Island Cricket

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sri Lanka Win Hong Kong Sixes

England's participation in the Hong Kong Sixes came to an end at the knockout stages on Sunday as they were comprehensively outclassed by the All-Star team at Kowloon Cricket Club.

A win and a loss on Saturday had seen Mike Gatting's men finish second in the Bradman Group, setting up a clash with Shane Warne's prestige outfit.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat, England made 80 for two thanks mostly to Dimitri Mascarenhas' 31 retired as Warne's Hampshire colleague bludgeoned the All-Star attack.

Alex Gidman scored 15 and Darren Maddy also chipped in with 12 but it was all in vain as the All-Stars surpassed England's total for no loss with seven balls remaining, man of the tournament Craig McMillan retiring on 31 and Brian Lara smashing 35 off eight balls.

However, after cruising past Pakistan in the semi-final, McMillan's 33 retired was the foundation of a four-wicket win, the favourites came unstuck against Sri Lanka in the final.

Batting first after losing the toss, the Sri Lankans made 127 for the loss of three wickets, skipper Indika de Saram top-scoring with an unbeaten 40 while Kaushalya Weeraratne retired on 32 and Jeewantha Kulatunga made 28.

Warne suffered in particular, going for 30 runs as eight-ball overs were introduced for the final, and McMillan's first dismissal of the tournament when the New Zealander was caught on the boundary by Jeewantha first ball of the innings hampered their chase from the outset.

Geraint Jones made a valiant attempt to turn the match round late on, hitting his first three balls for six and the out-of-favour England wicketkeeper eventually finished with an unbeaten 36, while Lara retired on 34 and Heath Streak struck 29 but they fell 16 runs short.

"It was a great tournament," a delighted Jeewantha said.

"We stuck to our basics, that is what we always do, took it game by game and we put them under pressure.

"You need to keep calm and do your best. But it was a great honour to play against players like Shane Warne, Brian Lara and Glenn McGrath."

Warne admitted the All Stars had been beaten by a better side.

"All credit to Sri Lanka, they played extremely well and they deserved to win," he said.

"Craig McMillan getting out set us back a bit

"But it was a fantastic experience, they're a great bunch of players, we had a great time and we wanted to donate the prize money to the Hong Kong Cricket Club."

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