Dhoni and Raina propel RCA Presidents XI to win
RCA President's XI 299 (Dhoni 98 retd, Raina 79 retd, Pathan 42) beat India XI 296 (Sehwag 107, Yuvraj SIngh 54, Dravid 40, Munaf 3-43) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Powered by some lusty hitting by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI chased down the 297-run target in the last over. All the Indian batsmen, except Mohammad Kaif, had a useful outing. As for the bowlers, however, only Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh came away with their honours intact. Interestingly, none of the Rajasthan batsmen were given a chance to bat.
In a game where the focus was clearly to get some practice - Dhoni and Kaif batted for both teams, Raina batted and bowled in the same innings, and India XI only had one regular bowler in RP Singh - the three chief disappointments were Irfan Pathan, Kaif and RP Singh. While Pathan bled 83 runs, Kaif, despite getting two chances to bat, totalled all of eight runs and RP Singh was carted for 83 in 8.5 overs.
If Pathan went into the match hoping to salvage his reputation as a strike bowler, he was to be disappointed. Maybe, even shattered, as he was destroyed by Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. He bled in fours and sixes as the duo went after him with gusto. Pathan, as he has been doing in recent times, sought relief with his bat.
Given the onslaught at the other end, Munaf's was a creditable performance.While the openers were indulging themselves on Pathan's offerings, they were forced to deal in singles and twos against the economical Patel. He picked up the wicket of Tendulkar before coming back for a second spell to curtail a promising knock from Yuvraj Singh. Ajit Agarkar, although not as expensive as Pathan, leaked 62 runs in his 10 overs.
Sehwag made merry with a 91-ball 107 that was studded with 13 fours and two sixes before retiring hurt to make way for the other batsmen. Tendulkar gave him good company with a 45-ball 39. After Kaif was run out, Yuvraj and Rahul Dravid stitched together a fine partnership to push the score along. Dhoni retired hurt after making 17 - he was to return to wallop the India XI bowlers - and Dinesh Mongia did not get much time in the middle.
The RCA XI were given a rollicking start by Dhoni and Raina who tore apart RP Singh. Interestingly, the Rajasthani bowlers, Mathur and Gehlot, were not that profligate. Both the openers retired but Kaif could not make use of his second opportunity with the bat, falling to Yuvraj. Pathan, however, made a well-compiled 42. He shared useful partnerships with Agarkar and Harbhajan to steer his side close to the victory. Though Pathan fell in the last over, with still five runs needed in four balls, Harbhajan and Ramesh Powar took RCA XI home.