- SL Lions lift the Japan Gold Cup (November 9, 2003)
- Engineers enter the final to defend the Japan Gold Cup (October 26, 2003)
- Engineers drop the KCL Cup 7 times and eventually the match (October 25, 2003)
- All Japan 6s – a good insight into cricket in Japan (October 5, 2003)
- Under strength Engineers lose to under strength Kytes (October 5, 2003)
- Engineers confirm their place in the JGC semi-final (September 28, 2003)
- 10 Engineers tie a thriller (September 13, 2003)
- Yet another batting collapse, lower order answers S.O.S call (August 10, 2003)
- The Engineers keep their KCL semi-final hopes alive (August 2, 2003)
- The Engineers lose their first KCL match (July 27, 2003)
- The Wombats strike back (July 21, 2003)
- The Engineers’ tail wags against the Pakistan Eaglets (July 13, 2003)
- The Lions roared and the Engineers trembled (June 8, 2003)
- YC & AC tamed (June 1, 2003)
- Engineers set their eyes on Pacific Cup (May 24, 2003)
- Engineers register their second consecutive victory (May 17, 2003)
SL Lions lift the Japan Gold Cup
Engineers devastated by the Lions’ pace onslaught
|The Sri Lankan Lions lifted the third Japan Gold Cup on November 9 by defeating the defending champions, the Indian Engineers, by 64 runs. The match was worth the status of the final of a multi-team tournament only when the Lions batted. When the Engineers came to bat to chase a meager 141 runs in 40 overs, they were just blown away by the Lions’ two opening bowlers, thus reducing it to a no-contest in a matter of a few overs.
Having won the toss, the Lions expectedly opted to bat first. The Engineers fielded a full strength team, barring Sriram Sampath, who opted out on the morning of the match due to a running fever. As opposed to the previous encounters between the two teams in which the Lions have sent the Engineers on leather hunt and scoring 200+ runs, the Engineers this time controlled the proceedings and restricted the batsmen’s stroke play. Bowlers bowled to the field that was set for them and fielders gave their 100% in saving runs. As run rate hovered around 3, the the pressure on the batsmen could be seen as they scrambled for singles, at times calling for non-existing singles and then retracting and batsmen charging down the track and missing the ball completely. Dammika Udaya, the diminutive no. 3 batsmen, who scored a magnificent 80+ runs in the league encounter, scratched around for 8 runs before completely misjudging the line of a ball and was clean bowled by Ashok Kumar, who was brought in for a second spell.
The Lions were in a not-too-bad 57/2 at the end of 17 overs when the bowling change worked again. They lost 2 wickets for 5 runs and then were reduced to 97/6 in 29 overs. Suddenly the Engineers’ pre-match target of restricting the Lions below 170 seemed too high and was revised to below 150, mid-innings. However, a 30 runs partnership for the 7th wicket between the skipper Indika Anurudha and Udya Atukorala seemed threatening for a while but then Indika was was run out by a misfortune. A fierce uppish straight drive by Udaya was put down by the bowler, Jagan Panda, who was brought in for his second and last spell, but was successful in directing the ball to the stumps at the non-striker’s end, where Indika was was found backing up too far. Former captain, Rohita, departed next without adding anything to the score, caught plumb in front by Jagan. Ashok Kumar was brought in for his third spell of 2 overs and had Anura Gunasinghe caught at Point by Ajey. The Lions folded to 140 all out in 36.5 overs.
Ashok Kumar, as usual, was brilliant over all although the skipper was forced to take him off the attack just after 3 overs and 14 runs of his opening spell. But his second and third spell were just as good as any of his other ones were. A big thanks to Viswa Ghosh for advising the captain to bring back Ashok for a second spell when he did, which brought two valuable wickets. Jagan was unlucky not to have a couple of more wickets. Change bowlers, Vimal Vikrant and Ajey Kulkarni, bowling uninterrupted spells of 5 and 7 overs, respectively, kept the ball straight and bowled wicket to wicket. Ashok Sharma then started off with a maiden – which is not really a news – but he came in for some stick later. Although 6-1-24-0 is not a bad bowling analysis, Shamaji is justified in feeling aggrieved having put in a poor performance as per his own standards. Dinesh Singh continues to be an enigma this year. From being a stingy wicket-taking bowler, he has become a lavish bowler who also takes wickets this year. Although there were a couple of misses behind the stumps, Bibhas Roy proved to be an efficient replacement for the regular ‘keeper(which one, you may ask, as there is more than one!). The dilemma for the captain is: “to bowl him or to ‘keep him?”. The other dilemma is that his replacement is also not a bad bowler.
Having done half the job satisfactorily, the Engineers should have gone the full distance. However, their batting display on that day buttressed the wide belief in the Kanto circuit that they are poor chasers. The Lions could not have hoped for a better beginning. Sanjeeb Sahoo was caught plumb in front in the very first ball by the left arm pace man, Mahen Fernando. As if that was not enough, Manura Neomal, opening with Mahen sent shivers down the spine of the Engineers as he sent back Vimal and Viswa off successive balls of his first over, 2nd over of the innings. Engineers slumped to 3/2 (3 wickets for 2 runs, for the sake of the Australians and the English!) in two overs. The opening bowlers continued to torment the Engineers as they bowled unchanged and sent back 7 Engineers for only 13 runs in 8 overs. All of a sudden, the Engineers appeared to head for their lowest total but a brilliant 37 runs partnership for the 8th wicket between Bibhas and Ajey put some respectability to the total and then a 19 runs partnership for the 9th wicket between Bikash Mohanty and Bibhas took the total to 69. The last wicket partnership yielded only 7 runs but it was the partnership for the last 3 wickets that brought some respectability to the Engineers total.
Over all, it was a poor batting display by the Engineers where as the Lions opening bowlers put in a brilliant performance. So the cup goes to the team that deserved it. Well done guys! See you next year!
Engineers enter the final to defend the Japan Gold Cup
Consolation after a day of deep grief
|A day after they lost the most important match of their history, the Engineers secured a consolation win, something to cheer about in the Indian festival season with a nail biting 4 run win against the Edogawa Falcons in the Japan Gold Cup semifinal. It seems, they put the previous day’s experience out of their mind and learned the lesson very quickly. After all, cricket does not mean only big hits, but many other equally important factors, through which a match can be won.
It was a lovely clear morning in Edogawa with perfect conditions for cricket. Engineers started the day without their skipper, deputy and few other key players due to the injury from the previous day’s KCL match and other commitments. Depleted but spirited, Engineers started on a positive note by winning the toss and electing to bat under yours truly as the stand-in skipper. There was some controversy about the total number of overs after the toss but it was finally decided to be a 35 overs per innings match. On the other side, the Falcons were also missing one of their key players and named Akoo as 12th man in to the field.
With a strategic change in the opening pair, Sunil Viswanathan and Prasad Pooppully started the Engineers’ innings in a very positive way. Both of them handled Falcons opening pace attack of Rizwan and Ruwan very well while keeping the scoreboard ticking until the 3rd over, when Sunil misread a ball from Ruwan and gave a lolly pop catch to the opposing captain, Sheikh, at the short extra cover. Sanjeeb Sahoo joined in the middle but could not carry on with the splendid strokes he executed early in his innings and was deceived by the swing of Azeem, the ball going through the gate to castle his stumps. Dinesh Singh and Prasad then steadied the innings with a healthy run rate and took the score to 50/2 in 10 overs. But soon Prasad lost his concentration and was clean bowled in 11th over by Irfan. Thanks to Mr. Extras, the score looked good but the Engineers kept loosing wickets at regular intervals. Promising batsman Bala couldn’t show his true potential in the middle because of the introduction of slow bowlers into the attack and was eventually caught behind.
