Month: July 2006

Engineers find their groove against the second string Kytes

..and post their first win of the season

By Parthasarathy Misra

     The Indian Engineers, as far as I heard, had been doing very well in the last season. A collection of competent players, will to improve and never-say-die attitude had earned good reputation for the team and had set a standard. But, this year, 2006, has something else in store for the team. Something they probably were not very much acquainted with. Seven losses in a row since the season has begun indicated something is not in place.

     Lack of practice, unavailability of the regular players, failure of big guns in need, inability of young players to take the pressure and defeat after defeat had lowered the team’s moral and confidence. All they needed was a big victory. At last the day came. 30th July, 2006. The team traveled 180 km south to Shzuoka, to play against the Shizuoka Kytes 2nd Eleven. The two teams have a long history of friendship between them and the Engineers always enjoyed playing the Kytes. They get along very well, like old friends and play competitive cricket, even the old man chipping in with his bit of cricket. When we arrived, the ground looked in a very good condition, with freshly cut grass around a 30 yard circle. A smooth outfield indicated the ball will roll faster. Players of both teams joined hands to put the mat out and made necessary arrangements for the match to start. Engineers captain Bobby won the toss and elected to bat first. Winning toss has become his breakfast nowadays. The openers played very carefully and denied any early break through for Kytes. Tomlinson bowled couple of very good overs and produced some chances, but the keeper and the slip cordon couldn’t give enough support to him to do justice to his bowling. At last, in the 9th over Partha parted trying to play a pull shot against Lalith Prelis,  the score reading 65 runs, the best opening partnership of the Engineers this season. Ritesh replaced Partha and started displaying his armory. He drove and cut Sharpy with ease despite Sharpy’s pace and swing.

     The team was ecstatic to see his array of shots. Bikash was jubilant and was very quick to admire his shots. His comment on an off drive from Ritesh, sent the team rolling on the floor laughing, when he uttered “classic cover drive” to himself, where as the ball went to long-off boundary. Finally,  Ritesh got out trying to defend Sharpy delivery, against the flow of his game. He had scored a quick fire 30 off 21 balls and set the pace for the things to come. Sriram, joined Vimal in the middle. At this moment Kytes captain Prelis introduced RGM in the attack to add some variety into his bowling lineup. Everybody was surprised and particularly Biju, seeing his old buddy taking the ball and giving it air and loop. Sriram facing  RGM… “It is going to rain sixes..” was the comment heard in the pavilion. Apparently, Sriram overheard it and tried to live up to the expectation by dancing down to RGM only to see that the old man deceived him in the air and the ‘keeper did the rest. This dismissal probably denied the KCL a record of 400+ runs and the Kytes might have heaved a sigh of relief. This brought in Nissar into the crease. Vimal started unwinding his range of shots and was scoring with ease. He started reaching the rope every now and then with his elegant cuts, drives and pulls. Nissar gave him very good support. They put on 60 runs on the board before Nissar was bowled by the one and only Nick Shannon.

     This gave skipper Bobby an opportunity to come out and join Vimal and show his much vaunted batting skills. Bobby played the first ball carefully but was adjudged LBW the next ball. Apparently disappointed, captain raised his bat, indicating that the ball took the edge before hitting his pad. But, the finger was already raised without paying attention to his claims. He looked at  the umpire in amazement for a minute and started walking towards the pavilion shaking his head and shoulders and murmuring something (can not be mentioned). Bikash was also given LBW in the same over. Quite an eventful over and the Kytes were restring the Engineers going berserk. Jagan joined Vimal after this dramatic over. Jagan also didn’t last long. He was caught by Sharpy at the boundary of Prelis. Sangan joined Vimal. This pair produced the best partnership of the match with 81 runs added in just 10 overs.  Vimal completed this maiden century during this partnership, and received applause from his teammates as well as from his opponents. They started hitting the ball harder in the slog overs and helped a healthy partnership of 81 runs. Sangan finally fell to Sharpy having 32 runs against his name in just 21 balls. Biju joined Vimal for last few overs. Vimal completed his 150 and hit a four on the last ball of the inning helping the team total to 327. He remained not out at 154. “It is a defendable score”, said Biju.

