Melbourne tsunami cricket benefit match raises $ 11 million

MUMBAI: International cricket showed today it had a heart. And a big one at that. A one-day charity match to raise funds for the victims of the devastating Asian tsunami held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia raised a massive $ 11 million.

Before 70,000+ cheering fans a Rest of the World XI beat an Asia XI by 112 runs as part of their collective effort to help in the recovery efforts in a tragedy that has claimed over 156,000 people across Asia, the worst hit being Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

Australia's richest man and well owner of Channel 9 Kerry Packer donated A$ 3 million, while other funds came from ground entry, donation boxes, television appeals and corporate sponsorship. The two teams raised a total of A$926,000 ($703,000) from match sponsors, who offered A$1,000 dollars for each run scored and A$50,000 for each of the seven sixes as part of the overall fund-raising.

Returning Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan, taking time out from his relief work in Sri Lanka and playing his first match since a shoulder operation in August, was the best of Asia's bowlers with 3-59 in 10 overs. Australian captain Ricky Ponting, led the ICC World X1 and topscored in the match with 115 runs.

A second match organised by the International Cricket Council will be played probably in India in February or March to renew fundraising efforts for the huge reconstruction ahead. All tickets available to the public were sold out for the day-night match. TV broadcasters donated and helped collect millions of dollars in appeals running concurrently with the match.

The "return leg" of the tsunami benefit is scheduled to be telecast in Kolkata's Eden Gardens.

In India, the live telecast rights for today's match was secured by In India by Sony Entertainment Television's events and movies channel Max.

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