Match Tied (Royal Challengers Bangalore win one-over eliminator)
Brian Lara produced a quality performance at Melbourne's Junction Oval as cricketing royalty joined hands to aid Australian bushfire relief efforts in a charity match on Sunday.
The batting maestro struck a series of sumptuous cover drives and straight drives in his stylish unbeaten 30 before walking off the field to give another batsman a chance in the Bushfire Bash.
Lara rolled back the years in his 11-ball stay at the crease, treating the crowd with elegant shots leaving fans wondering whether he formally retired from professional cricket too soon.
Lara's breathtaking batting exhibition was preceded by his captain Ricky Ponting bossing the proceedings with 26 not out.
After electing to bat first, the iconic opening pair of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden was uncoupled in the second over of the innings when the incumbent Australian head coach was castled by West Indies legend Courtney Walsh.
Ponting XI finished their quota of 10 overs with an imposing 104 for five with Lara leading the charge.
In reply, opposing skipper Adam Gilchrist punished Brett Lee with a terrific six over midwicket before being knocked over by Australian rules footballer Luke Hodge.
Shane Watson slammed 30 from nine balls, not even sparing 'Sultan of Swing' Wasim Akram amidst his carnage.
However, Gilchrist XI fell short of the target by the barest of margins as they lost the game by one run despite late fireworks from Andrew Symonds.
During the innings break, Sachin Tendulkar came out of retirement to bat for the first time in five and a half years. The Indian cricketing great faced four balls from Ellyse Perry and two deliveries from Annabel Sutherland, stroking a chic boundary through fine leg along the way.
The cricketing festivity was praised by Ponting, who spoke on the importance of coming together for a genuine cause.
"All the players have had a ball. They are all saying why couldn't we play more," he said. "Well done to everyone involved. Sharing a dressing room with guys I spent 25 years with."
Cricket Australia revealed to have raised a sum of AUD 7.7 million to fund the relief efforts for the devastating bushfires in the country.
The star-studded match was originally scheduled to be held in Sydney on Saturday but stormy weather pushed the organisers to arrange it on February 9.