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Stanford Super Series
Stanford Stadium, Antigua: 1 November
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Stanford Superstars 101-0 (12.4 overs) bt England 99 (19.5 overs) by 10 wickets


By Tom Fordyce

e-mail (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject) or text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word). Not all contributions can be used

13th over: Superstars 101-0 - SUPERSTARS BATTER ENGLAND BY 10 WICKETS


Now that's the way to finish things - Gayle mows Fred for a mighty six, and what a fitting finale that is.

Sir Allen's on the pitch in a flash,

Allen Stanford
hugging the 'Stars in sweaty happiness. Gayle finishes on 65 off 44 balls, Fletcher 32 off 31. The party tunes belt out, and as the crowd cavort the England XI slink off the turf with heads bowed.

From Jamie and Rob via email: "That was pants."

Hello - King Vivi is now out in the middle, high-fiving the celebrating millionaires. Smart move, Viv.

A bloke with a plastic bag is dishing out medals to an England side who look like they've been handed dead rats. And now they're being handed polystyrene boxes of food. They might not be millionaires, but at least they won't go hungry.

12th over: Superstars 93-0
There's a woman in the crowd in tears, and she's not even a Wag. Gayle drives a casual two off Broad and then pulls him brutally for yet another four. We're almost there.

11th over: Superstars 86-0

That's 50

Gayle strokes Fred away for one, and that's his half-ton - a knock as smoothly destructive as a velvet wrecking-ball. Easy singles again. Someone's just pointed out to me that there are four Superstars players who are going to earn $1m without even having had to bowl or bat.

10th over: Superstars 83-0
Broad returns to a thankless scenario. Gayle skies one down the ground and looks to have gone, but the ball somehow falls between the two England fielders and he jogs a two. Broad allows himself a mirthless chuckle.

9th over: Superstars 79-0


Steady from The Swanster, but expecting him to take 10 wickets is an ask the size of Antarctica. I say steady - Gayle lines up the last ball of the over and smashes it way, way over the midwicket fence. That one was an inch from leaving the ground. 21 needed from 66.

8th over: Superstars 71-0
"Work a miracle, Colly," says KP, and the copper toiler trundles in. Two singles and a leg-side wide, with another uno off the last ball. Swanny loosening up in the outfield.

7th over: Superstars 67-0

Dollar sign

Different bowler, same result - Patel is flayed way over midwicket by Gayle, who can probably order his new pool now. Glum faces under the England caps - 33 runs needed by the 'Stars off 78 runs to win $20m.

From Lee in York via text: "Shall we just forget this happened?"

6th over: Superstars 58-0


Single off Fred to get Gayle back in the sights, and he carves a fullish one through the cover prowlers for four. Gayle blinks slowly, winds up his long limbs and launches another to the same spot. Easy, easy peas.

5th over: Superstars 49-0


Fletcher is loving this - he steps away to leg and batters a short one from Harmison back past the stumps for another four. 22 from 13 for the young 'un. There's a lucky top-edged single and then Gayle weighs in, drilling a four over mid on and then meeting the next one even more sweetly - six! And what's this - another even further, this time way over midwicket. Start saving your pennies, England.

4th over: Superstars 27-0
KP, staring down the barrel of his first loss since becoming permanent England skipper, calls for a Fred special. Three dot balls please the skipper before Gayle tips a single fine off his pads. Fletcher catches one amidships but thrashes the final one over mid off and jogs through to punch gloves with his pardner.

3rd over: Superstars 22-0
Now it's Gayle's turn to involved, cutting Harmie away square for his first boundary. There's a single, a brace from a Fletcher mow and a glimpse of Vijay Singh chatting to Sir Allen in the stands. Fletch mows again, there's some sort of noise as the ball flies through to Prior but the upstairs referral gives it the cold shoulder.

2nd over: Superstars 15-0
Broad from the other end, and after a wide Colly makes a diving stop at gully. KP then gathers at cover but throws a looper into Prior with Fletcher again nowhere, and the batsman survives again. The next one is right in the slot and gets crashed over cover for four, and the same happens to the next one. Broad grimaces, goes wider and gets the treatment square this time - three balls, three fours. They're up and running.

1st over: Superstars 2-0
Whoah! Big chance for Samit Patel to run out Fletcher first ball, but he misses with a shy from close in. Harmison then gets one to cannon off the batsman's gloves but the ball flies just over slip. Gayle has a big slash next up but misses, and is then slapped on the pads - the decision is referred upstairs, but it's turned down. Super first over, and this might be spicier than we thought.

2310: Right - the 'Stars are padded up and ready to go. KP's barking like an angry Doberman.

From Ozzie via email: "Stinkerpottomus. I stayed in to watch this - could have been in the local listening to yet another rendition of Brown-Eyed Girl."