     As usual, the match against the Kytes is incomplete without a generous lunch provided by Kytes, a time honoured tradition of the Kytes. Lots of bread, bananas, apples and oranges served for lunch. Wow! The target for Kytes was 327 in 40 overs, which gave some of the Engineers a hope that the captain will call them in for bowling. Skipper Bobby was very much confident about the much desired victory. He made it clear to his team that he would like to win the match in style. Bikash wanted to wrap up the match before 5 pm so that he could beat the notorious Tomei traffic. Bobby, gave the new ball to Nissar. Sharpy and Liley opened for Kytes. Sharpy made his intentions clear by going for big hits right from the beginning. Liley gave him good support by rotating the strike. Nissar and Vimal bowled well initially but went wicketless. Bobby then introduced Ritesh and Jagan. Jagan obliged his captain’s trust upon him producing the first break through. Liley was given LBW. Tomlinsion joined Sharpy to take the attack to the enemy camp. They started hitting the ball everywhere and Sharpy was more aggressive.  But, a stunning catch by Jagan of Sangan sealed Tomlinson’s inning. Biju was brought into attack and he took the most valuable wicket of Sharpy. He was caught at the long off boundary by Sangan on 51. He played a very good and aggressive inning. His dismissal effectively ended any hope for Kytes for a successful chase. Kytes inning was wrapped up quickly thereafter. Bobby, Partha, Vimal, Nissar and Vinod claimed one wicket each. Their inning wrapped up at 130.

     I just looked at the clock tower when the last wicket fell. It was one minute to 5 pm and I thought myself, everything went right, even the timing!! Does it indicate the losing days are gone??!! There were couple of things that should be noted. We batted very well; bowling and fielding were also good. But, we bowled too many wides again. But this time we won and so some facts are overlooked. There is ample space for improvement in bowling and fielding. After the match, Engineers and Kytes went for a small post match drinking. Kytes had arranged plenty of beer and food for everybody. Players from both the teams shared their best moments and highlights. I am personally thankful to Bobby, not listening to the public demand for skipping the gathering and going home. Only a minority wanted to go drinking but things don’t always go democratic :-).

    Everybody told their match highlight and Bobby’s dismissal was on the most popular topic in the post match discussion. It was a great day, playing with old friends, small things in the field that added spices to the match, a very scenic place, well maintained ground and warmth of friendship with Kytes and of course for a change the feeling being in the winning side made my day!!

Brief scores: IECC 327/8. V Vikrant 154*, R Kakar 30, S Kalgi 32 Kytes 130(22.3 ov). M Sharpe 51. Scorecard

YC&AC ensures their place in D-I 2007

YC&AC ensures their place in D-I 2007

Engineers go down fighting

By Vimal Vikrant

     It was a do or die situation for the Engineers to have a chance to qualify for the semis of the KCL but it was not to be as the Engineers went down, all guns… or at least a few, blazing, to the YCAC. The Engineers captain Bobby won the toss and, as is becoming his habit, elected to bat first. Yours truly opened with Partha Misra with me facing the well known allrounder of the YCAC, Mark Ferris. He took a couple of overs to find his radar and we got a few easy runs on the board. Partha took strike on the other side and in comes Shakir, with his offbreaks(?). Let me let you into a little secret.

     Partha does not like spin bowling and hence was ready for the openers slot. And the irony of the situation brought a little smile to my lips. Anyway Partha negotiated him allright. It was me who fell to Shakir, failing to keep the flick down and the strategically placed Abdul Rahim taking his first catch of the day. Engineers new-find Ritesh Kakar walked in but Partha soon walked out with a strange dismissal, clean bowled by Kamran Ali stretching forward a long way, only to find that the ball was an offcutter. was the bowler. Sriram walked in next and looked in decent touch in the couple of shots that he played. But he tried one shot too many and the ball ballooned to short covers for Abdul Rahim to take his second catch, much simpler than the first one. Another partnership nipped in the bud.

