We want to know about it all
Its not a surprise that Cricket is a religion in India & its as much a religion in Jaipur as it is any other part of the country. Now Jaipur's love for cricket is no deep-sea-treasure secret that may be hidden from many. It's admiration for the game is very much evident from the fact that Jaipur emerged as one of the best venues during the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 (India). The crowd response was enormous in the matches played here at the 'Sawai Man Singh Stadium'. Not only this, matches that did not feature India also had a tremendous crowd response proving the fact that people here love their cricket. Since then, with improved stands & facilities the SMS( Sawai Man Singh Stadium) has become a regular venue for international fixtures. If this was a good news then there is some even better news to follow. All these happenings have led to the improvement in the domestic cricketing structure here. And talking of improvements, well there's one more thing that is fast improving here & that is the RCB fan base. Now it may come as a surprise to some that Jaipuriites are showing their support for the RCB but believe me this is a trend in the upswing. Thanks to the presence of national legends like Anil Kumble & Rahul Dravid, the liking for the Red & Gold outfit has surely grown. What further enhances the admiration of Jaipuriites for RCB is the presence of two state-lads Pankaj Singh & Ashok Menaria with the former having played a crucial role in RCB's journey to the top 3 in IPL-3 & the latter fast emerging on the cricketing scene after having led India under-19 world cup team. All in all it can be said that the cricketing culture in Jaipur & the rest of Rajasthan are seeing a new dawn that will only lead to a better day.
It all started this fine Sunday morning when two self-proclaimed champion teams chose for a head-on collision.(Now don’t get confused with a bull-fight). On one had we had the ‘D’ XI ( the name famously put by its players) led by a cool-calm Anil Kumar & on the other was the Choudhary XI with quite a few street-smart ruff-n-tuff players. I being a part of the ‘D’ XI could not play due to a niggling foot injury. The prize money was fixed at Rs. 500 & though it seemed a little gamble for us, we still chose to go for it. With the toss having won, we decided to give ourselves the bat first in this 25-over match as we were keen on putting up a big score. The captain opted for a slightly different opening pair of Samprotik Roy & Pankaj Jhanwar. The idea was to allow the batsmen to freewheel & create panic in the opposition ranks. The decision was to be proved wrong soon. After getting just 1 off the first over Samprotik decided that he had enough of it & swung his bat at the delivery for a fantastic four thus trying to stamp his authority. But the very next delivery came crashing into his legs & off went his middle stump off the bowling of Punit Choudhary. ‘D’XI- 5/1. Soon it was Pankaj to follow & with three more wickets going down in quick succession , the score looked terrible at 12/5 after 7 overs. But then at this moment our champion allrounder Ankit Sharma chose to step in & guide the team. At 18/7, he was joined by Snehil Jain who with his firm determination added 20 runs in partnership to the total before a slight lack of concentration resulted in a run out which looked the only form in which they could be dismissed. With Snehil gone, the remaining batsmen also didn’t last long & the innings was folded up for 49 (a horrible score). At break, there was only one point of discussion & that was to not give it up. As we went in to bowl, the idea was clear, get 10 wickets & that needed the whole team to step up to the occasion & play as a unit & help each other. The opposition could almost be forgiven for thinking that this was an easy task for them bu they had no idea what they were upto & what was to follow. The ball was handed to our reliable Ankit Sharma who has the repute of getting quick wickets & also has picked two hat-tricks for us. The new-ball pair of Ankit & Bhawani Singh steamed in & bowled relentlessly stiffling the opposition batsmen. A spell that lasted 6 overs we managed to remove 3 top order batsmen of Choudhary XI with Ankit & Bhawani picking 2 & 1 wickets each. As bowlers were changed at both ends we had Sumit Sharma from one end & our skipper Anil Kumar with his spin from the other end. In the next six overs another 2 wickets were removed & the opposition was reeling at 26/5. With 24 more needed for them & 5 wickets for ‘D’ XI, the competition could not have become more exciting. The ‘D’’s kept the pressure on though at 37/7 things started getting out of hand until a good catch at mid-wicket by Samprotik off Vishwajeet’s delivery brought us back in the game. With 10 more runs needed & two wickets needed the ‘D’ XI nearly sealed it for themselves making the score 39/9. The last wicket batsmen got their head down as they still had about 7 overs left to complete the score. Slowly but surely no. 10 & 11 were taking their team to victory. At 47/9 , a hesitant cover drive from chander pratap went straight to Snehil Jain who with a quick throw back to the bowler Sumit caused further hesitation between the two batsmen & scored a perfect run-out for his team. A thrilling 2 run victory for the ‘D’XI & what followed was a grand celebration for it surely was a hard-fought victory.