Das shines in washout
Joginder Singh, playing his first BCCI-recognised match, and captaining BSNL against a much stronger Air India Red, almost had a dream night before it literally rained on his party. Joginder's late hitting provided impetus to a good start provided by Arindam Das, Biswa Mohapatra and Varun Kumar, before he took a wicket with his first ball in List A cricket. Incessant rain, though, meant BSNL could not make further inroads and only 2.5 overs of Air India innings were possible. The two teams will share two points each for the match.
Before Joginder came in to bat, Das, the stodgy Bengal opener, was solid in getting his highest List A score, and Mohapatra, who last played a List A game in 2007, and Varun Kumar (last List A game in 2004-05) were forceful around him, helping BSNL to a competitive total. Varun, too, got a career-best 49.
It was an unconventional start to the 2009-10 domestic season, with Joginder walking out for the toss with Yuvraj Singh. Put in on a slow track, BSNL overcame a slow start, at first through Mohapatra's exploitation of fielding restrictions. From 10 for 0 in five overs, BSNL moved to 70 in 13 overs, with Mohapatra targeting left-arm-spinner Ankeet Chavan, whose first two overs went for 25. By the time Mohapatra got out for a run-a-ball 41, Das had moved to 25 off 38.
In Varun, Das found Mohapatra-like company, and he didn't feel the need to take any risks. Yuvraj brought on his spinners to try and slow down proceedings, a ploy that worked for a while with offspinner Ajit Chandila and Yuvraj exercising some control. The next 11 overs produced just 35 runs, but then Varun cut loose. Chavan, again, was at the receiving end, going for 11 in his third over. Das, too, picked up the pace as the two kept turning over the strike with ease. Chandila, who went for 13 in his first five, was welcomed back with a four and a six by Das and Varun.
Varun was denied a maiden fifty when he came back for a second run in the 33rd over, but the two had added 90 in less than 20 overs to set the innings up for a big finish. That assault was to be delayed as Das missed out on a maiden century, leaving BSNL at 188 for 3 in the 39th over, also the first over of the batting Powerplay.
Joginder, though, made sure that the Powerplay was made to count, hitting three sixes in his 24-ball 27, and helping BSNL take 42 in the Powerplay. But 17-year-old left-arm seamer Saurabh Netravalkar and Mun Mangela, the right-arm medium-pacer, made a good comeback, making the big hits hard to come by. They altered their lengths and pace smartly, and kept taking regular wickets in the final few overs, as BSNL - 235 for 3 in 44.5 overs - could manage to add only 23 in the last five.
Read the reports from the other matches of day one of the Corporate Trophy here.