Kumble, Harbhajan spin MCC XI to facile win

Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Spin trio Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Chris Gayle took nine wickets between them as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) beat an International XI by 112 runs in their 50 overs per side tsunami appeal match at Lord's.

Man of the Match Kumble, who dismissed Sanath Jayasuriya, Brian Lara and Graeme Smith took three for 49 and India teammate Harbhajan three for 32.

West Indies' Gayle mopped up the tail with three for 27 as the International XI, chasing 328 to win, were bowled out for 215 with 15 overs to spare.

South African skipper Smith top scored for the International XI with 68 putting on 75 in 49 balls with Lara, his side's captain.

But once the duo were out, MCC wrapped up the game.

New Zealand's Stephen Fleming, who skippered the MCC side, said he was proud to have taken part in the match.

"It was important for the game, the match was for a good cause and it was necessary to keep the cricket real," said Fleming.

"You can get caught up in yourselves sometimes, so it was important for players to open their eyes to what is going on around them."

Lara added that it was vital for the stars to play.

"It's necessary for players to come out and support this," said the West Indies ace who made 42. It was a great day. We didn't quite come up to scratch with the bat. I would have liked to have made a few more."

The game may have been 'fun' with Lara was using 10 bowlers, including himself, but there was no doubting Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's intent when he came off his full run for MCC.

Shoaib, recently sidelined by Pakistan on fitness grounds, but now at English County Worcestershire, looked close to top speed in a fiery five-over spell.

"I didn't have much control over Shoaib. That's what people want to see, the confrontation between world-class players. It didn't feel too charitable when our opening bowler was fired-up," said Fleming.

Earlier, leg-spinner Kumble sent MCC on their way to victory by ending a stand of 56 in 51 balls between Jayasuriya and Smith when the Sri Lankan was caught on the boundary by Harbhajan.

Lara then lofted Kumble for a superb straight six.

Meanwhile Smith, advancing down the pitch, drove South Africa teammate Jacques Kallis for his eighth four to reach a 42-ball fifty.

The pair, in a stand that evoked memories of the 1970 partnership between legendary left-handers Garry Sobers (West Indies) and Graeme Pollock (South Africa) for the Rest of the World against England at The Oval, entranced the crowd with some thrilling strokeplay.

Lara was eventually out, having faced just 27 balls with one six and five fours when, trying to turn Kumble legside, he got a thick edge and was caught by Shoaib at fly-slip.

Smith followed quickly, neatly stumped by Sri Lanka keeper Kumar Sangakkara off Kumble for a 61-ball 68 with nine boundaries.

And Harbhajan then made his mark, bowling Shivnarine Chanderpaul around his legs for two.

When big-hitting New Zealander Chris Cairns was stumped for one off Harbhajan, to leave the International XI 175 for six in the 26th over the game was all but over as a contest bar some tail-end slogging.

After losing the toss, MCC made 327 for seven with Fleming and all-rounder Kallis both scoring 62.

Sri Lanka left-arm quick Chaminda Vaas led the International attack with two for 19 off seven overs, dismissing Gayle and Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.

Fleming though kept going before he cut Cairns straight to Ntini at third man.

Kallis later brought up a 60-ball fifty with six boundaries before he chipped Ntini to short mid-wicket where Lara took a juggling catch.

In January an Asian XI took on a World XI in Melbourne in front of more than 70,000 people raising 11 million dollars.

An MCC spokesman said that 20,513 tickets for this game, out of a capacity of 28,000, had been sold in advance raising over 500,000 pounds (905,000 dollars).

On December 26 last year a tsunami tidal wave which affected coastlines throughout the Indian sub-continent caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands as well as massive destruction of property.

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