Cricket is a gentleman’s game. It is very popular and enjoyed all over the world. It is my favourite game. I like it very much. I play it and see it being played either on the ground or on the television. This noble game is full of excitement, thrill, discipline, team- spirit, cooperation and hard work.
Once, we had a very interesting cricket match between India and Pakistan. Ajay Jadeja was the captain of the Indian team. It was a limited-over one-day cricket match and played in Feroze Shah Kotla ground, New Delhi. Both teams were equally good and the match was evenly poised.
The match began at 9 A.M. with the toss of the coin. Umpire tossed the coin and India won the toss. India decided to bat first. Our openers played good strokes and played cautiously Pakistani opening bowlers were Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram. Sourav Ganguly hit couples of boundaries and scored 40 runs before he was caught by the bowler himself in follow through.
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The other opener Ramesh was also out when our score was 70 runs. He made just 20 runs. He was replaced by our captain Ajay Jadeja. He played delightful cricket and sent the ball flashing to all parts of the ground. He scored 62 runs off 52 balls. He was caught out by the mid-wicket fielder. Rahul Dravid played four down and played steadily but a very clever ball deceived him and he was bowled out for 30 runs.
The tail- enders played well and India reached a respectable total of 250 runs for 8 wickets in 50 overs. Then there was lunch.
The Pakistan team started well and played positive cricket. There was an opening partnership of 80 valuable runs between Shahid Afridi and Shahid Anwar. These 80 runs were made in just 15 overs. Anwar was out at a respectable score of 50 runs. Then came Injmam-ul-Haq. He was playing good strokes and hit three consecutive boundaries in an over of Sunil Joshi before he was given L.B.W. out. It made him disappointed. Thereafter their middle-order batsmen collapsed like nine pins at regular intervals.
They were at one stage only 140 runs for 5 wickets. So tight and well balanced was our bowling. Kumble took two wickets. There was great cheer and clapping from the crowd.
But the lower-order batsmen of the Pakistani team played steadily and scored runs fast in twos and ones. Boundaries were few and far between. They took the score to 225 in 46 overs and 5 balls and had lost 7 wickets.
There was a lot of excitement and fortunes fluctuated at regular intervals. But then our medium fasters Srinath and Agarkar did exceedingly well and the rivals were all out for 240 runs in 48-2 overs. Indians were over joyed. Anil Kumble was declared ‘man of the match’ for his brilliant spin bowling and for scoring 20 valuable runs.