When Air India Red captain Yuvraj Singh won the toss and sent underdogs BSNL in, the feeling was that it was going to be an early finish in Group D's first league match of the Corporate Trophy at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday.
No one gave BSNL a chance to put up a fight. They were, in fact, expected to fold up meekly to set up an early finish. But once Arindam Das and BBCC Mahapatra silenced the Air India new ball bowlers with their 70-run opening stand, Yuvraj's plans began to go haywire.
Yuvraj himself dropped Mahapatra at slips when BSNL's total had not reached 50, adding to Air India's woes.
The 27-year-old Bengal right-handed opening batsman, Das, posted his highest List A (limited-overs) score — 82 in 107 balls with nine fours, guiding BSNL to a challenging 258 for seven.
The game, however, did finish early thanks to the rain with AI at 16 for one off 2.5 overs. Both teams took two points each.
BSNL, with hardly any player recognisable beyond their respective states, were up against a side that had two current India internationals in Yuvraj and Suresh Raina as well as a host of others who were in the national team in the not-too-distant past like Dhawal Kulkarni and Robin Uthappa.
The opponents' reputation did not bother BSNL, though. Mahapatra was the more aggressive, taking a T20 approach, while Das was content at playing the more traditional manner, securing his end tightly till the 39th over, when in trying to force the pace in the batting PowerPlay, he was caught at covers.
The BSNL batsmen took a special liking to left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan, who bowled short, something that was his bane when he played a couple of matches for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy last season. Chavan went for 49 runs in his five overs.
Disaster struck Air India in their run chase when Rajasthan Royals wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha fell for a first-ball duck. The onus was on Uthappa and Raina to bail the Reds out when a heavy downpour forced everyone indoors.
Even though it poured heavily for about 15 minutes, it took the groundstaff three-quarters of an hour to remove the water off the covers, with three Super-Soppers jumping into action. However, just when play was about to resume, another shower ensured that there was no further action.
With technology advancing in leaps and bounds, and money not an issue with the BCCI, there could perhaps be a system where a match can resume immediately after the rain stops.
This would not only ensure spectator interest and but also ensure more cricket.