Among the outdoor games, cricket is considered to be one of the most charming games in the world. It is a favourite game in countries such as, England, India, Australia, W. Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In India cricket matches are so popular that now-a-days International Test matches and One-Day matches played between India and other countries are almost like national holidays. They bring about a great deal of popular excitement, relaxation and national fervour.
Recently, I witnessed an exciting One-Day Cricket match, between Assam XI and Bengal XI. The teams consisted of the best college teams from both the states. The venue, Nehru Stadium, Guwahati, was jam-packed with enthusiastic cricket fans. The match commenced exactly at 9-00 a.m. and was supposed to consist of 25 overs on both sides.
The Assam team won the toss and decided to bat They began with a fine start with Mahesh Hazarika, the team’s captain and Shankar Goswami as their opening batsmen. Within minutes the opening batsman, Mahesh Hazarika, started off with a spectacular sixer. The crowd jumped with excitement and gave him a thunderous applause.
Thereafter, the opening pair scored runs after runs, sending shocking waves to the Bengal team. But soon the Bengal team got off their shock and fought back courageously. Within half an hour the Assam Captain was bowled out after having scored 32 runs.
With his departure Assam team seemed to have lost their backbone. Little later Shankar Goswami, the other opening batsman, was caught out. The catch by Sathyan Majumdar of the Bengal team was superb. The spectators jumped with delight to see such a wonderful catch. However within an hour, the rest of Assam team fell like a pack of cards bringing the final score to 192 at the end of 25 overs.
There was a short break. When the match resumed, the Bengal XI took to bating. They began well. Harish Choudhary, the opening batsman began with a fine start scoring several sixers and fours. He scored about 42 runs within a short time.
However, his partner soon fell after having scored just 14 runs. His replacement put up a better fight and scored 23 runs after which he too was caught out.
The Assam boys continued with their onslaught. The four successive batsmen from the Bengal team managed to improve the score making it 140 by 2.00 p.m. in the afternoon. The Bengal boys, thereafter, fell one after the other within a short time. The only saving grace was the splendid performance put up by Rohit Pradhan.
He was able to obtain an individual score of 46 runs – the highest in the match. The Assam bowlers were in excellent form and the Bengal boys were no match for them. The match finally ended at 3.30 p.m with the Bengal team’s total score reaching up to 177 runs, with all batsmen out.
The home crowd rushed in to congratulate the victorious Assam team who had brought glory to the home state,obtaining 15 runs more than the Bengal team. Rohit Pradhan of Bengal team was declared the man of the match. The trophy for the best team as well as the award for the man of the match was given away by Kamrup Deputy Commissioner, who was the chief guest for the occasion.
It was one of the most exciting cricket matches I had ever seen. The team spirit, excellent fielding and the superb catches of Bengal boys were admired by all, while the Assam boys fast bowling, fine field strategy, and determination won the spectator’s cheers.
The crowd was thrilled to see such a lively contest played with such remarkable display of skill, team spirit, and liveliness on both sides. It was a spectacular match, the memory which still lingers in my mind, even after several years.