Bobby Philips, Ashok Kumar and Vimal Vikrant all tried to consolidate the innings in the middle overs but none succeeded to conceive a big total except for a few powerful strokes, as expected, from Ashok. Bobby got trapped right in front of the wicket, trying to work the ball and Vimal was caught behind. Engineers 97/6 in 25 overs and the Falcons were grinning. Meanwhile, Dinesh was holding one end up and became the highest scorer(29), after Mr. Extras(42). He was soon given out LBW reducing the Engineers to 106/7 in 27 overs. His search for lucky pads still continues… Good luck Dinesh! The next partnership between Ajey Kulkarni(21) and Anil Kumar(16*) for the 8th wicket enabled the Engineers to post a respectable total on board. Both of them played sensible cricket, no non-sense shots, quick running between wickets and hitting the loose ball. Thanks to the above duo, Engineers ended the innings with 153/9 in 35 overs, a score which was looking a distant possibility, given the (familiar) middle order collapse. Though Ajey got bowled in the penultimate over, Anil and partially injured stand-in skipper(3*) ensured that all 35 overs were played out and were not bowled out.
With a strong bowling line-up, it was just necessary to check the extras and keep the nerves for the Engineers to defend the total. On the very first ball of the Falcon innings, strike bowler Ashok Kumar produced a beauty. Opening batsman Naeem didn’t have a clue and gave a very sharp caught behind chance but the ‘keeper fumbled twice before finally managing to put it down. In the subsequent overs, both Naeem and Azeem played some glorious drives on either side of the wicket and sent the Engineers on a leather hunt. Many a times the Engineers thought they had their men but the umpire thought otherwise and Falcons raced to 50/0 in 7 overs. Realizing the urgency of situation, slow bowlers were introduced into the attack in the form of Ajey and Vimal. Ajey produced the first breakthrough by having Azeem caught behind. Falcons 79/1. Charged up, Vimal produced the second wicket in the very next over to get rid of danger man Naeem, trapped in front of wicket. Both of them bowled in tandem with tight line and length and in the process ran through the Falcons’ middle order including skipper Sheikh, who was caught splendidly by Dinesh at midoff. Falcons 98/5. They were all conned by the slow mixed deliveries with tight line and improved fielding.
Meanwhile, No. 3 batsman Rizwan was making a steady progress towards the target until Bobby was introduced late and he got the prized wicket, caught sharply in the short fine leg by the skipper. Falcons 134/7. Engineers tightened the noose around the Falcons by sensible mix-up of slow and fast bowlers and got the match into a fighting position. Sanjeeb, who never succumbs into any kind of pressure, produced two vital breakthroughs in the death. With 5 runs to win in 6 overs and one wicket to go, Dinesh was asked to unleash his deadly yorkers. He did not disappoint his captain and fired 3 balls on the exact same spot. In the 4th delivery the btsman gave a simple return catch to end the proceedings. Engineers registered a 4-run win from a hopeless situation(Falcons 79/0 in 13 overs and chasing only 154).
A big “hip hip hurray” on the field was followed by a dinner celebration at the stand-in skipper’s apartment and the icing on cake was provided by the fireworks of Tendulkar, Laxman, Yuvraj, Agarkar back home against the Aussies, which made it a day to remember.
Engineers drop the KCL Cup 7 times and eventually the match
Millennium earns their place in history
|The cricket mantra, Pakdo Catch, Jito Match (Catches win Matches) found to be absolutely true in a pulsating semi-final match against the Millennium at the Fuji ground, in which Engineers lost their KCL chance by just two wickets. In a partly cloudy day, both teams arrived early at the ground, which enabled a full 40 over match. Captain Biju Paul, for the first time, did a Jan-ken-pon to decide who calls the toss. He won both the Jan-ken-pon and the toss and he was confident that the result of the match will be the same too. With strong batting line up and shorter days in mind, he elected to bat first.
Openers Sanjeeb Sahoo and Prasad Pooppully started cautiously while Miyaji and Rizwan bowled tight. However, before the duo could settle down, Sanjeeb got a leading edge when he tried to repeat an elegant leg glance to a slow ball from Miyaji. That brought the blaster Vishwa Ghosh into the crease. He could not go after the bowlers except for a splendid cover drive, which was a pointer to his class. On the very next delivery from Saida, Vishwa saw his middle stump cart-wheeling, resulting in a euphoria in the Millennium camp and disbelief in the Engineers. With the help of Prasad, Silvester, Vimal at the other end, Engineers’ pride Sriram Sampath brought some cheer to the Indian camp by a couple of mighty sixes and copybook drives to the fence. Even as he was looking very dangerous and settling down for a big innings, a brilliant catch, behind the wicket ended his classy innings of 40 runs in as many balls. The celebration on the field showed what this wicket meant for the Millennium. Bobby Philips, Jagan Panda et al helped the Engineers go past the 150 mark with some clean hitting and good running in the middle order. A late onslaught from Bibhas Roy(13) at number 10 and cheeky singles from captain, who remained undefeated on 9 – still one run short of that elusive double figure – helped the Engineers post a decent total of 174 in 39.5 overs. For Millennium, Saida was the most successful bowler, bagging 5 prized Engineers.
After being clean bowled a couple of times in the practice sessions, captain was convinced of the bowling potential of Bibhas and tossed the ball to the latest sensation (you never know what you can become !!!). Although he conceded 10 runs in the very first over, subsequent overs proved that the captain’s judgment was not misplaced as the bowler followed it up with a maiden next over. Jagan started with a maiden but was thrashed in his next over as he went for 16 runs, that included 3 hits to the rope. For Millennium, opener Millennium led the attack. A cover drive by Munir in the first over revealed what was in store for the Engineers. He started scoring boundaries at will and suddenly it looked like 11 fielders were not enough to stop the onslaught. Skipper Biju jumped in air with joy when Bibhas got the first breakthrough to get rid of the danger man Munir with a top edge skier landing in the safe hands of Vimal. The team’s body language changed right after that and a charged up Jagan and Bibhas ran through the Millennium’s top order. Captain Fuji was ran out after he was dropped by the first slip. Even as he went for a run off the mis-field, Biju rushed from gully and threw the ball to the non-striker’s end where the waiting fielders completed the ritual. Miyaji was clean bowled for a second ball duck after Naeem departed without troubling the scorers much, giving a skier to the ‘keeper. Rizwan, who was dropped behind the wicket early in his innings was looking good and was threatening to take the match away from the Engineers when Vimal clean bowled him. Millennium slumped to 98/5 in 19.1 overs.
At this point Millennium’s batsmen were looking into the barrel with all of their top order back in the pavilion. This is the point from where the Engineers started doing all kinds of horrible things like dropping catches, overthrows, extras, mis-fields etc.(God knows why) and gave many lives to the batsmen. Limited bowling options were exposed and the skipper could not do much to control the situation. Taking the opportunity, Matsuhisa, Yoshioka and Kanzaki played sensibly with solid defense and scoring most of the runs through singles or doubles. Eventually, Engineers got rid of all of them, but it was too little too late. As the scores were even, Jagan removed the 8th man but a nice, clean boundary in the 2nd delivery of 39th over from Bobby got the Millennium past the 174 run mark to take them to final of the KCL. Now the Engineers have to wait for another year to eye KCL cup once again.
Overall, Millennium played sensible cricket, kept their cool when chipswere down and played like a champion team. All credit to Matsuhisa who sheperded the middle order with ingeniousness. Good Luck guys!!