     Nissar walked in next, back from a long lay-off. He looked slightly rusty initially but was soon got into his stride, striking the ball well. One pull off Mark was especially pleasing to watch, as it sailed to the square leg boundary down into the tennis courht for a six. It was hardly short, but well picked up. Ritesh fell meanwhile, trying to have a go at the bowling of Kamran, but only managed to york himself and found his furniture disturbed. Sanjeeb Sahoo walked in at an unfamiliar position in the batting order. It seemed to work for him as he managed to top-score for the engineers with 22, though it was not as fluent as some of his innings that I’ve witnessed. Nissar fell to a soft dismissal trying again to pull a ball too many only to manage a top edge. Santosh practically committed suicide by calling for a quick single but Sanjeeb sent him back. After this it was a series of soft dismissals as the Engineers failed to last their 40 overs, folding up for 142. The Engineers have defended smaller totals against the YC&AC and it needed a good bowling performance to hope for a repeat. Things started off badly though, with Partha having a horror start to his spell with 7 wides in his first over. Nissar was more steady on the other side but could not make any breakthrough. Ritesh replaced Partha and produced immediate result, having trapped Abdul Rahim LBW with an incutter. Raju came in from the other end replacing Nissar and Kamran tried to go hard at him, got an edge and I stuck out my hands at slip to find the ball nestling in them. This is my first memory of a catch in the slips by anybody off a fast/medium bowler in all my time playing for the Engineers. Well, cricket is a strange game:) Anyway 58/2 and things were still pretty much in the balance, but Avinash and Rasith (Razz) Leelas had a long partnership which put the game firmly in YCAC’s grip. The bowlers failed to make much of an impression and there were a couple of dropped catches which did not help matters at all. But after reaching 41, Avinash tried an across the line hoick of yours truly’s dibbly dobblies but played too early and found his stumps disturbed. Prashant Kale, the next batsmen in had scored a century against us in our previous friendly game against the YC&AC, so he was pretty much seen as a threat, but one of my floaters caught him stranded in no man’s land off the second ball he faced and again the stumps were rattled. 116/2 to 116/4 in 3 balls. Engineers smelt something.

    Ritesh came in from the other end and kept the line and length pretty tight and was rewarded with young Ankit’s wicket, bowled. I got Rasitha, again bowled of a floater for 24. Paul Blamire, the keeper was bowled by a super yorker from Nissar. YC&AC at 134/7 and not much batting left, it was anybody’s game at this point. But the experience of Mark Ferris made a big difference as he kept out the good balls and ticked off the score with singles rather than big hits and the YC&AC reached their target in the 34th over with the 3 wickets still standing. In the final analysis, the Engineers looked like a team for the first time this season with all the fighting qualities coming to the fore, but it was just not enough at the end.

Brief scores: IECC 142 (36.3 ov). S Sahoo 22. Kamran Ali 4/27, A Rakyan 3/19 YC&AC 143/7 (33.4 ov). A Jadhav 41. V Vikrant 3/26. Scorecard

Al Karam steamrolls the Engineers | Scorecard (July 9, 2006)

Engineers make it 6 in a row while Al Karam reserves a berth in D-I next year

By Jude Joseph

     The day dawned gloomy with more than 80% chance of rain. There was a doubt whether the match would ultimately take place. But as optimistic as ever Indian Engineers proceeded to Gunma. As usual things were sorted out and the match was reduced to 25 overs a side and got underway at 11.00AM. Captain Bobby won the toss and elected to bat which turned out to be a good decision considering the below points, Al- karam was short of players with just 8 fielders on the field and if the match had washed out , it would have provided the much needed batting practice to out of form Engineers.

   Captain came up with a new batting line up to utilise the 25 overs efficiently, regular opener Vimal Vikrant opened the innings with the newcomer Ritesh Kakar. Ritesh playing as an opener for the first time impressed one and all with his technique and temperament. Both of them started cautiously. Against run of play Vimal went for a big heave (which he later blamed on the skipper instigating him from the square leg umpire’s position) and got bowled with the score of 21/1. This paved the way for our batting sensation Sriram Sampath to the crease, after taking few deliveries to get settled, Sriram beautifully launched into Al-karam bowling attack. At the other end, Ritesh who was playing well by taking singles and twos promised to produce a good total with their partnership. As things were going well for Engineers, everyone thought that the time has come to accelerate the run rate further. Ritesh tried to oblige and produced a few good shots. In one such attempt, Ritesh tried to clear the long off fielder against their most successful opening bowler Manzoor Ahmad (5/12 in 5 overs) but the ball went straight to him. Engineers lost the second wicket at the score of 93/2 in the 16th over.

