Month: May 2007

Engineers roll over the Kytes

Old hat spearheads the chase

By Silvester Pereira

     Another beautiful weather ensured a full day’s play for the Engineers playing their first KCL match. Kyte’s skipper Sharpe won the toss on their home turf an elected to bat – BTW, Engineer’s mantra this year is chasing. Lalith and Ryan opened the innings for the Kytes while Ritesh and Anurag opened the bowling for the Engineers. The Kytes lost their first wicket when first change Sangan clean bowled Lalit for 4 with the score reading XXX-1. One down Harvey didn’t last long, trying a big hit and was caught beautifully at deep mid wicket by Raju off the bowling of Vimal for 5 with score reading XXX-2 in YYY overs. In walked the skipper looking as confident as ever and decided to stabilize the innings. He played very sensibly in the first few overs, taking singles and building a good partnership with Ryan, who on the other end provided good support to his captain. With score reading 1XX- X, Anurag produced a superb delivery tempting Sharpe on the front foot who was unable to make bat on ball and loosing his stumps. It was an important wicket as Sharpe had been going for the kill knocking off fours and even sixes all over the place. At the end of 25 overs, the Kytes had gradually built up their innings.

     Maber and Tomilson carried on from where Sharpe left, taking singles, smacking loose balls to the boundary and put up a good partnership to take Kytes to a respectable score of 197 all out. Through out the innings, the fielding by the Engineers was very good except for some bowling which we gave many extras and at the same time had 7 Kytes batsmen bowled.and two run-outs. Given the strength of the engineers, 197 runs is an achievable target on this ground. During the break, Sanjeeb had a hard time working with the batting order before he zeroed in on Vimal and Vishwa to open the innings. Opening the bowling Sharpe, known for his sharp, accurate bowling did his best to find the breakthrough. However Vimal and Vishwa batted very sensibly, taking singles, smacking lose balls all over the fence and a good understanding in running between the wickets. The first runs on the board was a beautiful six at square leg by Vishwa on a delivery which was up and rising. The pair put on a good first wicket partnership of 5XX before Vimal, Ritesh joined in and along with Vishwa, the two batsmen went on the attack producing a match winning partnership of YYY. Vishwa showed off his experience, hitting all bowlers Shizuoka had on hand and frustrating the opponents with every boundary. Ritesh provided excellent support, scoring runs at every opportunity, had a life when he was dropped by Sharpe in the same over by Tomlin, mis-timed and gave another catch to Sharpe, at cover who made no mistake this time.

     Bobby, who joined Vishwa, chipped in 12 runs before being bowled by Steward. Vishwa, on the other hand kept on going and it appeared, as if, he would last until the final run is scored. However, an excellent catch at first slip by Ryan of the bowling of Suresh brought an end to a beautiful innings of 82 scored by our “very young at heart”, dependable and master craftsman Vishwa. Sanjeeb and Nissar played out the remaining runs to a well deserved victory for the engineers, who were never in trouble, always on top, confidant looking boosted with a fresh blood of all-rounders. This team has potential if we can be consistent to produce the same level of cricket in the upcoming games.

Brief scores: S Kytes 197 (40 ov). M Sharpe 45 IECC 198/4 (28 ov).  V Ghosh 82

Wombats give the Engineers a good work out

Engineers crumble…. again

By Jagan Panda

     It was raining steadily by the time we got to the Kanetsu expressway and were getting prepared for a U-turn, but for the assurance of local expert Zaheer that it is all clear and sunny in Gunma we kept heading for the ground. Indeed the weather cleared up beaconing a good day of cricket.Sanjeeb won the toss and relying on the recent record of the Engineers chasing good scores after putting the opposition in, chose to do the same – asking the depleted Wombats to bat (Ritesh, it’s not just you). Ajey and Anurag opened the bowling and their disciplined bowling saw the Wombats crawling to 26 after 10 overs. The opening bowlers beat the bat quite often but somehow the breakthrough didn’t happen.

