The nippy December evening at Eden Gardens was lighted up by a competitive cricket match between the BCCI Board President’s XI versus Secretary’s XI that the latter win by one run.
BCCI Secretary and skipper of the eponymous XI Jay Shah won the toss and elected to bat and put up a competitive 128 for three wickets in their quota of 15 overs. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s side fell just a run short losing 5 wickets during their efforts.
While the match saw some quality batting and bowling, it had its moments of nostalgia too. The languid arrogance of Md Azharuddin as he walked out to the centre to bat at a ground that had never returned him empty handed. Then there was the son of the soil Sourav Ganguly who walked out and looked like not having lost a single touch as he drove and cut on the off side and sent two balls out of the ground with his trademark step out to spinners.
Another person who deserves special mention here was Jay Shah, who bowled with guile and passion, picking up three wickets in his spells and missing out on one due to a faulty umpiring decision. He almost single handedly stopped President XI’s chase.
Earlier, batting first Arun Dhumal was bowled on and Jaydev Shah retired on 36 and 40 respectively. Jay Shah remained not out on 10. Bowling for President’s XI was opened by Md. Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly– an opening bowling pair only meant for fiction.
President’s XI began the run chase well with 50 for no loss with Avishek Dalmiya on 13 and Vijay Patil on 21. But two run out 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. Abhishek batted with patience playing the balls on merit as he drove and glanced with consummate ease, and ably supported Patil who did the heavy lifting.
After that Devajit Saikia and Sourav Ganguly came together and it looked like there was another twist to the tale. But Saikia was cleaned up by Shah on 15 and Ganguly had to retire after 35 with still 14 runs needed from two overs.
Sanjoy Vermar (8 not out) and Riyaz Razak (5 not out) could manage only 13.
The proceedings of the evening would have remained incomplete with Anirudh Chowdhury’s commentary who sense of humour, understanding of Board dynamics and chaste Hindi bought the match to life.