England take Sixes title
England have won the 2008 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes after edging a thrilling final against Australia.
Ashley Giles' side were consistently the best team over the two days and owe their victory to some impressive bowling throughout, particularly from Essex all-rounder Graham Napier.
The victory was England's fifth at the Sixes and ensures they take home the £56,000 prize money.
After taking second place in the Bradman Group yesterday, England eased into the final of the tournament with victories over South Africa, Hong Kong and South Africa in the round-robin group.
England looked hot favourites to lift the Cup after blasting 121 for one off five eight-ball overs in the final of the showpiece event at the Kowloon Cricket Club.
Darren Maddy (32 retired) and captain Dimitri Mascarenhas (31 retired) led the run blitz before Jonathan Trott weighed in with 23 not out.
Tournament rules state a player must retire on reaching 31 although he is allowed to return if one of the last pair of batsmen is out.
But Australia came out firing in their reply with David Warner (35 not out) and Michael Hill (31 retired) leading the way.
When they reached 89 without loss it looked like they would surpass England's total and capture their maiden Sixes trophy.
Napier bowled out Nathan Reardon but Australia continued to close in on the total they needed to win despite losing the wickets of John Hastings and Brendan Drew in the final over.
At 120 for two, they needed two from the last two deliveries but allrounder Hastings skied a catch to wicketkeeper Trott.
With two still needed from the final ball, the luckless Stephen O’Keefe straight drove for a single but was run out as he came back for the second, leaving Australia stranded on 121 for four and sparking wild English celebrations.
England secured the trophy by virtue of having lost fewer wickets.
“We like leaving it late but that was outstanding,” said Bresnan.
“I don’t think any of us have ever been involved in a final like that, played in front of such a fantastic crowd and with a tie at the end.”
“All credit to the Australian side, they fought hard and our bowlers really kept us in it,” added Mascarenhas, who also won the Ben Hollioake Trophy as player of the tournament.
“It was a great tournament, we had quite a few close games throughout the competition.”
"It was a great game of cricket," agreed Giles. "I thought we got a good score, maybe could have got a bit more, but Australia played really well to fight back.
"To win one like that was great. It showed great character from the lads."
In contrast the All Stars team - boasting the likes of Matthew Hoggard, West Indies batsman Shiv Chanderpaul and former Australia opener Justin Langer in their line-up - never really got into their stride over the weekend and finished seventh overall having lost in the Plate final to Pakistan, by three runs.
The All Stars managed just two wins throughout the tournament, defeating Sri Lanka yesterday and then India in the Plate semi-finals today.
However, Langer admitted he enjoyed the whole experience in his first appearance at the event.
"It has been a great experience," said the 37-year-old. "Hong Kong is a fantastic city and it has been a great tournament.
"We didn't play very well in the end but it has all been a great experience and I'd love to come back next year."