The nippy December evening at Eden Gardens was lit up by a competitive cricket match between the BCCI Board President’s XI versus Secretary’s XI, on the eve of the Board’s 90th Annual General Meeting.
While former India captain and present BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and Mohammed Azharuddin featured in the game, the Secretary’s XI clinched the friendly by one run.
While the fixture saw some quality batting and bowling, it had its moments of nostalgia too. The languid arrogance of Azharuddin as he walked out to the centre to bat at a ground that had never returned him empty handed. Then there was Ganguly, who walked out and looked like not having lost a step as he drove and cut on the off side and sent two balls out of the ground with his trademark step out to spinners. Ganguly scored 35 runs, while Azharuddin could only manage a couple of runs before being trapped leg before by Jay Shah.
Shah won the toss and elected to bat and his side up a competitive 128 for three wickets in 15 overs. While chasing, Ganguly’s side fell just a run short while losing 5 wickets. Shah, who bowled with guile and passion, picked up three wickets. He almost single-handedly stopped President XI’s chase.
Chasing a tricky total, President’s XI began well with 50 for no loss with Avishek Dalmiya on 13 and Vijay Patil on 21. But two run outs – first of Dalmiya by Mithun Manhas and then of Patil by Jaydev Shah – put brakes on the chase as Jay Shah ran through the middle order claiming three wickets, of which two came in one over.
Even though Devajit Saikia and Ganguly stitched a partnership, things changed after Saikia was cleaned up by Shah on 15 and Ganguly had to retire after 35 with still 14 runs needed from two overs.
Sanjoy Verma (not out 8) and Riyaz Razak (not out 5) could manage only 13.