Rain has final say, opener called off

Rain has final say, opener called off

BSNLs Das sparkles with half-century on a wet day

Elegant: BSNL’s Arindam Das drives one through the off on Tuesday. DH photo

Unfortunately, the elements had the final say, rendering the opening match of the Corporate Trophy result-less at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

The rains provided an early indication of the carnage to follow when, shortly before toss on Tuesday afternoon, there was a short deluge which, however, did not delay the start. There was no escaping the fury of the elements later on, though as the two teams were forced to settle for two points apiece.

Chasing BSNL’s combative 258 for seven, Air India had barely had time to recover from the first-ball dismissal of Naman Ojha, and reach 16 for one in the third over when the skies opened up. Umpires Shahvir Tarapore and Siva Ravi had to perforce wait till 8.52 pm to officially call off play, but long before that, the sparse gathering had wended its way out of the ground.

The heavy cloud cover might have influenced Yuvraj Singh into opting to bowl first, but the Air India Red skipper and his bowlers were in for a nasty shock as the BSNL top-order, comprising no big names but certainly big hearts, came to the party. The little Arindam Das (82, 107b, 9x4) was the glue that held the innings together, alternating between studious defence and attractive strokeplay, while the early impetus came from his fellow opener Biswa Mahapatra.

The pace trio of Dhawal Kulkarni, left-arm Saurabh Netravalkar and Moondeep Mangela procured reasonable bounce from a refurbished surface and brooked careful watching, but when Yuvraj introduced left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan in the 11th over, Mahapatra went into overdrive. Chavan pitched far too short far too often and was promptly punished by the Orissa right-hander, a period during which Das was content to let his partner have the strike.

Das revealed an intelligent cricket brain both during his 70-run (79b) stand with Mahapatra, and the 90-run (116b) second-wicket stand with Varun Kumar, not the most attractive but definitely effective. Air India oscillated between the brilliant and the ragged on the field, Yuvraj dropping the first of three catches and the ground fielding leaving quite a bit to be desired.

Bengal’s Das looked on course for a hundred until falling in the first over of the batting Power Play, holing out to cover in seeking to clear the infield. Unselfish as that strike might have been, it set his team back hugely as Air India feasted on the lack of experience in the BSNL ranks.

 Skipper Joginder Singh, making his domestic 50-over debut, smashed three sixes off Ajit Chandela to wreck the offie’s figures, but apart from that brief display of bravado, there was little left in the lower middle-order as Kulkarni and Netravalkar returned towards the death to stifle the flow of runs. Looking at a total in the region of 300, BSNL were forced to settle for a lot less. Not, really, that it mattered in the end.

On Wednesday, BSNL will take on Rahul Dravid’s India Cements.

Score Board
BSNL: Biswa Mahapatra c Chandela b Mangela 41 (41b, 6x4, 1x6), Arindam Das c Raina b Kulkarni 82 (107b, 9x4), Varun Kumar (run out) 49 (68b, 3x4, 1x6), Niranjan Behera (run out) 29 (32b, 2x4), Joginder Singh c Chavan b Netravalkar 27 (24b, 3x6), Sanjay Bamel c Chavan b Mangela 5 (6b), Anshul Kapoor (not out) 11 (13b, 1x4), Ankur Kakkar c Uthappa b Netravalkar 0 (3b), Kamlesh Makwana (not out) 6 (6b, 1x4). Extras (LB-1, W-7) 8. Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 258.
Fall of wickets: 1-70 (Mahapatra), 2-160 (Varun), 3-188 (Das), 4-235 (Behera), 5-238 (Joginder), 6-241 (Bamel), 7-241 (Kakkar).
Bowling: Dhawal Kulkarni 9-0-44-1 (w-2), Saurabh Netravalkar 7-0-22-2 (w-1), Moondeep Mangela 9-0-40-2 (w-2), Ankit Chavan 5-0-49-0, Ajit Chandela 10-0-60-0 (w-1), Yuvraj Singh 6-0-24-0; Suresh Raina 4-0-18-0.

AIR INDIA RED: Naman Ojha c Varun b Joginder 0 (1b), Robin Uthappa (not out) 6 (7b, 1x4), Suresh Raina (batting) 10 (9b, 1x4). Total (for 1 wkt, 2.5 overs) 16.
Fall of wicket: 1-0 (Ojha).
Bowling: Joginder Singh 1.5-0-7-1, Narender Negi 1-0-9-0.

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