Warne's Warriors finish the series unbeaten
Warne's Warriors beat Sachin's Blasters for the third consecutive time in the Cricket All-Stars League, thus winning the series 3-0. Sachin's Blasters opted to bat first and finished at 219/5, with Tendulkar and Ganguly scoring 56 and 50 runs respectively. However, riding on great performances by Kallis (47), Ponting (43), and Sangakkara (42), Warne's Warriors won, scoring 224/6 with just one ball remaining.
The tournament was a brainchild of legendary former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar and former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne. The idea was to gather former cricketers to form different teams and play matches against each other. This league would see 29 former cricketing superstars playing in a 3 match T20 series. The planning of the league was done in May 2015.
The objective of the league is to make cricket popular among Americans and develop the sport in the nation. During practice sessions, the cricketers would share their valuable advice with more than 100 youngsters as well as with USA's women's cricket team. It would be a golden chance for people who wanted to see the legends of crickets perform in front of them.
The league was approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and had no exclusive affiliation with the USA Cricket Association or any other cricket association. All the rules of general T20 matches would be followed except that the bowler can bowl 5 overs instead of 4 overs. Drop-in pitches would be used for every game as every venue hosts baseball games.
A drop-in pitch is a cricket pitch which is prepared away from the ground or venue in which it is used, and literally "dropped in" place for a cricket match.
The first match would be played in New York on November 7 at the Citi field stadium which has a capacity of 45000 people. The second match would be played on November 11 in Houston's Minute Maid Park which has a capacity of 41000 people . The last match would be played in Los Angeles at Dodger stadium on November 14.
Three of the most experienced umpires - Simon Taufel, Steve Davis and Marais Erasmus have been hired to conduct the games. The trio, amongst themselves, have stood in 617 international matches.
The squads for Cricket All Stars series were picked up by a random draw conducted at New York's Time Square. However, the fate of former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar was decided by a coin flip. The king of spin, Shane Warne's team had several of his former Australian teammates, while Sachin Tendulkar's team was dominated by former Indian cricketers.
Sachin Tendulkar's team has VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Brian Lara, Mahela Jayawardene, Carl Hooper, Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock, Moin Khan, Graeme Swann, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shoaib Akhtar and Curtly Ambrose. Shane Warne's team has Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael Vaughan, Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara, Andrew Symonds, Jonty Rhodes, Saqlain Mushtaq, Wasim Akram, Daniel Vettori, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald and Ajit Agarkar
Ahead of the first match of the Cricket All Stars, Sachin Tendulkar told reporters in New York that the idea behind these matches was to globalise cricket. He said that they were doing it to motivate youngsters as well as women cricketers to play cricket. He added that one day the American cricket team would also participate in the Cricket World Cup.
In a bid to highlight the Cricket All Stars league, Warne and Sachin would ring the opening bell of New Yotk Stock exchange at 9:30 am on November 7. They would become the first cricketers to do so.
In the first match, batting first, Tendulkar's team set a target of 141 runs with Virendra Sehwag scoring the league's first half century off just 20 balls. Shane Warne and Symonds took 3 wickets each for the Warriors. Batting second, the warriors easily reached the target with Ponting scoring 48 not out and Sangakkara hitting a 41 run knock.
Warne Warriors beat Sachin's Blasters in the second match in Houston by 57 runs, thereby, winning the series 2-0. Sangakkara's 70 helped the warriors post the mammoth total of 262 for 5 in 20 overs, cheered on by the ~28000 strong crowd. In return, Tendulkar's team were able to post 208 for eight, with Pollock amassing the highest number of runs (55).