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All-round Lee takes NSW to Jackpot Win

Related Links : Champions League Twenty20 2009 | Scorecard

New South Wales were crowned with the inaugural Champions League T20 title and along with that a jackpot prize money of USD 2.5 million.The Aussie side beat the red hot Trinidad and Tobago by 41 runs in the Final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. The victory was possible only because of the heroics from Brett Lee with both the bat and the ball.

Trinidad and Tobago had won the toss and opted to chase a target. The match started very badly for NSW with both the in-form openers – Phillip Hughes and David Warner perishing early. Runs weren’t coming thick and fast with Ravi Rampaul bowling pretty well. A couple of more soft dismissals meant that NSW was reeling at 47 for 4 in the 8th over with both Katich and Henriques getting out. Soon the score was 83 for 6 in the 12th over with T&T all the way favourites to win this match comfortably. However, Brett Lee had other ideas, walking in at no.8, Lee swung his bat freely to score a superb 48 from 31 balls with 5 sixes. He initially supported Steven Smith (33 from 26 balls) in a crucial 49-run stand for the 7th wicket.

New South Wales finished at a fighting total of 159/9. For T&T, Ravi Rampaul bowled three good overs but his last one went for a few runs, he finished up with 3 for 20. Lee had little time to recover after his batting heroics but he could still come up with top notch speeds. The blonde fast bowler cleaned up the stumps of the dangerous William Perkins in the second ball of the innings. The second over saw T&T coming back hard through Adrian Barath who smashed 2 fours and a six off leggie Steven Smith but in the final ball of the over got out edging a cut off a flipper. Lee in his 2nd over gave another deadly blow with a superb return catch presented by Lendl Simmons.

The Aussie domestic side kept the pressure intact on T&T and their relentless bowling produced two more big wickets in Dwayne Bravo and Skipper Daren Ganga to make it 68 for 5 in 10 overs. NSW had both hands firm on its trophy once Kieron Pollard holed out with a top edge in the final ball of the 15th over from Hauritz. Pollard with a cameo of 26 from 15 balls (3 sixes) looked threatening to run away with the game again until he was well caught by Brett Lee at the long on boundary. In the 16th over, it was all over with T&T crashing to 118 all out. Lee had bowled just the two overs but that was enough for NSW to win the game. T&T did the big mistake of not seeing through these couple of overs which could have given them a better chance of winning. Lee bagged two awards – the Man of the Match and also the Player of the Tournament.

Trinidad and Tobago had to be content with a purse of USD 1.3 million. The final saw some terrific crowd although it was two foreign teams battling out. A couple of non-cricketing stars among the crowd included Tollywood hero Venkatesh and Indian Tennis Queen Sania Mirza.