The historic inaugural Masters Champions League T20 cricket tournament has reached the semifinal stage, and the first playoff match will be streaming live online as the top-of-the-table Gemini Arabians face the fourth-place Sagittarius Strikers for a spot in Saturday’s first-ever championship final of the new league starring many of the greatest cricket stars of recent years taking to the field one more time.
Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara, who retired only late last year, led Gemini to an undefeated 5-0 record, leading the league in scoring by a whopping 62 runs. But his former Sri Lanka teammate Mahela Jayawardene came in second in scoring, and will be on the Sagittarius side in the semifinal match.
Jayawardene also distinguished himself as one of only two batsmen in the Masters Champions League to score a century — the other being retired India great Virender Sehwag, who captains the Gemini Arabians.
Sangakkara never notched a ton in his team’s five games, but he did record four scores of 50 or more in the group stage.
Also featuring for the favored Arabians will be newly retired West Indies veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Australia’s Brad Hodge and Saqib Ali representing the tournament’s host country, United Arab Emirates.
During the group stage competition, Gemini Arabians and Sagittarius Strikers met once, on February 5, with Gemini winning by 12 runs, led by Sehwag’s 134 and 51 from Sangakkara. Watch highlights of that match in the video below.
To find out how to watch the 2016 inaugural Masters Champions League semifinal, Gemini Arabians vs. Sagittarius Strikers, live online for free and legally, see the streaming links at the bottom of this article. The playoff match gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Gulf Standard Time at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday, February 11.
For viewers around the world, the start time will be 3:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time — 10:30 a.m. United States Eastern Time, 7:30 a.m. Pacific.
In addition to Jayawardene, the Sagittarius lineup includes New Zealand spin bowling great Daniel Vettori, Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and South African Jonathan Trott.
But the first-ever Masters Champions League has also needed to work through some growing pains. In fact, the league almost came to a standstill earlier in February, when players on certain teams complained of not being paid. But the company that owns the league, Grand Midwest Hotels, wrote checks to any players who had not received timely payments, holding off a threatened walkout by the players.
The International Cricket Council has also taken a close look at the league’s use of players who are not fully retired from all forms of cricket, which was key to the Masters Champions League original charter. A number of prominent players, including Sangakkara, regularly take part in domestic franchise T20 leagues even though they have ostensibly retired from international competition.
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To watch the first Master Champions League T20 cricket semifinal — Gemini Arabians Vs. Sagittarius Strikers — streaming live online free and legally from Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, go to ESPN3, the online-only channel in the ESPN network, which will carry the historic contest live at this link. ESPN3 will also carry the next two games of Masters Champions League playoffs, culminating in Saturday’s championship final. The streaming ESPN3 sports channel is free to customers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link. The channel can be accessed through the WatchESPN app on mobile and set-top streaming devices as well.
International viewers, or anyone who for some reason lack access to ESPN3, can still stream the Gemini Arabians Vs. Sagittarius Strikers Master Champions League T20 cricket semifinal live, using Cricket Gateway, accessible at this link, or on mobile devices by downloading the Cricket Gateway app.
[Featured Photo By Francois Nel / Getty Images]