20th over: WICKET - Harmison b Benn 6, Eng 99 all out

Wicket falls

Harmison sweeps at his first ball and gets a jammy top edge down to fine leg for four. There's a desperate two which should have ended with a run-out, but a massive mow next ball gets nowhere near it, and the timbers rattle once again.

Just 100 runs will win the Superstars $1m apiece. Quelle horreur for England, and someone will have to hero their socks off to get 'em out of jail now.

19th over: WICKET - Patel run out 22, Eng 92-9


Singles off the first four of Taylor's over, and he'll settle for that. Another single off the fifth, but what's that? Suicidal second run by Patel, Gayle gathers and throws to Stumper Fletcher and bails go flying. Dismal.

18th over: Eng 86-8
Nice shot there of a shell-shocked England bench. Steve Harmison looks like he's going to vomit on his shoes. Pollard continues his parsimonious performance before Patel slices an edge past the 'keeper for four.

Highest partnership of the day.

17th over: Eng 79-8
Jerome Taylor again, and that's a wide as Stuart Broad swipes. Leg bye next up, but that's just not enough. There have been fewer boundaries than wickets. Two through midwicket for Patel - they've got to aim for the ton at least, no?

16th over: Eng 72-8
At last, a boundary - Samit Patel pulls meatily through midwicket. Just four overs left, and will England even use up their allocation?

15th over: WICKET - Swann b Benn 3, Eng 64-8

Wicket falls

What's worse than an absolute stinker? An unmitigated stinker? A stinkfest? Swann obligingly makes room and misses a full one speared in. Wonder what Jimmy Anderson thinks about this.

14th over: WICKET - Wright c Sammy b Pollard 1, Eng 59-7
Now then - big times for Luke Wright and Samit Patel. There's a single here and a single there, and then Wright launches one high down to long on - and he's bagged! Calamitous batting from England. Sammy skips for joy, and who can blame him? Absolute stinker from England so far.

13th over: WICKET - Collingwood c Sarwan b Benn 10, Eng 54-6


And Colly's gone too! He creams one high over midwicket and straight into the waiting pouch of Sarwan on the fence. In the VVVIP seat, Sir Allen punches the air while wearing a smile the size of Texas.

12th over: WICKET - Flintoff b Pollard 8, Eng 51-5

Wicket falls

That's more like it - medium-pacer Pollard gets clouted back over his head by Fred for his four - but then Fred tries to do the same next ball and misses by a mile. A fourth clean-bowled of the day, and England are listing like a holed man o' war.

11th over: Eng 46-4
Sulieman Benn, left-arm twirler, to the fore. Big turn first up; Colly sprints a single next. Fred's struggling here too - three dot-balls before a big drive through cover that slows up on the lush turf and only collects two.

10th over: Eng 43-4


A brace of scampered singles, but this run-rate is nothing to frighten anyone this Halloween. That's Sammy's spell over, and he's returned 2-13 off his four overs - super work from the tall St Lucian.

9th over: Eng 40-4


Lordy - new-man Colly is almost hutched before he's begun, inside-edging past his castle to screams from the crowd. Plenty of pace in this track, too, and Colly can't free his auburn shoulders - best he can manage is a jabber through point for one.

8th over: WICKET - Pietersen b Sammy 7, Eng 33-4

Wicket falls

Sammy's grabbed the prize turkey - KP steps across his stumps, swings and turns round to see his timbers splayed. Delirium in the Superstars ranks, and who can blame them? In three hours time they could each be buying their own island...

From Nathan in Weybridge via email: "If you're 'in the Bush' see if Mr. Falafel is open & caught up in the action and get a 'medium large' for the best spent 3 this side of Westfield."

7th over: Eng 31-3

Kevin Pietersen

KP's getting frustrated here - he middles three thrashers but finds the fielders every time. Freddie, red-shirted, blue lid pulled low, can't get the ball away either, and there's just one off the over. Tricky times for the touristas.

From Dan (smashed worse than a pumpkin) in Salisbury, by text: "Tom, surely by writing the official commentary you should be classed as 'backroom' staff, which in turn means you get to share the $1m on offer, should England win?"

That's a big fat "should" at the moment, Dan. But I like your thinking - you're on for a 5% cut if this comes good.

6th over: WICKET - Shah c Mohammed b Sammy 4, Eng 29-3


Sammy returns, Shah slaps square for a single. KP works a single of his own but then Shah pulls late, gets a steepling top edge and watches aghast as Dave Mohammed takes a fine tumbling catch running back from midwicket. Trouble for England, and it's the KP and Freddie show now...

5th over: Eng 27-2
Shah jabs into the leg-side for a single off Powell before KP comes on strike and flicks away through square leg to get off the quacker. Shah squeezes out an attempted yorker for one and KP stands tall to punch a shortish one through extra cover for two. Floodlights now burning bright against the purple evening sky.

