Monday, July 10

Twenty20: International XI Vs Pakistan

This evening I was invited to watch a charity Twenty20 match at The Oval. Pakistan were set to take on an International XI team comprising of, amongst others, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. The rain had delayed the start of play (which, ironically, was good since I was late), so we ended up watching a Ten10 instead. The light sucked and to be honest we weren't expecting much.

I've been to a few Pakistan matches before, and although I'll never tire of them it was nice to see some of the other cricketing stars I wouldn't usually have the chance to. Lara and Tendulkar both put on good shows, while Dhoni made things exciting toward the end of the International XI's innings. I even got to see Waqar Younis bowl (albeit badly)! A score of 123 was set which was pretty exciting for ten overs.

It was then Pakistan's turn to bat. Most were surprised that Afridi wasn't opening, but I didn't mind; if he was going to do his thing I'd rather watch some of the other batsmen have a go first. And that was basically how it went - Pakistan didn't really accelerate till Afridi (41 off 21 balls) and Inzamam took to their respective creases. And even then the game was taken to the wire: twelve runs were required in the last over for Pakistan to win the match, but after five balls they had only(!) made ten. The sixth throw was a no-ball (perhaps unfortunately) and so secured the draw. That didn't matter though as Inzamam knocked the rethrow for a four. It was total drama, yaar.

The three Indian players drew in a lot of their fans: between us we made up most of the audience and our flags were the only ones being waved on the pitch. In essence, this was as close to an Indo-Pak affair as you could get without them actually playing each other. And the fact that this was a "trivial" charity match seemed to have taken some of the venom away too with each side indiscriminately cheering and jeering anyone and anything they could.

It was fun and stress-free and I can think of worse ways to spend a gloomy Monday evening. And there were fitties, like, everywhere too. Perfeck.

Media-wise, it was a pretty low key affair and I can't find many match reports online but The BBC and Cricinfo both have write ups of the match.