All Japan 6s – a good insight into cricket in Japan
AJ6 in its third year
|After two qualification rounds of the AJ6 had to be postponed due to the bad weather in Japan, the AJ6 committee decided to make teams based on the recommendations of the captains of the teams playing in Japan. Each captain was allowed to nominate two players from each of their teams and the author and Ravindra from IECC were nominated by its captain. The tournament was held on Oct 4 & 5, 2003 in one of the grounds in the Chiba prefecture, a drive of 15 mins from the Honda station.
Unlike previous tournaments where the foreign players formed teams of their own, this time the AJ6 committee mixed foreign players and Japanese players to form some teams to ensure that there was as close competition as possible for the trophy. There were 6 teams playing in the tournament, with 3 teams formed by a combination of Japanese and foreign players, known as Kanto A, B & C teams. The author ended up in the Kanto B team, while Ravindra Kuvalekar, the author’s team mate for the Indian Engineers, played for the Kanto C team.
The 6 teams were bifurcated into two leagues, Kanto B and Kanto C being put into different leagues. The teams in each league were to play other teams in the same league on day 1 and on day 2, the top team in each league would automatically qualify for the semi-finals on day 2. The second and third placed teams in the league would have to play the third and second placed teams of the other league to qualify for the semi-finals. Teams not making it to the semi-finals would have to play for the “Woody Spoon” match. By this, if results went the way the organizers predicted, every team would get to play 4 matches each.
Other than the accommodation for day 1 and the dinner for day 1 and lunch for day 2, the organizers had also arranged for a T-shirt for every player, with different colours for different teams. The tournament started with an exhibition 6-a-side match, played between two women teams, all players being Japanese. It is very exciting to see the enthusiasm among the Japanese players, both boys and girls alike. After the AJ6 weekend, the future of cricket in Japan looks really re-assuring.
I am not going to go too much into the results of the individual matches. This report is intented more to give an insight into the event rather than the individual matches. At the end of day 1, Kanto B and Kanto C teams topped their leagues by winning both their games and qualifying for the semis. The two players of the Indian Engineers were on course for a meeting in the finals.
On the evening of day 1, there was a reception party organized where all the players and the organizers had a party together and players from various parts of Japan updated to everybody, the progress of cricket in Japan and what the future holds for them. Personally, that was the best part of the AJ6 tournament and people who had decided to go back home and come back for the matches the next day, in my feeling, probably missed the theme of the tournament.
The results on day 2 (Knock out results) went as per the predictions and the higher placed teams in each of the leagues won and proceeded to the next rounds. Hence, all the teams got to play 4 matches each. Kanto B (my team) and Kanto C, as expected, moved into the finals of the tournament. This was no surprise since these two teams had the maximum component of non-Japanese players, 4 in Kanto B and 3 in Kanto C.
In the finals, Kanto C batted first and made a very respectable 67 from 5 overs, Ravi being the main contributor. In reply, Kanto B could make only 51 runs, resulting in losing by 16 runs. The AJ6 committee distributed certificates of merit to the finalists and winning medals to the winning team.
Overall, there were a lot of lessons that I personally learnt from this experience. Firstly and most importantly, cricket in Japan has a future, whether or not the non-Japanese players play a major part in its encouragement or not. Knowing this country, things will move a lot faster if it is taken forward by its nationals. Secondly, if not in bowling and batting, I learnt a lesson or two in fielding and running between the wickets from the Japanese, what with the Japanese being twice as athletic as compared to non-Japanese.
Hoping to play again in similar tournaments and contributing our bit to the development of cricket in this country.
Under strength Engineers lose to under strength Kytes
Pacific Cup is thrown wide open
|Kytes kicked off their 2003 Pacific Friendship Cup campaign with a surprisingly easy win over the Indian Engineers at the Abekawa Cricket Oval. Both teams were missing key players and the game was played in an easy, relaxed atmosphere in near perfect conditions.
The Captain won the toss for Kytes and, with only five players and the Grand Old Man at the ground by the scheduled start time, had no choice but to bat, Matt and Phil doing the honours. For Kytes, Matt was still playing with a heavily strapped ankle, Joel “The Pants” Chamberlain was playing his first game in two years since undergoing a knee operation and Jagdeep Shokar was up from Hamamatsu for his debut in Japan.
Birthday Boy Biju Paul started the bowling from the Ocean End for the Engineers but he and Ajey Kulkarni got no joy as Matt and Phil got their heads down and took the team to 64 without loss at drinks. Phil on the receiving end of some incredible generosity in the field early on, particularly one of the easiest dropped chances that your correspondent has ever seen, Biju being the suffering bowler. (Don’t worry, Santosh, I won’t mention any names!). The break proved unwelcome for Phil, as he was out LBW for 35, second ball back playing half-forward to Ashok. Matt then cut loose at one end as a succession of “batsmen” came and went at the other, nobody else getting into double figures. Matt eventually fell to Gijo Shivan, well caught at fine leg by Ashok off a skied pull. The Kytes’ makeshift tail folded in its usual fashion, going from 120-3 to 133 all out, though credit to Arthur, the Grand Old Man and Meredith (Phil’s wife) for getting out in the middle and having a go.
For the Engineers, Ajey bowled very tightly to finish with fine figures of 7-1-1-11, and Ashok (7-1-2-20) did a good job, bowling straight through at a time when the Kytes were looking to pick up the scoring. As for the fielding, well a bit of catching practice might be in order.
For Kytes, Phil was looking the more comfortable in the opening stand, so it was a surprise when he was first out. Matt’s 60 was the innings of the day however, and the eventual difference between the sides. The Captain, incidentally, managed his fourth duck in six innings on the Flicx pitch and now has a batting average of less than one on it.
Ashok Sharma and Anil Kumar opened for the Engineers but unfortunately Ashok can’t bat like he can bowl and he was quickly on his way, trapped in front in Matt’s first over. Phil meanwhile (who would like to point out that he doesn’t normally answer to “Babe” in a cricketing context) was doing what was asked of him at the Ocean End, sending down seven tight overs before resuming normal duty behind the stumps. Sylvester joined Anil in the middle and these two managed to take the sting out of the Kytes’ attack, but without making any significant inroads into the score. Kojak (Arbab Mohammad) replaced Matt at the Mountain End and bowled his best spell yet for the Kytes. The Captain decided to take him off after four overs, so as to save a few for the end, but Kojak persuaded him to let him have one more over. “I’ll get two wickets,” he said. And bugger me if he didn’t – craftily coming round the wicket to bowl Sylvester round his legs, then taking an easy return catch from Bikash Mohanty.
By this time, Pants had replaced Phil and was mixing things up at the Ocean End, and Pants it was who got the stubborn Anil, though not without a hint of controversy. Bowled by a high full toss, the question was, Should it have been a no-ball? The prevailing opinion was that if it hit the stumps, it can’t have been, and off went Anil.
With Anil out of the way, the Engineers pretty much folded: Biju fell to a spectacular caught and bowled by the Captain, Pants bowled another two less controversially, the Captain took a good running catch at mid-on to give Pants another, while the Captain bowled Ajay, who was basically the Engineers’ last hope. Arthur and Jagdeep came in at 10 and 11 for the Engineers and the Captain took the opportunity to try out some less obvious bowling options, giving the Grand Old Man, Tomohisa Ohishi (14 years old and playing his first cricket ever – and he bowled a maiden!) and Meredith an over each.
The innings ended somewhat poetically with the dismissal:
The Kytes, it has to be said, bowled extremely well, and Matt (4-2-1-7), Phil (7-1-0-20), Arbab (5-2-2-5), Pants (6-0-4-26) and the Captain (4-1-2-7) all deserve a biscuit. Collectively, that has to be the tightest line the team has bowled all year.
Apart from Silvester and Anil, the Engineers batted poorly and without aggression – only two batsmen made double figures, and there were 24 wides in their total of 72. Kytes leveled their season at won 3 lost 3, but a win in the Pacific Friendship Cup is scant consolation for impending relegation in the KCL.
