Shane Warne’s Warriors clinched the Cricket All-Stars series 3-0 by beating Sachin Tendulkar’s Blasters by 4 wickets in the final T20 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Batting first, Sachin’s Blasters amassed 219 for 5 in 20 overs. In reply Warne’s Warriors got home with one ball to spare, with skipper Shane Warne himself hitting a six off Virender Sehwag to seal the match as well as the series. It was yet another fantastic batting performance from Warne’s men, which has been the difference between the two teams in the series.
Chasing a tough 220 to win, Warne’s Warriors got off to the worst possible start as Michael Vaughan dragged Curtly Ambrose on to the stumps first ball. But, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara all played significant knocks to lead the team home. It was the electrifying partnership between Ponting and Kallis that turned the tide in the favour of Warne’s Warriors. When the two joined forces, their side was struggling at 129 for 5, but Ponting slammed an unbeaten 43 from 25 and Kallis hit 47 from 23 before being dismissed as Warne’s men got home.
Having lost Vaughan early, Symonds kept Warne’s Warriors in the match, smashing 31 from 19, with three sixes. When he was dismissed, Warne’s Warriors had reached 50 in 4.2 overs. Matthew Hayden and Jonty Rhodes fell cheaply, but Sangakkara carried on his great form, cracking 42 from 21 with three sixes. Kallis and Ponting continued the great work. Sachin’s Blasters could not defend the big target as the team’s frontline bowlers, Glenn McGrath and Ambrose conceded 15 runs an over. Muttiah Muralitharan also went wicketless, and it was only Graeme Swann’s 2 for 21 that kept his side in the match.
Early, Sachin Tendulkar top-scored for his team, with 56 from 27 balls, an innings which featured six sixes. He was eventually stumped by Sangakkara off Daniel Vettori. They were good contribution all round as Sachin’s Blasters finished with an impressive 219 for 5. Sourav Ganguly cracked 50 from 37 with three sixes, Mahela Jayawardene made 41 from 18 while Carl Hooper was unbeaten on 33 from 22. Earlier, Virender Sehwag blazed 27 from 15 with two sixes. Vettori starred for Warne’s men, claiming 3 for 33. The batsmen ensured the target was chased down as Warne’s Warriors clean swept the series 3-0.
--By A Cricket Correspondent