New York, Nov 7: Former players rolled back the years as the much-awaited Cricket All Stars series commenced at the Citi Field here on Saturday night (November 7). Warne's Warriors clinched the opener by 6 wickets to lead 1-0 in the 3-game series against Sachin's Blasters.
Captain and Man-of-the-match Shane Warne starred with the ball while compatriot Ricky Ponting hit an unbeaten 48 to steer the Warriors to victory in 17.2 overs. Warne's team comfortably chased down 141 for the loss of 4 wickets. Kumar Sangakkara's 29-ball 41 and Jonty Rhodes' undefeated 20 were also significant in Warriors' victory.
When 7 runs were required for Warriors to win off 18 balls, Sachin Tendulkar came on to bowl. And Rhodes hit the Indian batting legend for a six (2nd ball of the over) to signal the end of the contest.
Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar ran in with the new ball and bowled at good pace and his bouncers troubled the Warriors' batsmen. It was a great sight to watch Akhtar smiling and sending down short-pitched deliveries at his former rivals. Muttaiah Muralitharan effected a run out and bowled a wicket-maiden.
"First match has been special. We thoroughly enjoyed. New York, you were brilliant," said Tendulkar after the match.
Blasters score 140/8; Sehwag 55
Earlier, Virender Sehwag smashed a 22-ball 55 (3x4, 6x6). Blasters scored 140/8 in 20 overs. Former greats of the game lined up at New York Mets' baseball stadium in Citi Field, Flushing Meadows, to enthrall the audience all over the globe.
It generated huge interest across the world and also in America. Warne won the toss and elected to bowl and in walked Sehwag and Tendulkar to open the batting. Wasim Akram opened the bowling for the Warriors and he was impressive.
Sehwag, who is still an active cricketer, playing first-class cricket for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy, displayed his old game. He knows only one way to play, see-ball-hit-ball. He blasted 6 sixes, reaching to half century with one of them.
Blasters were given a rollicking start by Tendulkar and Sehwag. However, Warne put the brakes on the scoring rate. The Australian spin legend first dismissed Tendulkar (26), caught brilliantly by Jacques Kallis and won an LBW appeal against Brian Lara. He had his 3rd, getting VVS Laxman stumped by Sangakkara.
It was a case of nostalgia as Warne bowled to both Tendulkar and Lara (1). The Australian leg-spinner also sent down few deliveries to India's batting artist Laxman, who batted at number 3. After a great beginning, Blasters lost their way with the introduction of Warne.
Warne finished his spell of 4 overs with 3/20, all big wickets - Tendulkar, Lara and Laxman. Another spinner was outstanding on the day. New Zealand's left-armer Daniel Vettori took 1/13 in 4 overs. Thanks to the spinners in the middle overs, Warriors restricted Blasters.
From 85/1 in 8 overs, Sachin's Blasters were pegged back by slow bowlers. Australian Andrew Symonds accounted for 3 wickets with his 2 overs of off-spin. Apart from the openers Tendulkar and Sehwag, the rest of the batting line-up did not make big contributions.
Scores in brief
Sachin's Blasters 140/8 in 20 overs
Batting: Virender Sehwag 55 (22 balls, 3x4, 6x6), Sachin Tendulkar 26 (27 balls, 2x4, 1x6), Mahela Jayawardene 18 (15 balls, 1x6)
Bowling: Shane Warne 4-0-20-3 (11 dot balls), Daniel Vettori 4-0-13-1 (13 dot balls), Andrew Symonds 2-0-15-3, Wasim Akram 4-0-16-0 (13 dot balls)
Sixes: 9; Fours: 5
Warne's Warriors 141/4 in 17.2 overs
Batting: Ricky Ponting 48 not out (38 balls, 3x4, 3x6), Kumar Sangakkara 41 (29 balls, 2x4, 3x6), Jonty Rhodes 20 not out (14 balls, 3x6)
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 4-0-26-2, Muttaiah Muralitharan 4-1-18-1
Sixes: 9; Fours: 9
Match result: Warriors won by 6 wickets with 16 balls remaining
Man-of-the-match: Shane Warne
Next match: November 11 in Houston
Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Brian Lara, Mahela Jayawardene, Carl Hooper, Shaun Pollock, Moin Khan (wicketkeeper), Shoaib Akhtar, Muttaiah Muralitharan, Curtly Ambrose.
Shane Warne (captain), Matthew Hayden, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Andrew Symonds, Jonty Rhodes, Wasim Akram, Daniel Vettori, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald.