Blues cash in on Twenty20 riches
The New South Wales players aren't so concerned about their bank balances after winning US$2.5m for taking out the Champions League Twenty20, but the bonus is not enough to keep the state free from long-term financial worries. All the spoils from Friday's 41-run victory will be halved between Cricket New South Wales and the players but Dave Gilbert, the chief executive, said it did not mean the organisation could take things easy.
''For sure it's a windfall for the association but it's not going to keep the wolf from the door," he told the Sun-Herald. "We just have to keep working hard. It's certainly welcome at a tough economic time but to me - and I'm not just trying to say this - it's worth more than the money. It's about the way we've portrayed ourselves on the world stage."
Brett Lee was the player of the final - he also won the series award - for his 48 from 31 deliveries, which lifted the Blues from 6 for 83 to 9 for 159, and he backed it up with two wickets and a crucial catch. ''It just goes to show that in the big games you need the big players to step up," Matthew Mott, the New South Wales coach, said. "He hadn't had a bat in the tournament and he's come out and just played an absolutely magnificent knock. He counter-punched very well and just set the game up [with] the way we finished with the bat after being in a lot of trouble, and we took that momentum into our bowling.''
Lee also caught the dangerous Kieron Pollard, who had already blasted 25, in a dismissal that won Nathan Hauritz huge respect from his team-mates. The ball before Hauritz had been launched for a massive six, but the offspinner flighted the follow-up delivery and was rewarded.
''It was probably the gutsiest thing I've ever seen on a cricket field from a spinner after he's been hit probably 150 metres into the stands,'' the captain Simon Katich said. ''He tossed it up, gave it some air and he got the result. We all think it's the gutsiest ball we've ever seen on the field and I think Haury will go down in folklore for it.''
While the prizemoney is not a major amount for some of the international players, it is a huge boost for the domestic performers such as the wicketkeeper Daniel Smith. Smith replaced Brad Haddin, who has a broken finger, for the event and couldn't stop laughing after the game. "I'll speak to the missus," he said, "but I think we'll be putting it straight on the mortgage.''