November 1, 2008 - Stanford Super Series T20 match worth $20 M

November 1, 2008 – Stanford Super Series T20 match worth $20 M

Exactly nine years ago on November 1st, Superstars Team and England faced off in a Twenty20 game with a prize money of 20 million dollars.

Chris Gayle of the Superstars
Chris Gayle of the Superstars and Sir Allen Stanford pose with the cheque. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

When the Indian Premier League (IPL) started its baby steps towards becoming a powerhouse in the sport by making season dealing contracts for players in millions, somewhere in the Caribbean Islands, the West Indies players earned a whopping $1 million for playing just one game. Exactly nine years ago on November 1st, Superstars Team and England faced off in a Twenty20 game with a prize money of 20 million dollars, sponsored by Allen Stanford.

History of Stanford Super Series

With a vision of promoting T20 format in West Indies, Allan Stanford came up with a domestic Twenty20 competition involving the Island nations in 2006. He made unsuccessful efforts for a game between the Best XI of the tournament against South Africa with a prize money of 5 million dollars. Later in 2008, he proposed India, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka to feature in an elimination round and the winner would battle West Indies XI in a match with big money on the line but things didn’t quite work out.

He tried to invite the then WT20 champions India to face their Superstars XI in a game with a prize of 10 million dollars but the BCCI declined the offer as they were in the process of setting up the IPL. Stanford made further attempts by raising the prize money to 20 million dollars with a hope of roping in either Australia or England and was successful in signing a 5-year-deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The 20 million dollars were split into 11 million dollars for the 11 players on the winning side, one million for the benched players of winning team and one million for the support staff of the victorious side. The remaining seven million dollars were split between the cricket boards of England and West Indies.

The match – As it happened

The Chris Gayle led Superstars team took on the Kevin Pietersen led England in the T20 game at Antigua’s Stanford Cricket Ground. The Superstars team ran riot over the International side who elected to bat first as they were bowled out for just 99 in 19.5 overs. Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor and Kieron Pollard picked two wickets each while Sulieman Benn bagged three.

The big encounter turned out to be a one-sided game as captain Gayle led the charge along with Andrew Fletcher to chase down the total without losing a wicket in just 12.4 overs. Gayle struck five fours and five sixes in his 45-ball 68 while Fletcher scored 32 off 31 balls.

Each of the players in the Superstars’ XI bagged a whopping one million dollars while six players on the bench each took home approximately 166,667 dollars. MS Dhoni stood out as the costliest player in the inaugural IPL edition played in the same year as he was picked up Chennai Super Kings for 1.5 million dollars. The then Indian captain received about 100,000 dollars for each game, which is less than what the reserves of Superstars team earned for just a game.

110 years prison

Allen Stanford
Sir Allen Stanford. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

The deal of the series was made for five years but came to an end in the following year as Allen Stanford was charged with fraudulent bankruptcy claim. In February 2009, the England board terminated all their contracts with Stanford including the deal of Stanford T20. 13 of the 14 charges imposed against him by the U.S. authorities were proved and Stanford was awarded 110 years of prison in 2012.