Played on: September 28, 1997
Played at: Shizuoka
Result : Won by Shizuoka
IECC had to pay a heavy price for their lack of stroke play in their encounter against Shizuoka. Shizuoka won comfortably in 29 overs. In fact, they were on the chase right from the first over. Opener Dirshad Ali belted Biju for 2 sixes in the first over itself. When he was run out in the 4th over for 26 off 15 balls, the jubilation in the Engineers camp was as though they won the match.
Ali pushed Abhijit for two to the covers. The throw from the covers didn’t exactly landed in the keeper’s golves and the batsmen attempted for a third run. But Amol from the backward square leg quickly picked up the ball and threw it back to the ‘keeper and he did the rest of the job while Ali found the crease a few yards away. The smile on the engineers’ face said it all. Obviously, the news of his 145 not out against Fuji was fresh in the mind of Engineers. From then on, Engineers were able to keep the pressure on Shizuokans although the run rate was more than required. The rate at which the wickets fell, they believed that they could get the Shizuokans out for less than 150. However the arrival of Bruce and Andrew proved that wrong. From 61/4 at one point they raced to 138/5 with very few ground shots. The only bowler who could restrict the Shizuokans was Harold Tauro. His figures read 6-0-24-0. 12 of the 24 runs came from his 6th over when Andy hit him for two sixes to win the match by 5 wickets. When IECC came to bowl, Biju did a Martin Crowe by asking Abhijit, the right arm spinner to open bowling with him. It did pay off as Abhijit clean bowled one of the openers in his second over. For the Engineers Abhijit took 3 wickets and Biju 1.
Earlier, IECC captain Biju Paul won the toss for the second time in a row and elected to bat first on a grassy pitch. Opener Silvester was out on the 4the ball of the innings and the first ball he faced with the score at 1. It was a nicely pitched ball and Silvester went forward for a stroke and was bowled between bat and pad. That brought Abhijit in, one of the most experienced of the side. He along with Atul, the other opener put in 19 runs before Atul offered a high return catch to Bruce. Bruce, tall as he is, had no difficulty whatsoever, in holding on to that one. The highlight of the IECC innings was a 61 run 6th wicket partnership between captain Biju and new comer Dinesh Kurle, the highest for any wicket for IECC. After Biju was run out in the 36th over for personal score of 30, it seemed that the Engineers didn’t have a tail. Batsman after batsman went after the Shizuoka bowlers putting the top order to shame. For a moment, it seemed that Biju’s run out was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps, the most enterprising of them all was Harold who came in at number 9 and hit a four and six off successive balls and was clean bowled on the third one he faced! It reminded one of the match between India and West Indies at Sharjah when Srikant hit Malcolm Marshall for four and six off successive balls and was bowled on third one he faced.
IECC 174/9 in 40 overs
Extras: 29(20w, 8nb, 1b)
Abhijit 30, Biju 30, Dinesh 35
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-19, 3-45, 4-53, 5-78, 6-139, 7-151, 8-161, 9-161
Shizuoka 176/5 in 29 overs
Extras: 29 (20w, 1nb, 1lb, 7b)
Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-59, 3-59, 4-61, 5-138