World XI win $14.65m charity match

Tuesday, January 11 2005

ICC World XI vs ACC Asian XI at the MCG, 11 January 2005

Ricky Ponting led the ICC World XI to victory over the Asian XI in a match which has so far raised over $14.65m for the victims of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami disaster. Ponting scored 115 in the World XI's total of 344, to which the Asian XI could only reply with 232.

After the World XI won the toss on an MCG belter and elected to bat first, the capacity Melbourne crowd of over 70,000 buzzed in anticipation of a batting bonanza, with Chris Gayle and Adam Gilchrist the opening acts. The promise was shortlived, however, as Indian paceman Zaheer Khan accounted for Gayle, who edged an away-swinger on one. Gilchrist found some touch against Vaas and Khan, creaming three fours and depositing the first $50,000 six of the game over midwicket, before top-edging an attempted pull to Sangakkara behind the stumps, again off Khan. He had managed 24 off 20, paving the way for Ponting and Lara to revive the innings.

Ponting found touch early on, hitting boundaries square and straight off Vaas, whose normally impeccable line and length was lacking. Lara was less comfortable, unable to find the touch that he demonstrated on Saturday against Australia 'A'. Nonetheless, the pair kept the World XI's run-rate motoring along at nearly six runs per over. Both batsmen reached fifties and a century stand, laying the platform for the potentially explosive batting to come, most notably Chris Cairns. After finding some touch, and eventually the boundaries, Lara looked to accelerate after reaching fifty but holed out for 51 to Chaminda Vaas at long-off from the bowling of Anil Kumble.

With the platform well set at 3-172 in 30.1 overs, Cairns was free to play in typically aggressive fashion from the outset. With Ponting also going along at a run-a-ball, the spin-heavy Asian XI came under fire. Cairns led the way with a six straight down the ground, followed by an even bigger one over mid-on. Ponting brought up his century soon later, and marked the occasion by launching into the spin of Kumble. He followed up a six over mid-on with another, before attempting a third off the next ball, only to be stumped for 115 from just 102 balls. With sponsors offering $1000 for every run scored, and $50,000 for every six, Ponting's innings effectively raised $265,000 for World Vision.

After a partnership of 91 in just 53 deliveries, Glenn McGrath was bizarrely promoted to no. 6, but lasted only one delivery, top-edging Muttiah Muralitharan to Yousuf Youhana. Cairns' blitz was ended eventually by the same bowler, gifting Sangakkara another stumping as the New Zealander's innings of 69 from just 47 deliveries ended. Fellow NZers Stephen Fleming (30) and Daniel Vettori (27*) lifted the World XI to a massive total of 344/8. Muralitharan (59/3) and Khan (46/2) were the best of the Asian XI bowlers, while Razzaq had a nightmare, his five overs going for 50, and Kumble was on the receiving end of Ponting and Cairns' six-hitting barrage, ending with 73/2.

The ACC Asian XI were left with the thankless task of chasing 345 to win, but had the firepower at the top of the order to do it. Big-hitting Sanath Jayasuriya and Virender Sehwag opened well, not afraid to come down the track to World XI opening bowlers McGrath and Darren Gough. After a promising start, the introduction of Cairns into the bowling attack ended Jayasuriya's vigil, holing out to a casual Fleming at slip for 29. Virender Sehwag kept the Asian XI's hopes up, belting his way to 45 before Shane Warne's return to bowling in ODI cricket. Sehwag played straight into Warne's hands, blasting a slog-sweep out of the middle of the bat - straight to the well-positioned Chris Gayle at deep mid-wicket.

The tantalising prospect of Warne and Vettori operating in tandem was realised, and accounted for Asian XI captain Sourav Ganguly and Yousuf Youhana. Ganguly never managed to flow freely, and eventually drilled a Vettori delivery to Darren Gough at mid-off. Youhana also failed to get going, whipping a Warne delivery straight to Ponting at midwicket. Kumar Sangakkara and Rahul Dravid emerged as the World XI's main hopes, but Sangakkara fell to Gough after a promising start of 24. Razzaq came out swinging but was over-eager to hit Vettori into the stands, stumped on 11. Dravid surged late as the required rate surged over ten runs per over, but victory for the Asian XI was never in prospect as Vettori and McGrath finished off formalities. Dravid finished with the consolation of a half-century, finishing unbeaten on 75, as a succession of runouts by Gayle and Vettori formalised a 112-run win to the World XI.

The purpose of the game was not lost amidst the fine cricket being played, however, as a cheque valued at AUD$14,645,123.85 was presented to World Vision's Tim Costello in aid of the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami disaster. The money was raised through public and corporate contributions throughout the match, and does not include gate receipts and other revenue at the match, which will also be contributed to World Vision. A second Asian XI vs World XI match is to be played in Asian in a few weeks, with the details of location and date as yet unspecified.

ICC WORLD XI 344 for 8 from 50 overs
RT Ponting 115 (102), CL Cairns 69 (47), BC Lara 52 (77); M Muralitharan 59/3 (10), Z Khan 46/2 (8)

ACC ASIAN XI 232 all out from 39.5 overs
R Dravid 75* (71), V Sehwag 45 (39); DL Vettori 58/3 (10), SK Warne 27/2 (7)

Result: ICC World XI win by 112 runs
Series: ICC World XI leads the 2-ODI series 1-0

Man of the Match: Ricky Ponting, 115 (102)

Posted by Adam