Make-shift Engineers prove too much for the Kytes
New stars appear on the horizon
|It is always difficult to gather a squad of 11 around this time of the year and the IECC president knew it and rightly started availability checking 2 weeks in advance. Despite all the effort, only 3 of the regular Engineers were available on the final day. However, thanks to some irregular members and some volunteers from other teams and Biju’s organizing expertise, the president finally managed to gather a full squad. In the absence of captain, vice-captain and asst. v-c, Bikash Mohanty was appointed as the captain for this match.
None would have thought at this point that this team could beat the mighty Shizouka team, who are just 1 game away from becoming the champions of the Davison 2. Only this writer and the captain were optimistic considering the average weight and age of the team, which was at lest 10kgs and 2 years lesser than usual.
The team arrived in time at the ground and warmed themselves up by rolling the pitch and putting down the mat. Luckily Bikash won the toss and elected to bat first. Himanshu and Prashanth started the batting cautiously. Sharpe and File started the bowling attack for the Kytes. They bowled with accuracy and pace and made scoring a difficult task. In the 7th over Prasanth failed to connect to a good length delivery from File and the wood work got re-arranged. Only recognized batsman Sanjeeb walked in and immediately it was apparent that he is in good nick. But few balls later he attempted a half hearted drive off a File delivery which took the inside edge and the leg stump was uprooted. Santosh walked in with instruction to hang in there as long as possible. He did just that, occasionally hitting some spectacular boundaries, but was judged LBW of Lalit while on 16. Talk from unconfirmed sources say that Santosh dropped Jude Joseph(the umpire at that time), in front of a truck, on the expressway while heading back to Tokyo.
New addition Ryan walked in and the run rate graph immediately started moving upward. Anything which can be hit, disappeared out of the ground. Himanshu, who has been batting patiently at the other end till now, also started opening the face of the bat and the runs started flowing in. Sensing danger, Neil came in to bowl and immediately had Himanshu LBW. Himanshu was on 40 at that time. Second new addition David Davies walked in; it was a good move by the captain as David is known for his patience which always frustrates the opposition. David did not disappoint the captain and batted sensibly, rotating the strike. Ryan at the other end was not deterred at all by anything, and kept on scoring boundaries at will. It took a gem of ball from Subodh to finally get him out. Ryan had scored 42 of just 32 balls at that time.
In walked Bikash to face Nick. Nick bowled one of his you-miss-I-hit balls and Bikash was caught in two mind whether to hit or not. Any other day Bikash would have hit it for a boundary but it was Nick’s day on that day as would be apparent later. Bikash swung his bat hard but the ball seemed to have more liking for his stump. Engineers in deep trouble and in danger of getting all out for a small score. Jude Joseph, the new man in , played every ball with a straight bat, like an opener that surprised everybody. Both David and Jude played sensibly and kept the score moving steadily. In the 45th over David got out attempting to accelerate the run rate, bowled by Subodh. Robert and Raju got out LBW in consecutive balls from Sharpe. Jude got bowled by Sobudh the very next over. The Engineers all out for 186 from 37.4 overs.
After a short lunch break Kytes started the chase with Sharpe and Lalith opening the innings. Raju started the bowling attack for the Engineers. Guess who started the attack from the other end. The one and only Santosh! Raju bowled with pace and bounce, but nothing mattered for Sharpe. The faster the ball came the faster it disappeared into the fence. Santosh on the other end was bowling spin with accuracy and almost without any wides. Raju got his line and length back from his 3rd over onwards and started bowled some real good deliveries, but the wickets did not come the Engineers’ way. By 10th over the Kytes were rocking at 71, around 7 per over. Sanjeeb was brought in to provide a break. He obliged by having Sharpe in his second over. The fall of Sharpe started pushing the run rate downwards. In his 4th over Sanjeeb claimed his 2nd victim – Lalith. David claimed the next 2 wickets and the Kytes were feeling the pressure now.
In-form batsman Subodh walked in and started toying with the bowling. Sanjeeb tried to get him out by putting more fielders on the offside but Subodh could not be drawn into the plot. He finished his quota without any more success. Ryan was given the ball and after few overs produced a wicket. Bikash at the other end had Neil out for 15. That brought Nick in. He immediately started with a six over mid- wicket. He seemed to be possessed and only started talking in 4s and 6s. After lot of discussion, Raju was brought back to the attack and he responded with a unplayable delivery which just kissed Subodh’s bat, Prasanth did well to collect it behind the stumps. Any other umpire would have missed it(I am sure it would if it was Lalith) but it did not miss Sharpe’s sharp eyes. Subodh had to walk. Shoaib came in and 4 balls later found his off stump moved back at least by 5 meters by a genuine fast ball from Raju. The Engineers at this stage thought that they have won as the last batsman was Martineau and Raju had 3 more balls left of that over. But to everybody’s surprise Martineu successfully survived 3 shinkansen deliveries from Raju. Full credit to him!
The Kytes required only 14 runs at that stage for a victory. The danger man Nick was on strike. After considerable discussion Santosh was given the ball. First ball – Nick hit it over long on for a SIX. Everybody in the ground was shocked. 2nd ball , this was a replica of the the earlier ball, Nick swung hard but it was probably for the light or the spin which Santosh generated; the blade completely missed the ball – a sweet clicking sound – all Engineers on the field went rushing to Santosh and congratulated him. Great scene, Santosh’s dream finally being realized! And the Engineers won the match by 8 runs.
In summary, this was probably the tensest game the Engineers played this season. Everybody really tried hard to contribute to the victory. Some outstanding jobs done are outlined below…. Steady and solid batting by Himanshu, Santosh and David.. Explosive batting by Ryan.. Fiery bowling spells from Raju.. Lightning fielding from everybody specially Duck, Robert and Josheph.. Controlled bowling from David, Bikash and Santosh.. Thoughtful, aggressive bowling by yours truly.. Great work behind the stumps by Prasanth and Biksah.. Timely changes and innovative captaincy from Bikash..