Mumbai: Queensland’s Nathan Reardon’s selection in the Australia Legends squad for the Road Safety World Series may have raised many eyebrows as he was an unknown entity with just two T20 Internationals games experience for Australia in his kitty.

However, Sunday’s (March 8) game at the Wankhede Stadium between the Aussies and Sri Lanka Legends will now change that as southpaw Reardon almost turned the fortunes with heroic knock of 53-ball 96 and gave the Asian team almost a heartache before the experience of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Co brought back their team into the game and eventually win it.

Sri Lanka Legends defeated Australia Legends by seven runs. They bundled out the Trans-Tasmanian side for 154 in 19.5 overs, chasing 162 to win.

This was Sri Lanka’s game from the beginning with the names they had in their bowling comprising Chaminda Vaas, Muralitharans, Heraths, Mahroofs and the willy Dilshans. And the Lanka Legends had almost the Aussies in by bringing them seven down for just 59 runs.

However, Reardon did not let his team lose any hope and single handedly took the team closer to the target with his entertaining innings. With 17 needed and two wickets in hand in the last over, captain Dilshan took upon himself to deliver. 

Reardon got back-to-back boundaries before he hoicked Dilshan to mid-wicket which landed in the hands of Sachithra Senanyke, ending all hopes for an Australia win as a set Xavier Doherty, too, failed to cross the finishing line.

Earlier, after choosing to bat first, Sri Lanka Legends put up a collective show with the bat to propel their team to a competitive total of 161 for the loss of eight wickets.

There was no single hero from the Asian team as every individual chipped in with spectacular cameos. Romesh Kaluwitharana, who returned to cricket after 16 years, top scored with an entertaining 30 from 26 balls which included five boundaries.

Meanwhile, Chamara Kapugedara got a quick fire and entertaining 18-ball 28 before all-rounder Farveez Mahroof’s 15-ball 20 helped the Lankans go past 160-run mark.

It started with Kaluwitharana taking on the attack with exquisite drives in the third over, reminding how dangerous he was a batsman when he partnered Sanath Jayasuriya. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, too, showed his old streaks with his unorthodox, but classical hits.

Even as the duo were going good, Dilshan, who successfully executed reverse sweep for boundaries, could not connect the third one and got leg before wicket to Xavier Doherty. Next was Sri Lanka’s most successful batsman Marvan Attapattu. He showed his class with a late cut to the fence to Doherty, but he eventually got out bowled on the next delivery.

After few boundaries, Kaluwitharana, too, was sent home when medium pacer Mark Cosgrove trapped him LBW.

The Lankans needed a partnership but they could not get one. It did not matter though as batsmen one after another got big hits which included fine cameos from Kapugedara and Mahroof.