Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga was a last-minute dropout as the Centenary celebrations of the Kowloon Cricket Club got underway in earnest with a mix of former Indian and Sri Lankan internationals defeating a KCC combination by 49 runs in a 40-overs game yesterday. Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory over Australia in the 1996 World Cup final, had to pull out of the squad of invitees for the week-long event as he was under orders - from the president of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga - not to appear in Hong Kong. 'Arjuna is a minister from the president's party and she had embargoed all her MPs from going overseas as there was a crucial budget vote up before the House. He had tried explaining that the visit was purely for sporting reasons but it did not work,' said Fahmy Jowharsha, chairman of the cricket committee for the centenary. Former Indian one-day specialist Robin Singh set the ball rolling when he smacked 108 in the 'Masters' team's score of 292 for four. Previn Amre made 70 while Sidath Wettimuny hit 41. In reply, KCC scored 243 for nine with Hong Kong internationals Manoj Cheruparambil making 62 and Afzaal Haider an unbeaten 64. Abey Kuruwilla took four for 35. A 35-over match will be played today followed by a sixes competition tomorrow. The celebrations will round off with a grand ball on Saturday night. The final of the inaugural ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament between Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will be played here. The finale to the three-day round robin competition has been scheduled for Hong Kong Cricket Club from February 10-12. Hong Kong presently lead the five-team group with 95.5 points while the UAE are second on 91.5. Both teams are unbeaten and have still to meet in the preliminary round. But as this is the only match still to be played, the Asian Cricket Council decided to make it a straight final to save time and money.