Thanks to the Engineers for yet another enjoyable game, and for their help with rolling and laying the mat. Thanks also to Arthur and Tomo for fielding for both teams and a special word of appreciation for Phil’s all-round performance – how many other people have batted, bowled, kept wicket, scored and umpired in the same match.
Present Pacific Cup standings:
Engineers confirm their place in the JGC semi-final
..and throw Lalazar out of the tournament; help the Wombats into the semi-final
|The Indians were in scorching form on the 28th of September 2003 all around the globe. No matter which sport we talked about… Cricket, Hockey, Athletics or Football… We ruled the arena.
On the 28th the Indian Cricket team in Japan scorched Lalazar Sports right off the frying pan in Tokyo as the Indian national hockey team was getting ready to vanquish the Pakistani team in the Asia Cup finals on the same day. Such was the caliber shown by the Engineers at the Edogawa ground in all division of the sport.
A bit more of application of patience would have done good for the moral of the team in batting for the coming games, nevertheless this match report will not undermine the outstandingly fought match against the the Lalazar.
A win would cement the Engineers’ place in the semi-final of the 6 team Japan Gold Cup, and put the Lalzar out of contention. A loss would mean that the Lalazar would have to play the Tokyo Bay and a victory for them in that match would have placed the Engineers and the Wombats besides the Lalazar themselves with the same number of points(12 each). The Engineers would have qualified in any case, ahead of the Wombats on a superior Net Run Rate. So for the Lalazar, this was a very important match and did they play like one.
The match commenced at around 11:15 AM, a delay of 45 minutes caused due to the late arrival of the opponents, forcing the match to be played for 35 overs rather than the usual 40.
Our captain Biju Paul went on to win the toss and elected to bat on a not so hot day. The weather was perfect for some good swing bowling in the initial part of the day, which was to get hotter as time passed. Banking on our good bating lineup the captain’s decision seemed to be fair on all fronts and our star openers padded up to take strike. The pair of Sunil Viswanathan and Nari Ram rolled themselves out on to the field to a grand standing applause by the million odd supporters of the Engineers in ‘spirits’.
The initial target set by the captain to be anywhere closer to 175+ in 35 overs would have be a good match winning score. The opening bowlers did not trouble the batsmen at all and as the game progressed, the stage was gently set by Sunil and Nari for the final assault to be launched by the battery of all-rounders that the Engineers always boasted to have in their ranks. But as always, our calculations remained right only on paper and went a bit haywire on the turf. During the 8thover we lost the price wicket of Sunil. The score read 44 /1 in 8.2 overs which being the best partnership for us in this match. Our 2nd wicket fell when the score read 60 in the 13th over. We still were coasting along as per the initial plan of reaching 175+. Then the all too familiar situation of the team folding up unfolded as a fast forward video show. As if it was all predetermined, in the blink of an eye our score rested at 87/5 in 21 overs. All these occurred while Jagan Panda held on to one end while wicket tumbled constantly on the other.
Then the 6th wicket partnership of 36 runs in 6 overs came to our rescue. Seeing that spinners were in operation from both ends, captain shuffled the batting order a bit, sending the hard hitting Ashok Kumar ahead of this writer to join Jagan Panda at the crease. Ashok justified his captain’s faith in him by scoring a quick fire 19 and the duo put up a splendid performance. These 6 overs saw the field spreading out and the ball flying all over the field. The middle order stuck to its task yet again which has become a familiar sight of late.
As our team inched forward to the 35th over, the target score of 175+ was raised down to 150 mark. In the next couple of overs we saw the dismissal of Bobby Philips and Jagan in quick succession. Bobby was caught plumb before the wicket by a low turning delivery. Wickets tumbling all around and the elongated face of the team in the pavilion complimented each other and had the story written all over in BOLD. Will our team even make 150? Then once again our tail started wagging and this wag saw Santosh Ghadge hitting a powerful stroke with this ‘yet new’ Britannia bat putting the ball as close as a hairline to the ropes but he too fell very soon going for the slog as only two overs were left in the innings. Captain Biju stepped up the tempo and then came Vimal Vikrant who had nothing else but to swing his bat in the ultimate over of the match. Only if the tail was reversed as an experiment, maybe the head will start wagging again for the Engineers. The sun shining strong overhead saw the Engineers bowled out in the ultimate over for not so high but still a respectable score of 157 off 35 Overs. For the Lalazar, the best bowler was captain Aqeel Ahmed who returned with figures 4/32 off his 7 overs.
Think tanks of our team worked overtime to finalize on some kind of strategy to get the Lalazar! The game plan was to get a minimum of 6 wickets before the Lalazar comes to the golden figure of 100. Is that possible? Let’s go out into the field and find out.
Sunil donning the keeping gloves once again against the fleet of pacers in our team he crouches behind the stumps. Cheering our bowlers one after another we inched forward. Ashok and Nari opened the bowling for us. Nari, as usual, was spot on but the strange sight of Ashok bowling wide after wide left the captain a bit worried. He bowled with scorching pace but with a wayward line. Ashok then came back with a better line in his next over that showed its result. He had the Lalazar captain, who was time and again coming down the pitch to upset the rythm of bowler, plumb infront. We then saw some excellent bowling from Jagan too but the issue of giving away extras persisted and the Lalazar’s scoring was at brisk rate.
Lala’s read 56/1 in 10 overs (IECC 49/1 in 10 overs) and by 11th they were on 61/1. We had to get more wickets and contain them. That was when we found solace in the form of Vimal. His gentle medium pacers did us good. He was the man for us causing major damages for the Lalazar. His 2nd over scalped 2 vital wickets for the Indian team. We were back into business. Our fielders cheered there on as our captain made surgical fashion field placements. As a surprise 5th bowler, our captain, on recommendation of Sunil made a tactical move. He brought in Bobby to bowl his bag of camouflaged gentles on to the Lalazar who were still looking dangerous and were in the mood of running away with the match. The gamble paid off well and Bobby in his very 1st over took a vital wicket with a ball that kept low taking the batsman by surprise at ankle height. Vimal on one end and Bobby on the other made the batsmen buckle down systematically. Overs rolled on sooner in the session after drinks. Vimal went on to scalp 5 wickets proving yet again what an asset he is to the team while Bobby went on to take 2 wickets in his 3 overs. All this while, Santosh, who was patrolling the third man area, was raring to have a go at the batsmen but the captain stuck to his slow bowlers. With one more wicket to go, captain at last called him. Raring to show his actual potential, he bowled with a vengence and the batsman didn’t have an answer to his pace as he kept playing and missing. Santosh took the last wicket in the last ball of his 1st and the only over and returned with a bowling figure of 1-1-0-1. The Engineers won by 54 runs.
10 Engineers tie a thriller
Second match to be ended up in a tie with the same opponents
|A beautiful, clear and sunny day after a series of wet spell in Tokyo made its first impression. Also the Embassy team and our team arrived on time which enabled us to play a 40 overs game/side beginning just before 11:00 am. The Embassy captain Andrew King won the toss and elected to field. We played with 10 available players. Sunil Viswanathan and Vimal Vikrant opened the innings and had a good start of 32 runs in 5 overs before Vimal was out for 10. We lost a couple of quick wickets in a span of 5 overs for the addition of 13 runs before Bobby Philips and Vishwa Gohosh began to build a partnership. However Bobby was out for 14. In walked Bikash Mohanty with score 82/5 in 16 overs(Santosh Ghadge had to retire hurt during the course of his innings). Vishwa, after having survived a chance when he was dropped having scored around 20, went on a hitting spree slamming the bowlers all over the field. On the other hand, Bikash(17) played a supporting role, holding on the wicket at the other end and the pair went on to make an excellent partnership of 89 runs. Thanks to this pair, we managed to score a respectable 209 in 40 overs.
The British Embassy opened their innings on a cautious start. Vimal and Santosh opened the bowling for us and in the 3rd over we managed to find a breakthrough when Vimal had Daley caught for 18 with the score reading 33/1 in the 5th over. But the Embassy steadily went on to build their innings. On the other hand, we, having to play with 10 players and without our full strength bowlers had to rely on containment and let the batsmen commit mistakes. One change, Bibhas Roy and Ashok Sharma bowled well in their spell keeping the flow of runs to a minimum and at the end of 20 overs the match was evenly poised with the score reading 102/6. Bobby joined in the bowling and contributed by taking two wickets but not before Andrew King and Envall built a partnership of 49 for the 7th wicket. At the end of 35 overs the match began to get even tense with the score reading 173/7 still 37 runs required in 5 overs. We contributed many extras(a total of 57 runs) throughout the innings and at the end of 39 overs, the score read 205/9 still requiring 4 runs for a tie and 5 for a win with one wicket in hand. Bibhas bowled the last over. He gave 4 runs in his first 4 balls and took the wicket in his next ball to tie the game. A hotly contested game, with 80 overs bowled on a hot day brought about a favorable result to both teams. Neither deserved to lose this game.
This was a repetition of a friendly we played two years ago which also was tied. May be one more can be expected after another two years!
Yet another batting collapse, lower order answers S.O.S call
Victory boosts the Engineers’ semi-final chance
|The Engineers were playing their final KCL League match against YC&AC at YC&AC and going into the match, they knew very well that nothing but a victory would keep their hopes of a KCL semi-final alive. The setting was perfect for the match, the ground being in perfect condition inspite of a typhoon the previous day. The Engineers’ selectors were given a full run for their money when they had to pick up the playing eleven out of 18 players available for the match.
The Engineers won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which seemed to have a lot of runs. The YC&AC bowlers, however, had other ideas. The opening bowlers of YC&AC, Chaminda and Kamran did a very good job of restricting the Engineers and picking up crucial wickets. Prasad Pooppully and Sanjeeb Sahoo opened the batting for the Engineers and in the 2nd over, with hardly anything on the board Sanjeeb spooned a catch to Aseem at cover off Chaminda. Coming 1 down and also with a reputation of running either himself or his partners out, Viswa Ghosh further enhanced his record when he ran himself out for 7 after a mix-up, but not before unleashing a beautiful on-drive that hit the midwicket fence like a rocket. Engineers 20/2 after 4 overs. Bowling first change, Ramzan struck immediately when Prasad was declared LBW, the batsman feeling slightly unlucky. Engineers 33/3 after 7 overs. Mukesh Kumar was soon caught at mid-off for no score trying to force Chaminda off the back foot and Dinesh Singh was clean bowled by Chaminda immediately, both in the 8th over, with the score at 33. The Engineers had lost 3 wickets in the space of 6 deliveries.
The Engineers’ captain, Silvester Pereira and the man-in-form Bobby Philips got together and stringed a very decent partnership, hitting some boundaries and also running some good singles and twos. When the partnership had reached 43 runs off 11 overs, the leg spinner, Richard had Silvester stumped with the batsman on 18, the Engineers 78/6 after 20 overs. There was another good partnership between yours truly and Bobby, both batsman hitting some good shots but living dangerously. Bobby was dropped by Chaminda at long-on off Richard but was out next ball caught and bowled off Richard, the bowler hanging on to an uppish drive that was struck very well, Engineers 120/7 in the 28th over. The author also, was dropped at mid-off in the 27th over, but a rush of blood had him pull uppishly to Chandana at deep square-leg, who held on to the catch this time, off Shakir, Engineers 124/8 in the 29th over. Jagan was very well caught in short third-man by Sandeep, the fielder diving away to his left and Santosh was clean bowled for nought the very next delivery. The Engineers were bowled out for 124 in 28.5 overs, not utilizing the remaining 11 overs. Vimal Vikrant, the latest find of the Engineers was stranded without facing a delivery at the non-striker’s end. The Engineers suffered two collapses(three wickets each) at scores of 33 and 124, which cannot be afforded if they were to proceed to the next stages of the KCL.
The Engineers took to the field with the hunger to win to keep their hopes of a KCL semi-final alive and also knowing well that the last time they had bowled out the YC&AC for 67 runs in the previous encounter, earlier in the season. Sandeep and Aseem opened for the YC&AC but were strangled by tight opening spells by yours truly and Jagan Panda. By the 7th over, YC&AC had just managed to make 8 runs and the pressure had Sandeep on-drive the author uppishly to mid-on where Vimal held on to a nice low catch. The next set of bowlers, Dinesh and Vimal kept the pressure on and by the 14th over, Simon was clean bowled off a beauty by Dinesh for 5, the score 34/2. Dinesh struck next ball when Shakir was caught plumb in front, the score 34/3. At halfway stage, YC&AC had made 45 for 3, the match still hanging very much in the balance.
For YC&AC, Aseem was steady as a rock on-driving well. He and Kamran, the YC&AC skipper, were putting on a slow but threatening partnership. However, off-spinner Mukesh had Kamran miss a pull playing across in front of the stumps and was declared LBW, 53/4 in the 22nd over. The batsman feeling slightly unlucky this time too. Mukesh soon also had Aseem, the opener playing across the line at a good length delivery and was bowled through the gate. The YC&AC then lost wickets at regular intervals, primarily to Mukesh, who varied his pace and flight very well to induce the batsmen into false shots. Vimal exercised good control and varied his deliveries but went wicketless. The YC&AC were bundled out for 76 in the 33rd over, Mukesh taking 5 wickets for 10 runs.
In summary, Bobby again played a knock and with the support of a couple of players gave the bowlers a reasonable target to bowl at. The bowlers stuck to their jobs and achieved a satisfying victory. Now, let us keep our fingers crossed and hope we are in the semi-finals of the KCL, for the FIRST time.
The Engineers keep their KCL semi-final hopes alive
Record opening partnership sets up a huge victory
|What was a very crucial match to keep their hopes alive for a KCL semi-final berth, the Engineers won it hands down against the Adore. The match also saw a record opening partnership of 125 runs, which eclipsed the previous KCL record of 87 runs by Sajjad Hassan and Jahangeer Babar of Tokyo Giants against YC&AC last year.
The Engineers won the toss and elected to bat first with 35 overs a side due to a delayed start. Openers Sriram Samapth and Nari Ram went about their task relatively easily with Sriram playing more aggressively and Nari playing a second fiddle. Sriram, who continued his form from the last match against the Giants, hit an impressive 87(10×4, 4×6), which came off only 59 balls and his 50 took only 42 balls. Such was his dominance that by the time he passed his 50, Nari was only in his teens. The opening partnership was broken by S. Nakazawa in the 17th over when Sriram, who had set his eyes on a century, offered a simple return catch. The fall of his wicket triggered a mini collapse, which has become a characteristic of the Engineers of late, when another 4 wickets fell in the span of 8 overs and 26 runs, with Y. Shimada, who ultimately returned figures of 4/44, doing most of the damage.
In all fairness to the batsman, one down Viswa Ghosh was victim of a spectacular catch, when Yato ran from long off to deep mid-on and then threw himself in the air with an out stretched right hand and held on to the ball. An unbelievable catch, that was to get rid of a dangerous batsman. Well, one needs to make extraordinary efforts to achieve extraordinary results. Nari, who had narrowly escaped an easy run out chance early in his innings, was the third to fall. His supportive innings came to an end when he was clean bowled by Y. Shimada, thus breaking his record of dismissals by running himself out as an opener.
