NEW YORK - Before an excited crowd of 41,000, legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne's team defeated Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar's men by six wickets in a T20 match, which was perhaps the greatest gathering of legendary cricketers ever assembled on US soil.
Batting first, Sachin's Blasters scored 140 runs for the loss of eight wickets at New York Mets' Citi Field Stadium. Swashbuckling Virender Sehwag top scored with 55, while partnering with Tendulkar in an opening stand of 85. Tendulkar fell to an amazing catch in the covers by South Africa's Jack Kallis for 26. Australian spinners - Andrew Symonds and Warne - took three wickets each conceding 15 and 20 runs respectively.
Pakistan's king of swing Wasim Akram bowled a tight length, but failed to get a wicket and was stand out bowler of his era including Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose with his ageless display in the field. He conceded only 16 runs in four overs. Helped by Ricky Ponting's breezy 48 off 38 balls, Warne's Warriors easily reached the target at the loss of four wickets.
Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar - who was cheered by the crowd each time he came to bowl - captured two wickets for 26 runs. The highlight of his two spells were the bouncers he bowled with the same express pace that he is remembered for. Shoaib took two wickets of former Australian opener Mathew Hayden and Sri Lanka recently-retired middle-order great Kumar Sangakkara — both bounced and bamboozled.
Warne was declared Man of the Match having taken the wickets of the opposing skipper Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Brian Lara. Tendulkar thanked the cheering crowd for their support, saying during the post-match presentation that "the first match has been really special. We thoroughly enjoyed being here. New York, you were brilliant. Houston and Loss Angeles, you are going to find it difficult to match them".
Addressing media in a post-match press conference, Tendulkar said the atmosphere for the match was "electrifying" and the whole idea behind the series was to get as many nations together to celebrate the sport and globalise cricket. Warne also appreciated the fans. "We wanted to be competitive. There was some skillful batting, bowling and fielding out there. But we know they will come back hard in Houston. A lot of the guys have trained hard, they are proud people, they don't want to be embarrassed and they were not today," he said.
While the match was played competitively, the camaraderie between the players was visible as they laughed and cheered each other during the game.
The next match will be on November 11 in Houston. Tendulkar said he hopes to make the series an annual event. For the matches in Houston and Los Angeles, Warne and Tendulkar said they would make some changes in the line-up and rotate the players as they wanted all the cricketers to participate in the series.
Warne said some people had been skeptical on how the retired players will perform but "we didn't take it easy, it was very competitive". Appearing with Tendulkar and Warne in the post-match press conference, Shoaib Akhtar said it was "amazing" playing with Tendulkar. "He is an amazing captain. What better brand than Sachin to promote the game abroad," he said.

Scoreboard

SACHIN'S BLASTERS:
V Sehwag b Vettori 55
S Tendulkar c Kallis b Warne 26
VVS Laxman st Sangakkara b Warne 8
B Lara lbw b Warne 1
M Jayawardene c sub (Agarkar) b Symonds 18
C Hooper lbw b Symonds 11
S Pollock c Kallis b Donald 11
Moin Khan c Kallis b Symonds 1
C Ambrose not out 1
M Muralitharan not out 2
EXTRAS: (lb4, w2) 6
TOTAL: (8 wkts; 20 overs) 140
FOW: 1-85, 2-85, 3-88, 4-97, 5-118, 6-127, 7-130, 8-137
BOWLING: Wasim Akram 4-0-16-0, A Donald 3-0-23-1, C Walsh 2-0-30-0, J Kallis 1-0-19-0, S Warne 4-0-20-3, D Vettori 4-0-13-1, A Symonds 2-0-15-3
WARNE'S WARRIORS:
J Kallis run out 13
M Hayden c Moin b Shoaib 4
R Ponting not out 48
K Sangakkara c Jayawardene b Shoaib 41
A Symonds lbw b Muralitharan 1
J Rhodes not out 20
EXTRAS: (b2, lb2, w10) 14
TOTAL: (4 wkts; 17.2 overs) 141
FOW: 1-20, 2-22, 3-102, 4-104
BOWLING: Shoaib Akhtar 4-0-26-2, S Pollock 3-0-30-0, C Ambrose 3-0-36-0, M Muralitharan 4-1-18-1, C Hooper 3-0-20-0, S Tendulkar 0.2-0-7-0
TOSS: Warne's Warriors
MAN OF MATCH: S Warne
UMPIRES - M Erasmus (SA), STaufel (Aus)
TV UMPIRE: S Davis (Aus)
MATCH REFEREE: R Mahanama (SL)