    This gave a chance to a debutant Udayaraj to show his batting skills, but unluckily he was adjudged LBW without disturbing the scorers. Next came Sanjeeb Sahoo, the situation was a tailor made for him to go for big shots. He played sensibly as at the other end Sriram was batting with ease but all of a  sudden situation turned bad as the runs were difficult to come by and Engineers started losing wickets regularly and ended up 146/7 in the allotted 25 overs, which was a good score as far as the Engineers were concerned, considering their past performances this season. But considering the situation at the end of 15 overs , 90 odd runs for the loss of 1 wicket, Engineers should have scored more than 7 or 8 runs in their last 10 overs which would have taken the score to 160 to 170 runs (but even that would not have made any difference to the result, as we will come to know WHY from the below). Most successful bowler for Al-karam was their opening bowler, Manzoor Ahmad, who dismissed Engineer’s top 3 batsmen and was most economical(5-0-12-3).

     In his first spell , Manzoor took the wicket of Vimal and in his last over, took the wickets of Ritesh and Udayaraj. As everyone knows it is easy to do a post match analysis and also no ifs and buts in Cricket but still it should be a learning experience for the coming matches and we should be aware of these situations. Ritesh went for a big shot against the most successful bowler who was in his last over, If we had played his last over without losing a wicket by playing singles and twos, things might have worked out better in the remaining overs with the partnerships of Sriram and Ritesh. According to our captain, Al-Karam was very happy with the score as they were confident of chasing down this target(skipper overheard their conversation, which must have terrified him!). At the same time, Engineers had their hope as they thought run making would be difficult with the heavy and wet outfield, courtesy slight drizzle. The Engineers opened their bowling attack with Sangan Kalgi and Vimal Vikrant but before the bowlers got settled down, Al-Karam took the bowlers apart and runs started flowing in 4s and 6s. Captain in no time went for the change and brought Ritesh into attack.

     Ritesh obliged captain’s call and produced a straight incoming delivery which rearranged the woods of the opener. It was a vital breakthrough as that batsman was scoring at will. The Engineers hoped that would provide some breathing space but it was not to be, The new batsman was more dangerous than the dismissed one. Their captain went for a powerful airy shot , ball went straight to Udayaraj stationed at short midwicket , but the ball popped out of his hand with the same speed as it came in. From then on there was no stopping of Al-Karam. Captain tried all his tricks by giving chance to each and every bowler but all received the same treatment. At the end, Al-karam reached the target with extraordinary ease with 8 wickets in hand and more than 10 overs to spare in a 25 overs match. This shows the strength of hard hitting Al-Karam batsmen. Final score 149/2 in 14.3 overs and in that only one over was bowled without giving a single 4 and less than 6 runs.

     This shows that our bowlers lacked in consistency in bowling line and length. It is easier said than done but this can be improved only by sheer practice in the nets. If we look at the positives from this match, Ritesh batted well and Sriram showed that he is in good touch even after a long break. Lessons – Bowlers should bowl consistently well , 2 very good balls and 4 HIT ME balls in an over will not do any good to the team. Instead 6 straight, line and length ,good balls will be great. Fielders need to improve their catching and fielding. Half chances should be converted to win matches, all the fielders in the deep should be able to judge well and time the jump to perfection to catch few six going balls within the rope. As I said earlier its easier said than done, but practice makes perfect. In conclusion, Al-Karam played really well and Engineers was a no match on that day.

Brief scores: IECC 146/6 (25 ov). S Sampath 58, R Kakar 38 Al Karam (149/2) (14.3 ov). Adris 50, Haneef Niazi 51. Scorecard

Engineers tick off KCL 2006 with a dismal display with bat and ball

Engineers tick off KCL 2006 with a dismal display with bat and ball–Can’t bat, can’t bowl..

