Why MCC XI vs. ROW XI Was Such a Successful Cricket Moment at Lord's

Chris TealeFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2014

Why MCC XI vs. ROW XI Was Such a Successful Cricket Moment at Lord's

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    The recent match between a Marylebone Cricket Club XI and a Rest of the World XI at Lord’s to celebrate the ground’s 200th anniversary had something for everyone.

    A chance to see some of the best former players and some of the best current ones helped bring about a fascinating game of cricket.

    It may have only been an exhibition, but there was plenty on offer for fans of the sport, even though some stars may not have shone quite as brightly as others.

    The game was a definite success at Lord’s; read on for the reasons why.

Big Names on the Field

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    Reading down the squad lists of the two teams is a little like reading a who’s who of cricket in the past 20 years or so.

    The ROW XI featured such names as Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shahid Afridi, while the MCC XI had Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara and Saeed Ajmal, among others.

    In terms of the sheer breadth and depth of stars on show, this was a match to remember.

    With current internationals like Peter Siddle, Tamim Iqbal and Aaron Finch on show—not to mention Kevin Pietersen—this came close to being a true all-star game.

    It is no wonder that tickets were snapped up so readily by cricket fans; these were two teams with an enormous amount of talent at their disposal.

The Last Chance at Lord’s for Some Stars?

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    Of those star players, for some, this may well have been their final opportunity to shine on one of the most famous stages in all of cricket.

    Time is marching on for the likes of Warne, Tendulkar, Lara and Dravid, and after their years of success, they would have wanted to give another showcase of their talents.

    Perhaps they will come again in similar scenarios in the future, but that seems increasingly unlikely for some.

    Instead, this game was the last chance for many to savour some recent cricketing heroes on the field with the bat or ball in hand.

High Scores Despite Some Failures

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    On a pitch that had plenty on offer for the batsmen despite some drizzly overhead conditions, the crowd will have turned up wanting to see some runs scored in the 50-overs a side match.

    They were certainly not disappointed as two players made superb centuries.

    Yuvraj Singh showed he can still compete as he stroked his way to 132 from 134 balls for the ROW in their innings.

    Then, Finch did even better for the MCC as he lashed 181 not out from 145 balls to help take the hosts home by seven wickets.

    Both innings were worthy of the Lord’s stage and helped distract from the fact that the next highest score on either side was 44.

    Some players did not quite rise to the occasion, but Singh and Finch showed the way for their peers.

Enthusiastic Fan Support

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    Ticket sales for this game had initially been slow and only started to pick up steam when it was announced that Tendulkar and Dravid would be featuring.

    Those that turned up were treated to a spectacle of superb cricket and were tremendous in their vocal support all day.

    Tendulkar and Lara received the loudest cheers of all, befitting two giants of the modern game who are deservedly recognized as among the greatest of all time.

    Sometimes, the atmosphere at Lord’s can be a little subdued as fans feel reluctant to make themselves heard too much, lest they upset an MCC member or a steward.

    However, Saturday was a little different and showed that even this most venerable of cricket grounds can produce a noise not unlike the fervent support elsewhere around the world.

Sensible Officiating

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    Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough must also be applauded for their common sense on Saturday as they officiated this game.

    Rain threatened all game, with drizzle and showers threatening to get heavier and force a delay that could perhaps have prevented any further play.

    That would have been enormously disappointing for the paying public, especially as such an event could likely not have been rearranged for a later date.

    In the end, though, the umpires only took the players off for one stoppage due to rain, something that will have been warmly received by those in attendance.

    It was a triumph of common sense, as the game was unabridged in terms of overs and was allowed to play out to a natural conclusion, without the use of the Duckworth-Lewis Method.