From then on, the Engineers didn’t capitalise the best foundation they ever had but that did not deter them from posting a healthy 229 runs, thanks to a quick fire 50 off 36 balls by Bobby Philips, which included five 4s and three towering 6s. A relative new comer, Bobby made use of the two early lives he had and seems to be at his best when batting with his captain as the pair put on 29 runs for the 8th wicket, the second best partnership of the innings, off only 18 deliveries. The other significant partnerships were between vice captain Silvester Pereira who, in the company of Bobby put on 19 runs for the 6th wicket and 28 runs for the 7th wicket between Bobby and Santosh Ghadge. Bobby’s entertaining innings came to an end – in his own words, sacrificed his wicket for the benefit of the team – when he was clean bowled by S. Nakazawa, going for a wild pull when only two deliveries were left in the innings. The Adore, on the other hand, displayed tremendous courage and character in containing the Engineers when a total in excess of 250 runs were in order after the openers went rampage.
The Adore started their innings disastrously when T. Ito was clean bowled for naught in the second over by a beauty by Nari. But captain T. Takita(33) in the company of number three S. Yamazaki(27) put on 85 runs for the 2nd wicket to resurrect the innings. Both the batsmen played some attractive shots all around the wicket. The partnership was broken when a slow bowler in the form of Vimal Vikrant was introduced. He quickly destroyed the Adore momentum by scalping 4 wickets in 3 overs. Seeing Adore struggling against a slow bowler, stand-in ‘keeper Bikash Mohanty was introduced from the other end. He claimed his maiden wicket in his second over and added one more to his tally in the very next over, which was a wicket maiden. The pick of the bowler was Vimal who returned a rich haul of 5/34. Although Adore looked like getting all out with a margin of more than 100 runs when the slow bowlers in operation, it was not to be. An entertaining innings of 35(1×4, 4×6) off only 26 deliveries by Nakazawa gave some cheer to the Adore camp and made sure that the margin of loss brought down to below 100. His hits over the rope were clean hits, not a slog by any means. Well done Nakazawa! Although he tried his best to conceal it, Bobby kept his appointment with destiny and had a mild muscle pull as discovered by a pair of roving eyes. Well, things are improving – from major pulls that used to halt matches to mild ones that go unnoticed by many!
The Engineers lose their first KCL match
Tokyo Giants continue their victory march
|One could not have asked for a better setting than the one we had on Sunday, July 27. Though the weather was slightly on the hot and sultry side the sky showed no signs of rain, which was a blessing since we have had ALL our previous KCL encounters washed out.
We were taken by the Giants captain Mumtaz & Co. to a baseball ground near Ageo. Set in the midst of woods and paddy fields this was perfect setting for leather to meet the willow. True to baseball standards the ground had no grass. The outfield was fast and soft making it a pleasure to do some running around, which this writer did chasing the leather to the boundary line more often than not.
Thanks, Mumtaz, for introducing us to this wonderful setting.
Our captain, Silvester Pereira lost the toss and we went in to field. Dinesh’s first over cost more than 12 runs! The same happened to Nari at the other end. Evidently, both our bowlers had never bowled on a Flicx pitch. However, after this initial onslaught our bowlers settled into better line and length and soon, in the 4th over Nari achieved a breakthrough and again in the 6th over had the other opener plumb in front! That made it two down for 50. Tauseef and Rana put together a good partnership for the 3rd wicket before the former fell to a good catch by Prasad at Cover-Point off Ajey – 15th over 3 for 108. Three quick wickets made it six down for 135 in the 18th over and we looked all set to get the Giants out cheaply on a field that looked full of runs.
But Mumtaz and Zaheer had other plans. After the drinks break they set about repairing the Giants innings taking the initiative away from us. The Giants finally folded up for 256 in 35.1 overs. Zaheer(47), falling at 230, failed to get to what would have been a well made 50. On the fielding side, both Mukesh and Nari returned rich hauls of 4 wickets each for 66 and 40 runs respectively.
IECC started with a bang, with Sanjeeb hitting the new ball almost over the fence. Having got 9 runs off the first over Sanjeeb went for more and holed out to Long Off. A sad end to a promising inning and IECC was one down for 16 in the 2nd over. Mukesh (6) lived dangerously and did not stay long enough to trouble the bowlers – IECC 2 for 39 in the 6th over. In walked Sri, and with Prasad playing second fiddle put on a decent partnership taking the score to 88 when the latter fell trying to hoist one over deep mid-wicket. Like a true aya-ram, gaya-ram in walked the writer of this report and was soon run out after a mix up in the middle – which has become second nature to him. From a healthy 88 for 3 in 14 overs the Engineers crashed to 119 for 6 in the 21st over. Sriram, who had stood amongst the ruins like Casabianca was caught plumb by a Tauseef-delivery that came in with the arm and maintained ankle-height after pitching!
A bit of a digression . . .
We, who have not had much practice on this kind of pitch, need to learn the tricks of the Flicx pitch trade from Tauseef. Lesson for the batsman: everyone who played for the spin was beaten or bowled or caught plumb in front. Lesson for the bowler: bowl wide off the crease, pitch the ball just outside the Off making it come in with the delivery angle.
To return to the narration, with Sri’s departure it seemed all over bar shouting. Silvester had other designs. He replaced Sri as our second Casabianca, and with Jagan put up a partnership of 66 runs to take the score to 189 when Jagan fell tamely to Mumtaz after a great knock that promised to fetch us victory. Bibhas ran one with bat held high in the air and was run out. Ajey tried some lusty hitting but could not last long. The Engineers after many fits and starts folded up for 207 and lost a match, that surely should have been won, by 49 runs. Silvester, playing a captain’s knock remained not out with 44 to his credit.
Outstanding bowling performance for the Giants was provided by Hamid and Tauseef – with 2 for 21 off 6 overs and 3 for 39 off 8 overs respectively.
Great match, but a lost opportunity for IECC to earn 4 points!
The Wombats strike back
Match went ahead despite the intervention of rain and Edogawa Ward ground-keepers
|It seems that every time you think about cricket it rains these days, and it was a wet and muddy field that greeted the players. Wombat captain Jarrad’s new broom was put to use removing puddles from around the pitch, and the two teams joined together in that unique Koiwa’s ritual: Collecting and laying grass. Slippery and wet, the pitch was ready, and soon the Wombats were at the crease.
New wombat Daniel proved a good, aggressive partner for the solid Dinosaur (Jarrad), and despite the slow outfield, the openers moved on at 3 an over, before Daniel was run out for 16 with the score on 36. Ian joined Jarrad at the crease, and seemed content to slowly build a partnership, until at 49, just short of drinks, he played a rash shot to Ashok Sharma(got me again!) and was caught, giving his 10th victim of the season. Rain and wickets soon started to fall, although the runs continued. Edogawa-ku grounds men almost succeeded in stopping play, but thanks to some tactful diplomatic talking from Biju’s boys, it was agreed we could play until 3 p.m. Brief but valuable contributions came from Robb ‘Warne’, Jim Spacey, Crockie Dave, and John. Jarrad was finally removed for 43, run out after being slow to respond to a call from vice captain Chuck. In the 33rd over, rain forced the players from the field, but not before the grounds men stopped by a few more times requesting to stop the play again.
With the score on 112, Jarrad declared the innings and a quick lunch was taken. For the Engineers, Ashok Kumar and Vimal Vikrant finished with 2 wickets each but good fielding from the Indians resulted in 4 run-outs.
