Ricky Ponting missed out on the runs the crowd dearly wanted, but he did end his international captaincy with a win.
The Prime Minister’s XI enjoyed a 23-run victory over the West Indies at Manuka Oval on Tuesday.
A solid total off 333 posted by the PM’s XI proved to be too much for the Windies, although the visitors always looked a chance of chasing the total down.
Andre Russell smashed 54 off just 24 balls to keep the Windies in the hunt right til the end.
While happy to get the win, Ponting deflected any attention from himself to the young up-and-comers in his victorious team, with James Faulkner named man of the match for some late runs and four wickets.
“I’d forgotten the rules to tell you the truth, I didn’t know what I had to do out there,” he said.
“It’s a long time since I’d done it [captain], but it’s good fun and good to be able to lead a young group of players and see them enjoy themselves and win the game.
“That’s a pretty good West Indian side we beat today as well.”
The PM’s XI got off to a flyer, courtesy of the hard hitting of Canberra star Jono Dean.
Opening the batting, Dean smashed his first delivery over cover for four before ultimately skying one to end his innings on 51 off 40 balls.
Usman Khawaja (69) and Alex Doolan (87) put on a brilliant partnership before, almost on cue, Khawaja hit one straight down the throat of Sunil Narine to bring one of Australia’s greatest ever batsmen to the crease.
The stage was set for a trademark explosive innings from Ponting and he gave a glimpse of it, pulling Bravo over the mid-wicket boundary for six.
But Narine deceived Ponting with a leg cutter, as the former Aussie skipper backed away to force him through cover but was bowled for 15.
The off-spinner then found himself on a hat-trick when he had Handscomb stumped next ball.
It was part of a good spell by Narine (2-32), who has a mixed bag of tricks including everything from an offie to a slider to a leggie.
Doolan’s dismissal was courtesy of a brilliant catch by Johnson Charles, diving full length to his left at square leg. Charles almost produced a replica on the last ball of the PM’s XI innings, but couldn’t quite hold on. That missed chance came after great cameos by Queanbeyan’s Brad Haddin (39) and James Faulkner (44 not out) helped guide the side to 6-333 from their 50 overs.
It proved to be enough, but only just, as Russell produced some lower order hitting.
With Gayle rested as a precaution due to a stiff back, Charles assumed the role of master blaster at the top of the order.
He crunched two sixes off Faulkner and looked dangerous until Khawaja pounced on a bad call by Kieran Powell to run Charles out. Powell (92) then struggled with cramps and retired hurt within sight of his century. It sparked a middle-order collapse, with the West Indies losing 4-50 in the middle overs.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.