MCA President's XI v Sri Lankans, Mumbai October 22, 2005

Hosts edge home in nail-biter

Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI 268 for 7 in 49.5 overs (Mane 75, Shetty 58, Muzumdar 56) beat Sri Lankans 267 for 9 (Maharoof 64*, Dilshan 50) by 3 wickets
Scorecard & ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Tom Moody faces the media after the defeat © AFP

Two earnest if not express mediumpacers and two moderate if unspectacular batsmen made life miserable for the Sri Lankans when they took on the Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI at the Wankhede Stadium in a one-day practice match that went right down to the wire. There was no stand-out performance for the Sri Lankans - Farveez Maharoof made a spirited 64 - and apart from testing their fitness in hot and humid conditions, little was achieved as they slumped to a three-wicket loss.

After scoring 267, and allowing the MCA XI to get off to a fine start, the Sri Lankans used all their experience to wrest back control of the game. However, it would not prove to be enough as the MCA XI just squeezed through, needing two to win off the last ball as Dilhara Fernando sent down a no-ball that the batsmen managed to scamper a single off.

Early warning signs for the Sri Lankans showed up when, put in to bat, the top-order batsmen failed to apply themselves. Usman Malvi, a diligent bowler, gave MCA XI the early breakthroughs, having Marvan Atapattu caught behind, Kumar Sangakkara caught and bowled and Dilhara Lokuhettige, the Supersub, trapped in front. The one batsman to get some measure of the bowling was Sanath Jayasuriya, who cut over cover, and pulled well, racing to 34 from just 26 balls, with seven boundaries, before pulling up with an injured shoulder.

From 30 without loss the Sri Lankans had slipped to 57 for 3, and Nilesh Kulkarni, the captain, wisely introduced Abhishek Nair, the promising young seamer, into the attack with two new batsmen at the crease. Nair held a steady line and length, giving away little in terms of width, and the rewards came soon enough. Mahela Jayawardene found the point fielder, Russel Arnold tickled one to the keeper and Upul Chandana was caught at midwicket.

If it was not for the cool head and clean strokes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, things could have been much worse for the Sri Lankans. He came to the wicket with the score on 82 for 4, and helped add 53 for the fifth wicket. He became the first batsman to reach 50, and looked good for more, but fell after a mix-up with Chandana left him stranded. Chandana (37) did his best to make amends, but when he departed, in the 47th over, with 222 on the board, it looked like the Sri Lankans would find themselves a few runs short.

Maharoof then powered his way to 64, clattering four sixes in the dying moments of the innings, using up just 44 balls for his innings. His method was simple - he gave himself room and smashed the ball over cover, and followed that up with big heaves over midwicket. His innings took Sri Lanka to 267 for 9 in 50 overs.

The target was stiff enough, but Vinayak Mane and Nishit Shetty, after the early loss of Praful Waghela, built a sensible partnership that put MCA XI in a great position to mount an assault on the target. Mane, diminutive and compact, played well within himself, taking his own time to get well set. Shetty, for his part, survived an early let off when Arnold put down a straightforward chance at cover, but settled down to play some pleasing strokes. The sapping heat did not make life easy for the Sri Lankans, and just after the half-way mark, they finally got some respite as the 113-run second wicket stand was broken.

Shetty, who had batted well for 58, mis-hit a pull shot off Nuwan Zoysa to Dilhara Fernando, and the Sri Lankans had a serious chance to claw their way back into the game. But Mane, in the company of the experienced Amol Muzumdar, pressed forward. He was looking good for a century when, against the grain of play, he was cleaned up by a quick one from Chandana. Mane's solid 75 included 7 boundaries, and when he was dismissed a further 83 runs were needed, off as many balls, with 8 wickets in hand.

With the set batsman dismissed, Muzumdar took over the scoring, slowly opening his shoulders and playing a few more strokes, taking a few more chances. But the fall of Parag Madkaikar soon after meant that the momentum swung away from the MCA XI. The required run-rate mounted, and several close-run singles ended in one risk too many being taken and Nair being run out. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Wilkin Mota brought fresh legs and a free-swinging bat to the middle and struck a couple of bold boundaries to wrest back the initiative. With 16 needed off as many balls Muzumdar (56) played a needless big shot, and holed out to square-leg. From then on, it was simply a question of taking the odd chance and hustling to victory, which Malvi (7 not out) and Samant (5 not out) managed, with one ball to spare.

How they were out

Sri Lankans

Marvan Atapattu c Samant b Malvi 7 (30 for 1)
Tickled a good length ball to the keeper

Kumar Sangakkara c & b Malvi 6 (57 for 2)
Chipped one that stopped on him back to the bowler

Dilhara Lokuhettige lbw b Malvi 0 (57 for 3)
Trapped in front first up

Mahela Jayawardene c Mane b Nair 13 (82 for 4)
Flashed to point

Russel Arnold c Samant b Nair 35 (135 for 5)
Chased a wide delivery

Thilan Samraweera c Mane b Nair 0 (137 for 6)
Lofted straight to midwicket

Tillakaratne Dilshan run out (Samant) 50 (175 for 7)
Stranded after a mix-up

Upul Chandana c Muzumdar b Kulkarni 37 (222 for 8)
Went for a big hit and only manage to hit high and a well-judged catch at mid-off

Nuwan Zoysa c Kulkarni b Shetty 1 (237 for 9)
Holed out to cover

Mumbai President's XI

Praful Waghela c Dilshan b Zoysa 4 (14 for 1)
Mis-hit a pull to one that bounced a bit

Nishit Shetty c Dilhara b Zoysa 58 (127 for 2)
Could not control a pull and found mid-on

Vinayak Mane b Chandana 75 (183 for 3)
Cleaned up by a quicker delivery

Parag Madkaikar c Dilshan b Chandana 12 (205 for 4)
Swatted a full toss to midwicket

Abhishek Nair run out (Sangakkara) 12 (222 for 5)
Wandered down the pitch looking for a single and could not make it back in time

Amol Muzumdar C Samaraweera b Fernando 56 (353 for 6)
Holed out to deep square leg

Wilkin Mota c Maharoof b Dilshan 24 (257 for 7)
Heaved straight to midwicket

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo