MCC crashed out of the Emirates Airline T20 in their semi-final clash with Lancashire, despite a fine all round performance from Sourav Ganguly.
Ganguly made 25 from just 20 balls as MCC posted a reasonable target of 141 on a slow track in Dubai – but his fellow Indian Rahul Dravid had a disappointing first outing since announcing his international retirement, making just six.
Former India skipper Ganguly then took 2-21 from his four overs but Lancashire survived a late wobble to reach the total from the penultimate ball of the 19th over, Gareth Cross swiping Rana Naved over cow-corner for six to complete a four-wicket win.
MCC had made an excellent start after skipper Mark Ramprakash had won the toss, with Niall O’Brien tucking into the Lancashire attack.
Lancashire later went on to lose to Sussex in the final, with the Sharks taking victory by a convincing 57 runs.
Ebb and flow
The Ireland wicket-keeper continued his form from the Bangladesh Premier League, hitting four fours and two sixes in a 26-ball 32, before falling to Oliver Newby.
Ganguly was a bystander for much of the opening partnership, but launched a series of attacking shots himself, including one huge six over long on.
It was his aggression which undid him though, as he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary going for a second six.
Dravid – in at his favoured number three position – was undone by a good Newby delivery, which nipped back and took the 39-year-old’s off stump.
Ramprakash then fell cheaply, but MCC were grateful to Moeen Ali, the Worcestershire batsman, who played the spinners excellently in assembling a well constructed 32.
However MCC”s total was immediately put under pressure by Lancashire opener Stephen Moore in reply.
Moore, who played for MCC in last season’s Champion County match, took a liking to Shaun Tait’s extra pace, striking the former Australia fast bowler for a succession of boundaries through the off side.
Rana was also expensive early on, as Moore made a rapid 38 off just 20 balls, featuring seven fours and a six.
Steven Croft’s steady 40 looked to have seen his side home, but MCC ensured there were a few nerves in the Red Rose dressing room, with Alan Richardson bowling four overs for just 12.
But Cross hit 10 from Tait’s final two deliveries, before his winning six ensured it was advantage Lancashire ahead of next week’s Champion County clash.
Ganguly reflected on a good afternoon for him personally with the IPL looming, but one in which MCC ultimately fell up short.
“We didn’t get enough runs,” he said. “It was a good pitch and we should have got around 160.
“But I feel I’m in good form. I’ve been playing a lot and I feel good.
“I’ve been bowling as well which went well today, so I’m excited for the IPL.”