Over 22,000 people flocked to Lord’s yesterday to watch the first ever British Asian Challenge, that saw the inaugural champions of the Indian Premier League, the Rajasthan Royals go head to head against the reigning Twenty20 Cup Champions, the Middlesex Panthers.
The match saw Rajasthan Royals storm to victory by 42 runs, scoring an impressive 162 with a loss of only 5 wickets in their twenty overs. Sohail Tanveer, Dimitri Mascarenhas and captain Shane Warne put the Panthers’ hopes of a win to bed with some impressive bowling. Dimitri Mascarenhas, later named Man of the Match, not only scored 32 runs but also took the wickets of Dexter and Shah.
The British Asian Challenge, in aid of the British Asian Trust, one of The Prince’s Charities, was the first Twenty20 match to be played by an IPL team in England and also marked what is probably the last time that cricket legend Shane Warne will play at Lord’s.
The match was a unique opportunity for cricket fans from all walks of life to come together and watch a match featuring a line-up of players from five of the greatest cricketing nations, including Indian team heroes Munaf Patel and Mohammed Kaif, Pakistani world cup winner Sohail Tanvir and Hampshire and England player Dimitri Mascarenhas pitching their talents and skills against the likes of Owais Shah, Murali Kartik, Tyron Henderson and captain Shaun Udal.
Shane Warne, captain of the Rajasthan Royals commented on the match: “A truly awesome experience – the reception that we got here was amazing. Everyone has taken the spirit of Twenty20 cricket and the IPL to their hearts and created an atmosphere second to none. This was a great way to bowl my last ball at Lord’s, and the win makes it even more special!”
Vinny Codrington, Chief Executive of Middlesex County Cricket Club added: “What a great match! It’s been a fabulous experience for the Panthers – I know that they’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Both squads have done cricket proud, and it shows that legends and new talent alike have the chance to shine in Twenty20.”
Adding to the glamour was Rajasthan Royal’s co-owner and Celebrity Big Brother winner, Shilpa Shetty who cheered her team on and opened the Bollywood entertainment during the rain delay during the Royals’ innings.
She comments: “I’m delighted that the Rajasthan Royals were the first IPL team to play in England – and at Lord’s. It’s been such a fun day with all the great entertainment, the dancers and the completely multicultural crowd truly getting into the spirit of IPL, despite the challenges of the English weather. It makes me very proud to see India’s two greatest exports – the movie industry and cricket being taken up by the rest of the world! ”
Keith Bradshaw, Secretary & Chief Executive of MCC at Lord’s adds: “This has truly been a remarkable and exciting event for Lord’s. Test cricket brings the devout cricket fans from across the nation, but Twenty20 has brought a whole new audience to Lord’s. The buzz and excitement that the Royals have created shows that Twenty20 has the potential to grab people’s interest. MCC is delighted to have hosted the first IPL Twenty20 team in England.”
Manoj Badale, Chairman of the Rajasthan Royals, and Chairman of the British Asian Trust ends: “This was a landmark match for so many reasons. For the Royals we could not have asked for a better welcome and home for our first England match. For the British Asian Trust, the funds raised from the match will change people’s lives so dramatically in the Subcontinent, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their amazing support – the players, the entertainment, Lord’s and the 22,000 fans that came to cheer the teams on.”
The match included a Bollywood Extravaganza with Shilpa Shetty and performances by:
· Apache Indian
· Navin Kundra
· Stereo Nation
· Honeys Dancers