nurse claimed the Strikers' third wicket, dismissing the dangerous Chamara Kapugedera for 30 off 15 balls. The scoreboard reflected 77 for three in 9 overs for the Strikers.

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Reaching 86/3 in 10 overs, the Strikers faced the challenge of scoring 94 runs from the remaining 30 balls, as the Rajasthan Kings' bowlers maintained a tight grip on the game.

Under mounting pressure, Asela Gunaratne contributed a quickfire 24 off 13 balls before being dismissed by Chaturanga de Silva in the 12th over. Yuvraj Singh, who had remained quiet until the 12th over, unleashed his aggressive intent in the 13th over, smashing three consecutive sixes off Shadab Jakati.

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Yuvraj continued his onslaught in the 14th over, striking four boundaries and a maximum off Manpreet Gony as the Strikers reached 152 runs. However, with 28 runs required from the final over, Yuvraj's valiant efforts were not enough to turn the tide.

Despite completing his fifty off 20 balls, he was caught by Rajesh Bishnoi on the third ball of the over, dashing the Strikers' hopes of victory.

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Ultimately, Rajasthan Kings restricted the Superstar Strikers to 159 for six in the stipulated 90 balls, securing a 20-run victory. Captain Robin Uthappa's strategic leadership and the collective effort of the Kings' bowlers played a pivotal role in their triumph.

All bowlers from the Rajasthan Kings put up a commendable performance, with five out of six bowlers claiming one wicket each. Former India cricketer Parvinder Awana stood out, conceding only 26 runs, and taking one wicket in his three overs.

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Earlier in the day, Yuvraj Singh made the winning call at the toss, electing to field first against Robin Uthappa-led side.

Despite Uthappa's early dismissal after a brisk 16 off 7 deliveries by Jerome Taylor, the Rajasthan Kings found their momentum with an impressive partnership between former Zimbabwe batting star Hamilton Masakadza and Ashley Nurse. Together, they amassed a formidable 106-run stand for the second wicket in just 53 balls.

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Masakadza, opening the innings, showcased his prowess with a rapid-fire 56 off 30 balls, comprising seven boundaries and a couple of sixes. Meanwhile, Nurse fell agonizingly short of a century, dismissed in the final over of the innings for a blistering 97 off only 41 deliveries. The former West Indies cricketer's innings featured 12 fours and half-a-dozen sixes before he was bowled out.

Jerome Taylor emerged as the standout bowler for the New York Superstar Strikers, claiming three crucial wickets for 40 runs. His victims included Uthappa, Masakadza, and Nurse. Nuwan Pradeep also made an impact with the ball for the Strikers, conceding just 20 runs and taking one wicket in his three overs. Rajasthan Kings managed to post a challenging total of 179/4 from the allotted 90 deliveries. 

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Published March 20th, 2024 at 00:31 IST