     The Wombats openers managed to just hang in there accumulating dot balls. The first change bowler Jagan started with a disastrous over as the wides keep flowing down the leg. The epic over lasted for 18 balls (is that an IECC record?) with the 8th ball bowled being the first legal delivery. Sanjeeb replaced Anurag and brought sanity to the proceedings. The captain’s faith in Jagan paid off as he got rid of Wombats opener Jones. This breakthrough brought a flurry of wickets as Wombats slumped to 56/4. At the half-way mark, Wombats were 64/4 and there wasn’t a single boundary scored. The favourable position allowed the captain to bring some more bowling changes and Santosh was called up to his own surprise. Suddenly Dawson broke the shackles with few boundaries off Santosh. Soon Ajey was brought back and produced immediate results. He got through opener Mortimer’s expansive drive. The 5th wicket partnership brought Wombats back into the game.

     After that wickets kept falling and Wombats were all out for 156. Opener Mortimer did well to held one end for 30 overs and Dawson helped himself to a brisk half-century. After successfully chasing 266 in the previous match 157 seemed a reasonable target but the ground conditions were very different and some big hitters were missing too . Sylvester and Amol opened the inning for the Engineers and Wombats opted for the pace/spin combination. On the very second ball Sylvester played on a yorker. First down batsmen Santosh and Amol hung in for sometime until Santosh hesitantly pushed a flighted one into the hands of short covers. Amol’s resistance ended when he nicked one behind. After 10 overs the Engineers were 30/3 with steady Sanjeeb and swashbuckling Bobby at the crease. Lots of hope left… or so we thought. The weather after holding up well so far, gave up to strong winds and thunderstorm. Everybody took a forced break in their cars. The weather cleared up a while later and play resumed. But Booby came back soon, praising how good the ball was, as he edged a rising delivery behind.

     At 33/4, Engineers were desperately looking for partnership to stay in the game. New batsman Anurag and Sanjeeb just did that. Sanjeeb got boundaries going over the top few times and Anurag kept accumulating steadily. At the time of drinks after 25th over, Engineers needed 67 in 15 overs with 6 wickets in hand. Soon after the drinks, Anurag was bowled missing a straight one. The partnership was worth 64 runs and gave Engineers a chance. Sanjeeb left soon trying to hit a full toss out of the ground but found the man at deep midwicket. Bikash, Jagan and Ajey gave some hope but failed in reaching the target. Engineers were finally all out for 136 when last man Zaheer was bowled, falling short by 20 runs. With 4 overs left, the outcome could have been different had the Engineers batted till the end. None other than Sanjeeb and Anurag, managed to get to double figures.

     Overall, it was a good game with fluctuating fortunes. With KCL games lined up from now, the Engineers should be looking forward to bowling performances (of course, sans few things) like this.

Brief scores: Wombats 156(38 ov). R Dawson 50, J Panda 4/35, S Sahoo 3/19 IECC 136 (35 ov). S Sahoo 35.

Nagoya boys no match for the Engineers

Engineers prove to be good chasers!

By Ritesh Kakar

     Fantastic summer’s day as we trooped off to Shizoka. Shizoka looked pretty, small ground laid with lush green grass cut to fine length by the venerable, grand old man with a synthetic turf pitch in the middle. The cars parked in shade which looked to be a ball magnet (Bobby was a bit nervous and did everything to hide his car). Our very own Biju won the toss (again) and had to do some hard convincing act to impress upon the team for the need to field first and how it will benefit the team in the upcoming KCL. Captain had his way and asked the Nagoya boys to bat first (not sure why he elects to field every time when I am around).

     Engineers got the first break through when the score was at 11 with me dismantling the stumps of AJ stewart with a seaming in cutter. Things were steady after that as the batters chose not to touch the bouncing ball, whenever they did, it got the edge and went in for runs with couple of possible chances missed in the slips (“one was a bit too high and the other one was a way too low”, said Santosh). Bowling chang worked and Mahesh got us the wicket of steady looking Kiyani, the opener, found the gloves of bobby, the keeper, while trying to sweep Mahesh (work on your pace dude). On the other end Nissar kept the pace going and got 2 vital wickets with catches going to Biju and Viswa(a fine running catch). Sanjeeb also chipped in as he cleaned the Nagoya’s captain. Nissar also made Lalit’s off stumps fly in air. If everything looked bowler friendly, you might wonder where all the runs came from. Well, it was essentially a team effort in conceding the extras (scored 70 odd) with byes going away for 4’s (uneven bounce, strayed line). But credit must be given to Hussain (nick named Gavasker by me) who scored 71 in 4s and 6s with Nagoya scoring 110 in the last 9 overs. A few words exchanged as well among the Engineers in panic. (disciplinary committee might want to have a look). Nagoya were at 155 after 31 overs when the 5th wicket fell and the Engineers were expecting a total of 190 or thereabout after 40 overs.

     The 6th wicket fell at 167 in the 33rd over and things were ok until that point. But what happened after that was mayhem. Hussain, the new batsman, who claimed he was playing real cricket after a small gap of 17 years, hit the ball all around the park and in no time reached 50. By the time the last ball was bowled, he was 71 not out and and the Engineers were left with a total of 265 to score. Did the captain’s plans go awry? Goshhhhh! what about the buttery hands? We dropped 8 catches and helped some to even go for six. Jagan, Ritesh (“yaar hawa bahut tez hai”), Viswa, Santosh (“ek upar tha aur ek neechey”), Bobby (“it’s mine”) and Biju topped the list. Jagan took two well judged catches only find that he was out side the rope when took them. So, with the target set to 266 in 40 overs the Engineers were somewhat happy as they were sensing some batting practice for everybody(part of captain’s plan?). Nissar and promising new comer and Amol went out to chase but Amol didn’t live up to the expectation of his captain, perishing to the very first ball of the innings(c&b off Aatish), giving the Engineers a disastrous start.  Disastrous or over cautious starts, middle order collapse, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, making innocuous bowling look extremely dangerous – the Engineers are not new to these situations. In walked Bobby, who had a rough patch only last year when he was the captain (pressure of captaincy?). His partnership with Nissar for the 2nd wicket (effectively the opening partnership) lasted for 18 overs yielding 136 runs mostly dominated by Nissar with thumping lofted drives, meanest cuts and some of the bloodiest pulls.

     Nissar scored his 50 off 36 deliveries. Bobby (34 off 45 balls) hung in well and produced some over the top on the on side strokes but got ambitious and found his stumps disturbed. Vice captain Sanjeeb joined the party and looked “Azhar” to me as he produced some wristy boundaries but fell in just after their partnership crossed the 50 mark. Sanjeeb scored a quickfire 22 off 16 balls. He was caught and bowled by Afridi but there was nothing to worry as Viswa and company were still there. With still 80 odd to get I went in next and held the ground with Nissar who was in the 90s at that time. He completed his century with an on drive for a single and was appreciated by everybody including the opponents. His century came off only 75 balls. Our partnership (75 odd) had taken us to a stroke away from victory and I asked Nissar to score the winning runs and gave him strike with only 2 to get in 5 overs. To everybody’s surprise, he tried an ambitious pull to Aksar with the ball keeping low marking the end of an innings to remember. He ended up with 124(10×4, 6×6). New (old) man Viswa walked in with only 2 runs to get but gave simple return catch to the bowler, who dived to his front, in the 2nd ball he faced. Comical scenes followed in the dressing room. With victory all but assured everyone had started changing to the their own normal clothes some still in undies and no one was prepared to go out next.

      All of a sudden there is commotion and uncertainty as to who will go next, Santosh offering to go without any protection and in slippers but the one who went out was Silvester, who, half way through to the wicket remembered he had forgotten to protect his most important person. In the end Silvester guided the ball he faced to gully for the required 2 runs. Over all it was the good batting that won us the match (in desperate need of a fielding coach) led by the hostile Nissar. Nagoya will strike back with more venom as half of their bowling battery wasn’t there and the Engineers will try to hold the ground in the next encounter (KCL match). On the way back, Bobby bettered his own record of 2 hours to Shizuoka in the morning by 30 minutes and drove us back (safely, that is!) in 1.5 hours flat, thanks to the unusually near empty Tomei.

Brief scores: Nagoya 265/8. Tariq 64, Hussain 71, N Ahmed 3/56 IECC 266/5 (35.4 ov). N Ahmed 126, B Philips 34, R Kakar 39*