By Bobby Philips

     The outing of Indian Engineers on July 2nd can not be termed as the crescendo of their all time best dismal performance but they can surely stick it right amongst the top bracket ever. The match indeed started off a week in advance with the call in for members to provide their availability. Unfortunately the hands raised were lesser than what a team could play a limited over match. Nevertheless with few personal requests, Engineers could provide a team for the 1st fixture. The members put forward were low in experience in KCL standards but surely a team buildup for future of IECC. A drive through Kanetsu was blessed with few erratic showers and gloomy skies. As always(!) our team reached the ground by 10:15 AM and was greeted by ourselves. Gunma XI trickled in slowly. Due to overnight shower and the length of the grass, it was decided that the match would be played from one side only.

     It was decided that match would commence at 11:00 and a total of 40 overs per side would be played. Bobby walked in with umpire and Gunma captain Zaheer Ahmed for the morning rituals. Team had decided to elect for fielding had we won the toss. Promptly Bobby lost the toss and he was graced with his desire. Gunma chose to bat. We missed on the ploy as Gunma had only 7 members at that moment. As the match proceeded they could get 2 more players. The Engineers  took to the grounds at sharp 11 after a short speech by the captain to pep up the players. The cherry was handed over to Partha and Raju to get the act going. The idea was to give some chin music to the openers but unfortunately we gave away too many extras in the form of wides. Within 4 overs and more than 25 runs on board, both opening pairs were changed and Sangan along with Vimal was given the charge of bringing back the game into the Engineers’  control. Wickets started tumbling but Sangan too went in the same direction as Partha and Raju. More wides than required and a six and four of his bowling made the captain to switch bowlers immediately.

     Vimal and Sanjeeb bowled very well to get the run rate from 8 an over to around 5. Before drinks there was one more change attempted and Biju along with Ritesh was brought in to do the honors. Ritesh bowled with great accuracy while Biju tried his best to do justice. It would have been better at this stage to get Partha in for a second spell but the captain being new to this whole stuff lost the ploy a bit. Drinks were taken after 20 overs and that saw change in keeper. Yours truly donned the gloves for the next 16 overs when he decided that he too must take a swipe at the rampaging batsman. It backfired and the captain was hit for 13 runs in an over. In between all of this, the heavens exploded on us and the red cherry took the form of a hard sponge making it sticky in the palms. The game continued and the Engineers were looking for some kind of divine intervention. Like the heavens exploded, the runs off the bat of Ishafiq Ahmed too exploded. It has been said that the next day he was supposed to fly to Pakistan. The question asked amongst the Engineers were why didn’t he fly out oa day earlier? Ishafiq went on to score 120 runs with sixes and fours raining at will all around the ground. Applause must go to the batsman who played to his potential and maturity and the Engineers acknowledged the commendable display of batting while he was running out of partners. The highlight of the game while Indians fielded was a stunning one-handed catch taken by Bikash stretching low and diving towards his right, fielding at  cover.  

     Even now we wonder if it was the same Bikash who was collecting nothing behind the stumps while he kept in first half of the session. Lunch was taken with the score reading 252 to win for the Indians. As you see below nothing much happened during that period so shall try to keep it short and sweet. Captain tried to do a left / right combination for opening slot but the ploy failed to click with Sangan back in dressing room. Next was Ritesh to be in the middle with Vimal who was playing in superb style. The run rate shot high but wickets tumbled one after other. Playing over the ball was the norm of the day and shattering the stumps was the script deceived by the gentle pace bowlers. The sky was as bright as it could get making Indians wonder where did the rains go all of a sudden. By midway mark, the Engineers were looking down the barrel of the gun and the talk changed from “how to win” to “let’s get some valuable practice for next match”. Well, that too didn’t work out as Biju holed off a gentle catch to the cover region. Engineers prepared to go back home after a super display of bowling, batting, fielding and above all CAPTAINCY :-). Tucked between the legs were our tails and we drove back with pride with score board reading.

Brief scores: Gunma Eleven Star: 251 (39.2 ov). Ishafiq Ahmed, 120; Zaheer Khan, 36; Sanjeeb Sahoo, 4/20

                      IECC: 90 (26.4 ov). Zaheer Ahmed, 5/23. Scorecard