The Indian reply began poorly. Perhaps as punishment for his poor shot, regular new-baller Ian was banished to ‘The Hill’, a move which paid off with 2 wickets in 2 overs. Opening bat Prasad Pooppully skied an edge to mid-on where David wrapped his crocodile hands around the ball. Ashok Sharmal tried to turn ball from John down leg-side, but the ball hit his leg, then his toe, before tickling the stumps. Wombat luck continued when a full toss slipped out of Robb’s hand and removed 2 down Bibhas Roy bowled. To the Indians credit, they fought back well. Contributions of from one down Bikash Mohanty(19), Silvester Pereira(13) with a partnership of 33 runs, another 13 runs partnership by Biju and Sanjeeb for the 6th wicket, 14 runs partnership by Vimal and Ravi for the 8th wicket brought the Engineers to within striking distance of victory. With the score on 84, the game was in the balance, when the mud caught Ravi backing up too far, and he slipped and was run out, and the Indians were 9 down.
The unfamiliar sight of Ashok Kumar coming in at number 11 – Biju later revealed that they had reversed the batting order expecting the grounds men to come back to stop the game at 3 and had decided to give their tail a hit – reminded the Wombats that there was still work to do, and only a few runs to defend. Alas Indians, this is Koiwa, not Bollywood, and Ashok could not save the day. He fell to a good low catch by Robb at mid-off, and the Wombats held on to win by 20 runs.
Thanks from all the Wombats to The Engineers for agreeing to play a practice game at short notice. We all enjoyed the day and hope to beat you in an official match soon.
The Engineers’ tail wags against the Pakistan Eaglets
Victory earns a berth in the JGC semi-final
|The Engineers played their first match after a gap of 5 weeks and two washed out matches, to earn a berth in the Japan Gold Cup semi-final by defeating the Pakistan Eaglets by a margin of 48 runs. A disciplined bowling well supported by almost faultless fielding, barring a couple of dropped catches, saw the Engineers through after the tail end batsmen helped post a respectable 155 runs in the allotted 39 overs.
In fact, it was the all too familiar story once again for the Engineers, which has characterised their innings over the years. After Mughees Ahmed, the Eaglets’ captain, lost the toss, this writer chose to bat first fearing rain any time of the day. The cloudy and overcast conditions, however, did not help the Eaglets much, but the umpire and the batsmen themselves did. Amir opened the bowling for the Eaglets with a 30 yard run-up and with Anil Kumble’s pace and grip of the ball, while at the other end Waqar sent down an expensive first over which cost his team 12 runs. Waqar then bowled a maiden over to limit the damage to his bowling figures but the Engineers still maintained a 5 runs-per-over rate. The steady opening partnership was broken when Mukesh Kumar, playing well forward was declared leg before wicket, which provoked even an Eaglets supporter, watching the game from sidelines, to pass some remarks about the quality of the decision. The next over saw the other opener run out, going for a tight run after pushing the ball to mid-on. A close decision indeed, but declared run out with the umpire standing far behind the wickets, not in line with the crease.
From there on, the Engineers themselves helped their opponents to such an extend that they slumped to 38/4 in 10 overs and then to 7/89 in 21 overs. Although Dinesh Singh, who was well set and was batting with authority by this time, put up small partnerships with Ashok Kumar and Santosh Ghadge, the batsman threw away his wicket, when the need of the hour was to stay calm and play a real Test match innings. Instead, Dinesh decided that enough is enough and stepped out to hit pace man Zulfikhar into the river but succeeded only in helping the bowler with his second wicket, for which the batsman got some tongue-lashing from an enraged captain. With plenty of overs still left, new comer Vimal Vikrant was promoted with captain demoting himself, hoping to stem the rot. Vimal showed some maturity but was out caught and bowled off Manzoor, who started off accurately but gave away runs later.
Enter Bobby Philips. A man who was itching to play some balls with his new MRF bat(a la Sachin Tendulkar). With enough overs left for his bat to enjoy some good contact with the ball, Bobby kept nudging the balls here and there for cheeky singles and 2’s. Just as this writer, standing at the other end, started wondering as to how long more can he play without pulling his muscle, the inevitable happened. Bobby pulled both his calf muscles at the same time to keep his record of muscle pull in every match intact. But that didn’t deter the batsmen to put on some 49 runs for the 9th wicket which was broken only when just 3 balls left in the innings with Bobby going for a 3rd run. Two more runs were added in the next three balls to take the total to 155, something which was unthinkable at one stage of the innings.
Armed with a respectable total to defend, the Engineers took to the field after a 15 minutes lunch break. In the last ball of the first over itself, Ashok Kumar broke through the defense of opener Mansoor to provide the first breakthrough. 2 runs later, Akthar , the other opener, who was swinging his bat like there is no tomorrow skied a ball from Nari Ram but was dropped. Disappointed as his captain was but not losing his heart, Nari clean bowled the batsman in the next ball. Captain Mughees in the company of Ajmal(15) then set about repairing the damage and the pair took the score to 46 before the first bowling change was introduced. Dinesh Singh clean bowled Ajmal in his 2nd over and his next 4 overs produced 3 more wickets at the cost of a mere 14 runs. Just as another partnership was building between Mughees and 4 down Niazi(20), Bobbly held on to flick by Mughees off Dinesh at the leg slip position to dismiss the captain for 21. It was such an excellent catch that the wicket was credited to the fielder but was later taken away and credited back to the bowler when the same fielder dropped a more straight forward one at the same position. From there on, there was not much resistance from the Eaglets and the wickets fell at fairly regular intervals to be all out for 107 runs in 29.3 overs.
With this victory, the Engineers, who are the defending champions of the Japan Gold Cup, have secured their place in the semi-finals.
The Lions roared and the Engineers trembled
Kumara sets up an excellent victory for the Lions
|The Engineers 4 match winning streak come to an end when they lost to the Sri Lankan Lions by 90 runs in a Japan Gold Cup match being played at Edogawa. Chasing 216 to win, the Engineers were well placed after 20 overs with 3 wickets down for 90 runs, the same score as that of the Lions at the same stage. However, a batting collapse engineered by Sujit Dharmasena, who claimed 5 victims, saw the 7 batsmen walking back to the pavilion in the span of 6 overs for the addition of only 35 runs. It was the second defeat of the season for the Engineers who have been enjoying a run of four consecutive victories until then.Manura Neomal and Mahen Fernando kept the Engineers under check in their opening spell of 6 overs each and the Engineers were 39/2 when the Lions captain Indika decided to replace his fast bowlers with slow bowlers. Viswa Ghosh and Dinesh Singh were trying to repair the early damages caused by the opening bowlers and the introduction of spin from both ends helped their cause. The duo had put up 46 runs for the 3rd wicket when Dinesh was run out at the non-strikers end by a direct throw from square leg. That brought in Sriram Sampath who promptly dispatched the first ball he faced to the rope. The two then put another 27 runs for the 4th wicket but the partnership was broken by Sujit who had Sriram caught inches inside the square leg boundary, to claim the first of his five victims. The Engineers were 97/4 in the 22nd over. From then on, there was steady flow of batsmen coming in and going out of the crease and the flow ended when this writer got out as the last man, an embarrassing one that was. After advising his partner to play out the remaining overs and not to go for strokes, he did exactly the opposite in the very next delivery! Everyone knew what to do but no one actually did it. Only Viswa survived the onslaught of the Lions to score a magnificent 44(2×4).
Earlier, the Lions won the toss and elected to bat first on a perfect day for cricket. The ground was all done much before the start time, even before the Engineers had arrived at the ground, with the crease and the boundaries marked, stumps in place and cones topping the white boundary marks, a hallmark of the Lions over the years.
