Bushfire appeal match
Nostalgia, spirit, fun and a good cause. The Bushfire appeal match was an occasion to remember. Organisers shifted the match to Junction Oval in Melbourne from the SCG in the lead up to the game. Shane Warne withdrew from captaining one side because of prior commitments in Cape Town. However, none of these hindrances ruined the occasion.
Adam Gilchrist ended up captaining one team. Ricky Ponting captained the other team. The game started at 3pm AEST right after the Australia vs England women’s T20 International.
The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Wasim Akram, Alex Blackwell, AFL great, Luke Hodge, and NRL great, Cameron Smith took part in the Bushfire Bash. Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh stated that they would donate a signed stump from the 2011 World Cup to the Bushfire appeal.
The legends brought the entertainment; the fans came in numbers, and the Bushfire bash helped raise enough funds for the communities ravaged by the devastating bushfires for months.
As a 90s and early 2000s young cricket fan, it was awesome to see some players I grew up with, play one more time. Ricky Ponting’s XI won the toss and elected to bat first.
The match was a 10-over affair but nobody was complaining. The old Aussie opening pair of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, opened the batting for the Ponting XI.
Langer hit the first ball for four advancing down the pitch and swatting the ball on the leg side for four. Langer dismissed by Windies great, Courtney Walsh bowled a delivery short of a length that kept low and clean bowled Langer for 6. In came, Aussie great and captain of the Ponting XI, Ricky Ponting who hit four beautiful shots for four.
He retired on 26 off 14 balls. Brian Lara played an innings that only Brian Lara. Entertaining, elegance and skill were all on display while Brian Lara was batting. Lara hit 3 fours and 2 huge sixes in an excellent display of batting. Even at 50-years of age, Lara still pulled off a batting masterclass.
It was something special. It reminded me of the times when Lara used to single-handedly save the West Indies from disaster and looked a class apart from everyone else. Lara retired and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Ponting XI posted 104/5 of 10 overs. For the Gilchrist XI, Yuvraj Singh, Andrew Symonds and Courtney Walsh picked up a wicket each.
The Gilchrist XI off to a flyer. Adam Gilchrist (17 off balls) and former Australia all-rounder (30 off 9 balls) got their side to 49 without loss in 3 overs.
The Ponting XI got back in the game as they reduced the Gilchrist XI to 4/52 after 5 overs. Andrew Symonds brought back memories of the mid-2000s when he used to smack the opposition bowlers all over the park.
Symonds retired out on 29 off 13 balls. The Gilchrist XI fell one run short of the target. For the Ponting XI, Brett Lee picked up 2/11 and 2-time AFL premiership winner, Luke Hodge, picked up 1/8 for their side.
The Bash raised $7.7m. That money will help Australian communities affected by the bushfires. Sachin Tendulkar delivered on his promise.
Bushfire Appeal Match- Collected from twitter
— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) February 9, 2020
He faced an over from Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland. Tendulkar showed that despite his physical issues, he still had a bit of class. Tendulkar glanced Perry for four.
Adam Gilchrist summed up the occasion. “I think cricket was the winner.” Cricket won on the day and everybody who witnessed the occasion would remember the day for a long time.
Bushfire appeal match By Author Neel