Masters Champions League Age has neither dented Virender Sehwag’s instincts nor his omnipresent hunger for runs. The way he blasted the opposition bowlers was a treat to watch in the 10th game of Masters Champions League. Viru is the captain of Gemini Arabians and when he won the toss, he elected to bat. Coming out to open with South African’s Jacques Rudolph, Sehwag went on the rampage from the word go. When he lost his partner in the 8th over, Sehwag had already gone past 50 in his team’s score of 86/1. The relentless Viru continued to blast the bowling and finished 134 off 63-balls with 10 fours and 11 sixes. Viru’s score was a solid foundation in his team’s final score of 224/7. In a 20-over match, overhauling 224 was no joke but Sagittarius Strikers took the gauntlet in their stride despite losing skipper Adam Gilchrist in the first over. Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed,  Mahela Jayawardane and Yasir Arafat chipped in with useful cameos and Strikers went past 200. However, overhauling 224 became too much in the end. While the Arabians walked off with a narrow 12-run victory, Sehwag deservedly won the Player-of-the-Match award. With that, the Arabians literally ensured themselves a place in the semifinal, having won all their four matches in the tournament so far.

Virender Sehwag made a signature statement in Friday’s match for his Gemini Arabians, who faced Adam Gilchrist’s Sagittarius Strikers in the 10th match of the newly instituted Masters Champions League. He won the toss and decided to bat first. For company, Viru had Jacques Rudolph of South Africa. After scoring 31 in the first 4 overs, Arabians went on rampage in the fifth from Shane Bond of New Zealand. After the mercurial Virender Sehwag hit a six and ran for a single, Rudolph struck four consecutive boundaries and the Arabians went past 50.  When another New Zealander Daniel Vettori came to bowl the sixth over, Sehwag welcomed him by taking 17. Though Rudolph got out for a 19-ball 27 in the 8th over, Sehwag was joined by Kumara Sangakkara. The two famous blasters of yesteryears hoisted the Arabians to 221 in the 19th over before Viru got out for 134 scored off just 63 balls. By then, Sehwag had swung the ball over the ropes for 11 times while also smacking 10 boundaries. Sangakkara followed Viru soon after making 51 off 33 balls and Arabians reached 224/7 in their 20 overs.

Chasing 225 in a 20-over game is not a mean task and despite losing the mercurial Adam Gilchrist in the first over, Strikers didn’t bow down. They had the batting power of their own. Even after losing Mahela Jayawardane Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed scared the Arabians with their brave knocks. Farhat scored 51 off 32 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes and Hameed hammered 41 off 22 with 4 sixes and one four. Yasir Arafat and Krishmar Santokie came up with impressive cameos and the Strikers crossed 200. In the end however, the weight of 225 runs became too much and Strikers fell short by 12 runs.

The MCL has been extremely exciting so far with every game having been keenly fought. The yesteryear’s stars don’t look jaded as they go about doing their best. Age may be a factor but players like Sehwag, Gilchrist, Muthaiya Muralitharan, Kumara Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardane, Sourav Ganguly, Saqlain Mustaq, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Paul Collingwood and Graeme Smith are adding glitz to the games. Now only 5 league matches remain before the semifinal line-up becomes clear. Sehwag’s Gemini Arabians are literally ensured of the semifinal berth with 4 wins in 4 matches. Dubai will host the semifinals and final between February 11 and 13, 2016.