There was money raised for a good cause, there was goodwill, there was camaraderie, but there was also a Twenty20 International played and won by the Windies at Lord’s on Thursday May 31.
“They are champions, and they played like champions,” Shahid Afridi, captain of the ICC World XI, declared after the ICC World T20 2016 champions sealed a 72-run win in the Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge.
Evin Lewis was tired, having had just a couple of days at home with his family after returning from the Indian Premier League 2018 before it was time for him to head out again to England. But he managed well on a pitch he described as “on the slow side” to strike 58 off just 26 balls to take the Caribbean side to 199/4.
A fantastic night for a fantastic cause. Read how West Indies beat an ICC World XI at Lord's in a match where the real results will be off the field. #CricketRelief REPORT ➡️ https://t.co/687Ob2gAIo— ICC (@ICC) May 31, 2018
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The Windies bowlers then struck early. Despite 61 off 37 balls from Thisara Perera, ICC World XI never could quite recover from 8/4.
A highlight of the match was Afridi, who was playing his last international – on one leg. He drew Andre Fletcher out for a stumping and got his 98th T20I wicket in his 99th match. He then came out with a runner to make 11.
“I’m very lucky that Allah gave me this opportunity and I finish [my career] in the home of cricket,” he said. “Thanks to Andy Flower and the [England and Wales Cricket Board] management.
Windies win! A fantastic #CricketRelief match is won by the #WT20 champions by 73 runs as the cricket community comes together to aid restoration of Caribbean cricket grounds after last year's hurricanes— ICC (@ICC) May 31, 2018
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“I’m struggling for the past two months with a tear in my knee. Holding a bat and ball after two months, things look very strange.”
At the end of the day, it was all for a good cause. The funds raised will go towards rebuilding five stadia affected by the 2017 hurricanes in the region.
Added Carlos Brathwaite, the Windies captain, “Obviously the money would be used to get the stadium back up, electricity back on, infrastructure where it was. But on occasions like this, it’s just a relief to have good games and good cheer. Psychologically it’ll be a boost for people back home.”