Superstars claim pot of gold
The Stanford Superstars won the Stanford Twenty20 for $20 million jackpot by crushing a stunned England by 10 wickets in a completely one sided game.
In a superb exhibition of cricket, they won the inaugural Stanford 20/20 for 20 with a ruthless triumph over England on Saturday night.
In collecting US$20 million, the richest team prize for a single sporting match, they made light work of their opponents to complete a ten-wicket victory that was the most emphatic win of the Stanford Super Series.
A packed Stanford Cricket Ground and millions of television viewers watched them roll over England for a modest 99, the lowest total of the series.
It then turned into a Chris Gayle party. The Stanford Superstars captain unleashed a ferocious assault in marching to an unbeaten 65 off only 45 balls.
Gayle ended the match with his fifth six as the Stanford Superstars raced to the target in only 12.4 overs to set of widespread celebrations around the ground.
After the winning cheque was handed over, confetti and champagne took over for a few moments before there was a spectacular fireworks display that carried the night's activities to a new level.
Each of the 11 players who took to the field for the Stanford Superstars is now US$1 million richer. The six non-playing members of the squad have US$1 million to share, and another US$1 million is to be divided among the 10-member management team.
"Words cannot explain how Chris Gayle feels. I have never felt like this before in any type of match," the Stanford Superstars captain said.
"This is better than anything in the world. I tell you that straight up. I am happy for the guys right now."
A capacity crowd had already packed into the ground long before the scheduled 5:30 p.m. start and the excitement was starting to mount ahead of the first ball.
It was bowled by Darren Sammy in what was viewed as a bit of a surprise move.
Sammy sent down only one over in his first spell but when the captain brought him back, he came up trumps.
The all-rounder claimed two wickets, one of which was danger man Kevin Pietersen and also held a nice catch at long-on. He finished with two for 13 from four excellent overs of fast-medium bowling and was the choice for the Man-of-the-match award.
There was vital, sustained support with the ball and in the field as the Stanford Superstars took a firm grip of the match from early after England chose to bat first.
Fast bowler Jerome Taylor bowled down openers Ian Bell and Matt Prior in the fourth over and Sammy kept the pressure on by removing Owais Shah and Pietersen to leave England 33 for four.
It was a position from which they never recovered from as both Kieron Pollard and Sulieman Benn set them further back by sharing five wickets.
As wickets continued to fall, the ground constantly erupted with celebrations and it was evident which team would shine on the night.
Gayle exploded with awesome power, smashing five sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 65. One of the sixes was an amazing stroke over wide long-on and onto the big replay screen.
Andre Fletcher, the initial aggressor who cracked Stuart Broad for three consecutive fours in the second over, played a good supporting role in an undefeated 32 off 31 balls.
It was the captain who fittingly ended the match with a six over over long-on off Broad. It was a US$20 million stroke.