The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India loses, so does crowd

Jamshedpur, Nov. 6: The West Indies won the opening one-dayer at the Keenan twice over. Both times, in the most dramatic of circumstances.

First, when match referee Mike Procter “abandoned” the game after sections of the capacity turnout continued to rain missiles. Then, when both teams agreed to resume and Ramnaresh Sarwan smashed Ajit Agarkar’s knee-high full toss for that last ball boundary.

Had the match not resumed after a 10-minute stoppage, the visitors would have been victorious by 19 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis Method.

At the “abandonment”, the West Indies was 13 short of their target of 284 and in hand were six wickets and three overs. As it turned out, the one-dayer went right down to the wire. Having won quite a few close finishes, the Indians lost this one.

Sarwan, unbeaten on 83, was appropriately adjudged Man of the Match.

While it’s to be seen how the ICC reacts — it will be guided by Procter’s report — it won’t surprise if the next game here isn’t held in a hurry. What could work in Jamshedpur’s favour is that the match was actually completed. Once Sourav Ganguly conveyed his team’s willingness to return, Procter spoke to the visitors who, too, agreed to again take the field.

Intriguingly, the administration’s response was utterly lethargic, that, too, in Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi’s presence. Worse, nobody appreciated that trouble was brewing from the morning itself when the students’ enclosure made Vasbert Drakes a target.

Police hardly moved when the same section hurled missiles at Harbhajan Singh, who had an off day, in the afternoon. The police were more interested in usurping seats.

While Sourav declined comment on the crowd’s behaviour, he did tell The Telegraph that the “possibility of winning” is what made him speak to Procter. “I thought we had a chance and, so, told him we wouldn’t mind returning — even though we would be fielding…. Eventually, we did lose, but that’s going to happen once in a while,” Sourav said.

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