4th over: WICKET - Prior b Taylor 12, Eng 22-2

Wicket falls

Kaboom! He's done it again - Prior wanders across the crease looking for a leg-glancer and is cleaned up leg-peg by a full, fast express train. KP up next, and the Superstars are clambering all over this...

4th over: WICKET - Bell b Taylor 7, Eng 21-1

Wicket falls

Whoosh - Bell and Prior dash for a dicey uno and escape only through a misfield, but it makes no difference - next ball up, Taylor castles the England no.1 with a ripper of a yorker.

3rd over: Eng 19-0
Daren Powell gets the nod from Skipper Gayle, and he pings two nasty lifters in at Prior. Bell gets a brutal spitter too and does well to glove it away from the greedy hands of slip. Prior pulls frantically at another and splices mightily for a slow four over midwicket.

Dollar sign

From Martin Cole via email: "I'd put the money up as prize money for a 20/20 tournament for some of the weaker and poorer nations of the world game of the game - Ireland, Holland, Australia and the like."

2nd over: Eng 13-0
Jerome Taylor from the other end, and Bell nudges a slower one away for one. The bowler then delivers the ball from two strides behind the stumps, fooling Prior, and two shortish ones survive untouched before another slower one is crashed past the diving cover for our first fence-slapper of the night. Two more singles, and the DJ decides it's time for some Sean Paul.

1st over: Eng 4-0
Darren Sammy gets the first over, and nerves wobble his fingers as his first ball is a wide. Bell has a slap at one but finds a deepish point, and then there's a mis-field from Mohammed at cover and they run two. Bell pushes a single and it's a steady-eddie start. Spot of "Wonderwall" comes over the PA.

2129: Here we go - Bell and Prior stride to the middle, and we're almost there...

From Charles in Toronto via email: "I'm sitting in a dormitory in Toronto with a pint of Guinness and a political science paper waiting to see how this turns out. I'm terrified to play cricket but for a cool million, I'd wear a mattress round my waist."

2126: Things just got even better - the bloke next to me just offered me a small piece of baklava. If I'd been in Antigua and not Shepherd's Bush, I'd have missed out on that. Who's laughing now, Stanford?

From Tom VGD via email: "Having built up ludicrous levels of student debts studying for a BA and then a PGCE, I'd start off by investing my dosh cancelling out all that I owe, then with the small amount remaining I'd probably buy a ticket to see James Bond at the Odeon."

2120: Time for the national anthems - it is Independence Day in Antigua after all. Two crooners give it big welly while Freddie and his dreamers watch on pitch-side.

From Matthew Lumby in Antigua via email: "Sorry to hear about the awful weather in Shepherd's Bush. I'm inside the 'SCG' as the local media calls it. I have offered to sit on Sir Allen's lap in return for one million dollars but I'm still waiting to hear back from him."

2110: Ian Bell and Matt Prior will be the first out of the trenches for England, with maybe Owais Shah up next. Decent conditions overhead - couple of fluffy white floaters, but nothing requiring brollies.

From Chris Ceasar via email: "You've got to feel for Jimmy Anderson. Hasn't missed a match in over a year but is left out of this. Would you be feeling bitter if you were him?"

Chris - I feel bitter sometimes and I'm not him. I try not to, but you know how it is - things happen in life that are difficult to forget. I know I should let it go, move on, but I can't pretend it's easy.

2100: KP calls heads, beams at the cameras and decides to have a bat. "To get paid to play a game you love is absolutely fantastic," he says. That's assuming you win, Kev.

The 11 winning players will receive $1m each
The four remaining members of the winning squad will share $1m
The winning back-room staff members will share $1m
The ECB and WICB will each receive $3.5m

2050: Toss due in a few minutes, and the stands are rammed - an estimated 10,000 partying punters in the slots.

From James Stafford via email: "Hi Tom - what would you do with the money?"

Probably give it to a donkey sanctuary, James. God knows the humble ass has suffered enough at human hands.

2040: Just to clarify that earlier entry, I wasn't saying that Joey Benjamin is making a comeback tonight. Think about who's staring back at you from a $100 note. Although with the state my finances are in, it's all about Lizzie II and Elizabeth Fry.

2030: Credit crunch my backside - it's all about the Benjamins tonight.

Palm tree

Forget the fact that I'm in a dark, cold office in a freezing, gale-hit Shepherd's Bush, and that if you're reading this you're unlikely to be in Antigua either. Let's line up some imaginary rum punches, dream a warm Caribbean breeze caressing the brow and get ready to whooperoo our way through the strangest cricket match of the century.

see also
ECB defends Stanford involvement
01 Nov 08 |  England
Anderson axed for Stanford game
31 Oct 08 |  England
ECB plans Stanford Series review
29 Oct 08 |  England
Stanford Super Series results
02 Nov 08 |  Cricket

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