Highest cricket match September 27, 2014

World record match on 'roof of Africa'

ESPNcricinfo staff and AFP

A world-record attempt for the highest cricket match took place on Kilimanjaro © AFP

It was unlike anywhere else they will have taken guard, played a cover drive or bowled a ball.

A group of cricketers, including Ashley Giles, Makhaya Ntini and Heather Knight, have attempted to set a new world record for the highest-ever match played after setting up stumps atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

After an eight-day trek to what is known as the "roof of Africa" they played 10 overs per-side before one of the more memorable weather interruptions: cloud stopped play at 5730 metres (18,910) above sea level in a dusty and icy crater just below the dormant volcano's 5895-metre summit.

The previous record for the world's highest game had been 5,165 metres, played in the Himalayas at Everest base camp in Nepal in 2009, and this group will hope that their attempt gets verified. The match was initially meant to be a Twenty20, the minimum for an accepted record-attempt, but it is hoped the international rules of a minimum five overs per side will allow the record to stand.

For those with an eye for the statistics, the final score was 82 for 5 for the 'Gorillas' team, led by England women's vice-captain Knight, against 64 for 9 for Giles' 'Rhinos' team. Giles tweeted: "This is absolutely incredible! We are playing cricket on the summit of Africa!"

"It was tough running between the wickets but it was easy bowling Ashley Giles out! Fully worth coming all this way, with such an amazing feeling getting to the top, and - I hope - breaking a world record!" Knight told AFP.

Steven Smith, 22, who was part of the expedition although fell for a duck, said: "It was such hard work breathing and running at this altitude but something like this only happens once in a lifetime. It was great fun, worth coming all this way even if I didn't stay long in the crease."

The summit of Kilimanjaro has half the level of oxygen than land at sea level, doubling the energy needed for the match. Participants also ran the risk of acute mountain sickness and even potentially deadly pulmonary or cerebral oedema - the flooding of the lungs or brain.

A Tanzanian mountain guide, Mukuru Mugapablo, one of a handful of bewildered spectators, said he had seen nothing like it. "I've seen football played on strange pitches, but nothing, nothing beats this game for madness. Altitude up here is a serious issue, people really do get sick...this is a crazy thing to have witnessed on top of Kilimanjaro," he told AFP.

Players are raising funds for charities including Cancer Research and conservation charity Tusk Trust, which works to stem rampant poaching of elephants and other animals. Funds raised will also go towards building Rwanda's first international cricket pitch. The game is growing rapidly in popularity in the central African nation after being introduced by those who returned after fleeing genocide 20 years ago.

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