Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag gave the fans and Sachin's Blasters a dream start in the 1st T20 of the Cricket All Stars in New York, before Shane Warne showed just why he is considered one of the greatest ever bowlers, if not the greatest, of all time.
Warne bowled a spell and a half just when Tendulkar and Sehwag were taking off, to pull things back considerably â€“ he had plenty of help from Daniel Vettori as well â€“ and restrict Sachin's Blasters to 140 for eight in their 20 overs.
In reply, Ricky Ponting batted like he was coming from an overnight century at the Gabba, with Kumar Sangakkara doing what he does best â€“ score runs â€“ to cruise Warne's Warriors to the target with 2.4 overs to spare, with Jonty Rhodes finishing the match off with a reverse-sweep six off Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin's Blasters had some hope when Matthew Hayden and Jacques Kallis fell early, but from there Ponting (48 n.o., 38b, 3x3) and Sangakkara (41, 29b, 2x4, 3x6) combined for an 80-run partnership to ease their side home, despite the best efforts of the brilliant Shoaib Akhtar, who bowled with plenty of venom and speed.
Earlier, when Warne came in at the eighth over of the innings, Sachin's Blasters were on 77/0 in 7 overs, and once he finished his quota of four overs after over number 14, Tendulkar's side had managed only another 31 runs, with the great Australian and Vettori (4-0-13-1) putting on the skids to great effect.
It was all hunky dory for Sachin's Blasters in the first seven overs, as Sehwag went hammer and tongs, with the likes of Courtney Walsh and Jacques Kallis feeling the right-hander's wrath.
Six after six rained in at the Citi Field in New York, as calls of "Viru, Viru, Viru" rang around the stadium every time the Delhi Marauder took strike, with the former India opener, who only announced his retirement from international cricket a few days ago, taking full advantage of the short boundaries on the sides of this baseball ground.
Tendulkar did his bit as well, scoring a run-a-ball 26, with his best shot coming via a straight six, which soared into the crowd.
However, once Warne (4-0-20-3) dismissed Tendulkar in the final ball of the eighth over and Vettori scalped Sehwag (55, 22b, 3x4, 6x6) next ball, the complexion of the innings changed completely, with the likes of Brian Lara, Mahela Jaywardene and VVS Laxman not able to do enough.
Brief score: Sachin's Blasters 140/8 in 20 overs lost to Warne's Warriors 141/4 in 17.2 overs.