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Finch fires 181 .. in MCC win

London: Sachin Tendulkar made everyone at Lord’s nostalgic with some delectable strokes. But it was young Aaron Finch, who stole the show with a magnificent 181 not out as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) comfortably beat Rest of the World XI (RoW XI) by seven wickets in the Bicentenary Celebrations match, here, on Saturday.

It was a ‘Union of Legends’ as the likes of Sachin, Brian Lara and Shane Warne once again put on their cricketing gears.

While Sachin, who made 41 and Lara, who chipped in with 23, showed their class and touch of genius in their short stay, it was Finch’s century that helped MCC overtake RoW’s commanding 293 for seven with 27 balls to spare.

Finch’s 145 ball innings had 23 fours and six sixes as he overshadowed rival player Yuvraj Singh’s strokeful 132.

The only disappointment in the contest was that public were robbed of a chance to watch a Sachin-Warne duel as the Aussie legend fractured his right hand, trying to evade a Brett Lee beamer.

It was vintage Sachin as he square-drove Peter Siddle and hit him for a straight drive. A cover drive off Paul Collingwood was also sheer class.

Sachin got a little too cheeky with his stroke-making and it proved to be his undoing as he was bowled by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan. His 41 off 44 balls had seven fours.

Finch then carried on and put on another 67 runs for the second wicket with Brian Lara. The latter didn’t look too comfortable in the middle and departed in the 30th over, after scoring 23 runs off 38 balls, hitting three fours.

Earlier, Yuvraj made a strokeful 132 to power the RoW XI to 293 for seven in 50 overs. Electing to bat in overcast conditions, the Warne-led side slumped to 68 for five in the 12th over when Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal bagged four wickets.

But soon after, Yuvraj and Collingwood stitched together a 131-run sixth-wicket partnership to put the innings back on track.

The opening combination of Virender Sehwag and Adam Gilchrist had given RoW a brisk 54-run start in 6.5 overs, but Brett Lee cleaned up Sehwag for 22 before Ajmal took over.

Ajmal’s countrymate Umar Gul, though, sustained an injury and hobbled off after bowling two overs post sharing the new ball with Lee. Gilchrist displayed his trademark pulls and cuts as he scored 29 runs off 21 balls, hitting six fours before being stumped off Ajmal.

The master off-spinner then trapped Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal leg-before, dismissed Kevin Pietersen and finally bowled his teammate Shahid Afridi for naught. Strangely, Sachin took Ajmal off the attack after his third over, probably to give the crowd some entertainment in the exhibition tie.

Collingwood scored 40 runs off 64 balls, hitting three fours, but it was Yuvraj who came up with the fireworks. He brought up his half-century in the 25th over of the innings, off only 53 balls and including four boundaries as well as two sixes.

There was no let up from Yuvraj, perhaps to make an impression on the Indian selectors, who will soon be gathering to select an ODI squad for the ongoing England tour.