A Steelbacks XI took on India’s T20 team in a Tour Match at Wantage Road as they gear up for their T20 Series with England this week.
A capacity crowd were left thoroughly entertained as the tourists triumphed by 10 runs.
Northants made a flying start with Josh Cobb pinning Sanju Samson LBW with the first ball of the match before a double wicket maiden from Brandon Glover left India struggling at 8-3.
Captain Dinesh Karthik struck 34 but was dismissed by a catch of the season contender from Ricardo Vasconcelos and it was a half-century from Harshal Patel that helped get India to 149-8 from their 20 overs.
In reply, the Steelbacks’ effort was stifled by early wickets in the powerplay and, despite the best efforts of Zaib (33) he was bowled by Harshal Patel in the final over with Northants on 139.
Nonetheless, it was a day to remember for the Steelbacks with India being backed by a noisy support as part of the huge crowd on hand.
Asked if he had played in an atmosphere like it before, Zaib said: “No, I don’t think so. It was pretty hectic!
“I can’t imagine what they play in front of in India. I am sure it’s a lot noisier over there!
“It was nice to play and have the crowd behind you. Hopefully we can have a few more games like that in the future. It’s pretty cool to be part of the atmosphere.”
As far as the game itself was concerned, Zaib admitted the Steelbacks were feeling confident at the halfway point.
But he conceded the Indians’ death bowling was a big difference maker.
“It’s pretty special being out there with some of the best death bowlers in the world,” he added.
“You see them on the TV and then to play against them and score a few runs is a nice feeling.
“I watched pretty much every game of the IPL so it’s pretty cool to see them on TV and then play against them.
“We were pretty confident. Even when I was out there with five or six overs to go I felt confident but we lost too many wickets, it just wasn’t to be our day.
“These guys get paid the big bucks to deliver and you can see why.”