SPORT

Celebrity match serves its purpose

SMILES ALL-AROUND: Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia (centre), K. Srikkanth and Darren Lehmann (left) share a light moment before the start of the match between South Australia Premier's XI and TN Chief Minister's XI.

SMILES ALL-AROUND: Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia (centre), K. Srikkanth and Darren Lehmann (left) share a light moment before the start of the match between South Australia Premier's XI and TN Chief Minister's XI.  

Sudhish Kamath

CHENNAI: Darren Lehmann had a bad day at office. Just moments after he hit Minister D. Jayakumar for a huge six, he found the timber behind him disturbed, completely foxed by a slower delivery. The Minister had his revenge.

Just the previous over, Lehmann had belted actor Madhavan all over the park.

And the danger man, the South Australian XI captain, a veteran of 70 centuries and a hundred 50s, was gone. Right at the beginning of the innings, with the visitors needing over a hundred for victory.

A few minutes later, the Minister took a brave catch to bring about a top order collapse, as N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, bowled a tight line to a self-set field and finished with two wickets for 11.

Jayakumar, his unconventional bowling action notwithstanding, was voted Man of the Match for taking two wickets and a catch.

Fine partnership

Batting first, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's XI capitalised on a fine partnership between Kris Srikkanth and Ram, which saw the home team cruising along at over six runs an over. The running between the wickets was the high-point of the partnership, which came to an end at the end of the eighth over, when Ram retired hurt to give the others a hit in the middle.

After a shaky start, Madhavan stylishly despatched three balls to the boundary before Lehmann had him bowled. A gutsy innings by industrialist B. Santhanam propped up the home team to a competitive 129 in 20 overs.

South Australia fell short of the target by 21.

"And Australia terribly lost yet another game of cricket," Lehmann said with mock seriousness at the presentation ceremony. The winning team captain Srikkanth said he was playing after a very long time and it was an honour to lead the Chief Minister's XI. "Cricket is a relationship builder," he said.

The purpose of the match was exactly that. To build bridges between people of different fields and also, to have a little fun.

Not Shastri

"I'm not Ravi Shastri but I'm the presenter for this evening's ceremony," said A.K. Tareen, Director of Trade and Investment, India, before he thanked Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia, Paul Holloway, Minister of Industry and Trade, Australia, the State Ministers D. Jayakumar (Law and IT), Nainar Nagendran (Industries) and C. Ve. Shanmugham (Education), representing the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the celebrities who had come together to win hearts and make friends.

The scores:

TN CM's XI 129 for six in 20 overs (K. Srikkanth 21, N. Ram 14, B. Santhanam 22) beat South Australia Premier's XI 109 for five in 20 overs (N. Ram two for 11, Jayakumar two for 34).

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