Although the Engineers broke the opening partnership in the 6th over, the Lions built good partnerships at intervals on their way to 215. Opener Sanjaya(54) and one down batsman Kumara(70) put up a partnership of 63 runs for the 2nd wicket but was broken when Sanjaya offered a simple return catch to Dinesh. Then Dharmasena helped Kumara to put up 74 runs 4th wicket but Ganesh Tajave broke that partnership when he clean bowled Dharmasena for 23. The diminutive Kumara was circumspect when he started, but was belligerent after the drinks break. A six off Jagan Panda over cover showed his class but the bowler had the last laugh when he clean bowled the batsman in his next over. Kumara scored his 70 off 93 deliveries that contained five 4s and a 6.
Narayanan Ram was the most successful bowler for the Engineers with figures of 3/19 off 4.3 overs, his last two victims were in the 40th over when Sriram, standing upto the wicket, stumped the batsmen out.
YC & AC tamed
Engineers record their 4th consecutive victory
|An expected tough encounter turned out to be a tame and one-sided affair. That is the summary of the match. With the way they thumped the Kytes just the previous Sunday, the Engineers had expected a tougher contest from the YC&AC, with Mark Ferris, Kamran Ali and Michael Lay in their ranks. But it was not to be.Due to the heavy rain the previous day, the match had a delayed start at 12:00 noon. The team meeting before the match saw a bit of a debate as to what to do if the toss went our way. While the captain preferred bowling first due to the wet ground and unusually thick grass, quite a few others disagreed with him. But with the vice-captain’s support, yours truly went out to toss the coin having decided to bowl first if the coin fell on the right side. And the coin did fall on the right side – for his opposite number, sparing this writer of making a decision. As is a kind of norm these days, Kamran Ali expectedly decided to bat first.
Ashok Kumar and Dinesh Singh bowled the opening overs very tight conceding only 3 runs in the first two overs. Dinesh heralded a collapse when D. Silva got an inside edge onto his off stump in the fourth over. In the sixth over, Dinesh struck again catching Shakir Siddiq, the other opener, plumb in front of the wicket. 2 wickets down for 8 runs in the sixth over is not exactly a situation any captain would relish, but Kamran stoutly defended some of Ashok’s express deliveries only to be clean bowled in the last ball of his fourth over. Santosh Ghadge, who was a bit of a surprise this year with his unusually neat line and length, bowled 3 dot balls to Mark Ferris but he is not the one to be pinned down easily. In his typical style Mark deposited the next one, not a bad delivery actually, over the cover boundary for the maximum. But the bowler laughed last. In a typical fast bowler’s comeback, the very next delivery was a beauty which pitched on the off stump and moved in a bit, resetting the batsman’s off stump. The next batsman came and went. The very next delivery was the same, so was the result. Paul Blamir denied a hat-trick for Santosh, who ended the over with figures 1-0-6-2.
Paul and Tony Fordyce started a re-building process which saw the highest partnership of the innings but the introduction of Jagan Panda saw that partnership was broken when Tony edged a catch to short third man. From then on, it was matter of time before the YC&AC were bowled out for 67. Only Tony and number ten Richer crossed double figures, having scored 11 runs each.
The Engineers didn’t have good start either. Opener Sanjeeb Sahoo was played on in the 3rd over to Ashraf, which brought in Viswa Ghosh, who dispatched the sixth ball he faced to the square third man fence for the first boundary of the innings. Ashok Kumar, who was sent in as a pinch hitter – to the displeasure of the vice-captain, who was eyeing that role – was doing his job at the other end at the same time. He kept wielding his bat, missing at times but successful whenever the bat hit the ball. His innings of 16 contained four 4s. The innings came to a close when Viswa launched a Kamran slow turner into the long on fence for a six when only 5 runs were required to seal the fourth consecutive victory of the Engineers this season.
Engineers set their eyes on Pacific Cup
Takes the first match of the triangular
|A beautiful and sunny day for an outing but the Engineers and the British Embassy decided to play the first match of the Pacific Cup. Having won the previous two editions of the tournament, we set out to keep a firm grip on the Cup.
The match was reduced to 35 overs per side due to the late arrival of some of the opposition members, having lost their way to the ground! Andrew King of the Embassy won the toss(because I lost!!) and elected to bat first. Nari Ram and Santosh Ghadge opened the bowling for us followed by Ajey Kulkarni. Nari bowled a nice first spell taking two early wickets which included a beauty to remove danger man Kinnimont for naught. He was well supported by Ajey, whose quick reflexes earned him the wicket of the other opener Envall, caught and bowled. BECC was already in trouble at the end of seven overs with the score reading 10 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. First change Jagan Panda bowled well and was supported by Ganesh Tajave and Ashok Sharma on the other end. Our fielding was great which included some good catches. Only two of the Embassy players Sunil Deshpande(25 not out) and Davis(18) managed to stay at the wicket which helped their team avoid an embarrassing total.
Sunil Viswanathan(35 not out) and Sanjeeb Sahoo(35) opened for IECC and got off to an excellent start. They survived some close calls early on but the Embassy didn’t help themselves by dropping nearly half-a-dozen catches. The pair went on to score a winning partnership of 79. A fairly convincing victory at the end of the day made possible due overall team effort in all departments of the game. We are on a winning drive at the moment and hope it stays like this forever!!
Engineers register their second consecutive victory of the season
Wombat’s misery continues
|A cloudy and rainy Friday marred the uncertainty of the game. The pitch was wet, outfield was soggy and the sun was not to be seen for days. However after some ground work, it was decided to play under difficult conditions and the match was reduced to 35 overs due to late start. We won the toss and elected to bat. Prasad Pooppully and Bibhas Roy opened the innings and got off to a reasonably good start playing the initial overs cautiously before Bibhas was lbw for 3 which brought in Vishwa Ghosh. With the outfield being slow, boundaries were hard to come by but the duo put up 51 runs for the second wicket before Prasad was run out for a well made 34. With only a few overs left in the innings, Ashok Kumar was sent in as the pinch hitter. Although he hit the first boundary of the innings he did not make any big difference as he was clean bowled for 6 going for the slog . That brought in the stylish Sriram Sampath to the crease. He played some good shots but was out for 22 with the score reading 106/4 in 25.3 overs. The rest of the batsmen got out quickly trying to accelerate the innings with only Vishwa holding out to the other end before he was the ninth batsmen out for a well made 43. The tail folded quickly and we managed to score just 130 All out in 32.5 overs after being in a very comfortable position until midway.
A reasonable target to defend though 150 or more would have been much better. But given the playing conditions, it was quite difficult to score. Ashok Kumar and Biju Paul opened the bowling for us. Ashok bowled a tight line in his first spell. The Australian openers Jarrad and Chuck played quite well scoring 39 for no loss in the first 15 overs before Jarrad was out lbw to Ganesh Tajave for 11. Chuck continued to play sensibly and along with one-drop batsmen James they took the score to 65 in 25 overs before James was run out. Our bowling was tight especially with first change bowlers Ganesh and Jagan. They kept it tight, didn’t give too may runs in extras and this put pressure on the Australia batsmen as the asking rate went up to 6.5 runs per over with half the runs( total) yet to be scored. Ashok Sharma, who also joined in the bowling, played a very crucial role in taking 3 wickets as the batsmen went on a hitting spree due to the increasing asking rate. The fielding was tight, entire team was focused and motivated, cutting the singles and making the batsmen work hard their runs. The Australian tail couldn’t keep pace with the asking rate and at the end of 35 overs, they could manage only 110 runs for the loss of 9 wickets. With this, the Wombats have lost three straight games of this tournament and they will have to win their remaining games to be in contention for the Cup.
We won the match, though not very convincingly, because of the team effort, went through some anxious moments with both teams having a chance to win right through the end of the game. I think our approach, seriously and focus won us the game and hope we can continue our winning habit throughout this year.