Ice cricket tournament is the first of its kind in history of cricket.Cricket games have been played in the winters on top of the ice-covered lake every year since the 1980s.
Nonetheless, this is the first time that such a match has featured high profile players of cricket from all over the globe. The first ever Ice Cricket Challenge comprising of two T20 matches were played on frozen lake at the St Moritz, Switzerland. The ground and pitch were completely different than normal. Instead of the normal grass, the ground was covered with snow. An artificial turf carpet was placed in the middle as the pitch. Two days of Ice Cricket Challenge entertained the fans all across the globe. Matches were played on 8th and 9th February. These matches were played between Royals- Afridi XI and Diamonds- Sehwag XI.
Royals won the first match by 6 wickets. Palace after winning the toss opted to bat first and posted a total of 164 for the loss of 9 wickets. Captain Virender Sehwag was the top scorer with 62 runs off 31 deliveries with the help of 4 fours and 5 sixes. Andrew Symonds scored 40 runs off 30 balls. Mohammad Kaif (19) and Joginder Sharma (18) played some quick knocks to post a decent total. Abdul Razzaq didn’t disappoint his fans and picked up important 4 wickets for 18 runs in his 4 overs. Shoaib Akhtar was another star performer with 2 wickets. Shahid Afridi and Nathan McCullum shared one wicket each.
In the 2nd innings Owais Shah outclassed the opposition by hammering 74* runs from 34 deliveries. His blistering knock included 5 fours and 7 sixes and earned him Man of the Match. Jacques Kallis made 36 runs off 27 deliveries, Graeme Smith made 23 runs off 12 deliveries and then Grant Elliot’s knock of 21 runs from 11 deliveries made Royals reach the target in 16th over.Ramesh Powar got two wickets while Ajit Agarkar and Lasith Malinga shared one wicket each.
In the second match, Royals white-washed their opposition to win the first ever Ice Cricket Challenge. This time again Diamonds batted first after winning the toss. Captain Sehwag provided a solid start to his team by scoring 46 runs off 22 balls despite of wickets falling from the other end. It was then left to Symonds to score big and post a defendable total. Symonds bludgeoned 67* runs off 42 deliveries. He was supported well by his partner Kaif who scored 57 runs off 30 balls. Symonds and Kaif established a partnership of 114 runs which helped them to post a massive target of 205 runs. Abdul Razzaq again was the key bowler from Royals who took 3 wickets for 48 runs.
In reply to Diamond’s first innings, Royals easily achieved the target in 17th over. Smith provided his team the much needed start by smashing 58 runs off 36 balls. Smith and Kallis shared a partnership of 84 runs. Kallis played a ferocious unbeaten knock of 90 runs from just 37 balls with the aid of 13 fours and 4 sixes. His partner Owais Shah provided him a solid support from other end by scoring rapid 43 runs and both shared a match wining partnership of 94 runs. Zaheer khan and Ramesh Powar shared one wicket each.
St Moritz Ice Cricket Squad 2018:
Virender Sehwag’s Diamonds XI squad: Virender Sehwag (India), Ajit Agarkar (India), Andrew Symonds (Australia), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), Michael Hussey (Australia), Mithun Manhas (India), Mohammad Kaif (India), Ramesh Powar (India), Rohan Jain (Switzerland), Tillakratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka),Zaheer Khan (India)
Shahid Afridi’s Royals XI squad: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan), Abdul Razzak (Pakistan), Aidan Andrews (Switzerland), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), Graeme Smith (South Africa), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Matt Prior (England), Monty Panesar (England), Nathan McCullum (New Zealand), Owais Shah (England)