Category: 2000

Engineers lift the first Pacific Cup

Sriram’s 74 seals the match and series

By Manish “Ghost” Jain

     On Friday morning, the Chief Engineer(captain, that is) received an anonymous courier. No prices for guessing it right. It was the Pacific Cup for the winner of the final match between the Shizuoka Kytes and the IECC, to be played on Sunday, Nov 26th. The brave Engineers had levelled the series winning the previous encounter with the help of a sick man!(read sick, not sic!) On Friday evening, a very annoying thought struck the captain and this ghost (journalist, that is!). What if it rains as the weathermen predicted? The only comforting fact was that when the weathermen predict rains on Sunday evenings, they usually happen late Sunday nights.

     The rains were soon forgotten as a small contingent of the IECC members (including the Captain and this particular ghost), assembled in ASS’s apartment to soon forget the impending match in a pool of some excellent concoctions(by the way, ASS stands for Aditya Shankar Srivastava, not what you thought). Elsewhere, not very far from the decisive grounds in Shizuoka, in a nice little bar, plans were being hatched to destroy the IECC blitzkrieg. (Remember, the ghost who also writes?) It was decided that before dawn at around 4am, elaborate preparations would be made to drug the Engineers. Robert had specifically recruited his girlfriend for this aforementioned conspiracy. A small quantity of Bhang (an Indian poppy-seed drug) was added to the portion of food to be served to the Indian team. On Sunday, on a glorious morning, captain, Biju Paul, drove the Engineers (some of them had to sit-out, including the Ghost, as the team was over-subscribed!) to Shizuoka covering 180 km. in 1.5 hours.

      Have you ever wondered how the 10-seater van carries 11 Engineers and wives of one or two of them sometimes? The day was ever-so beautiful, sunny and warm. The Engineers basked in the sunlight. Perfect day for cricket. The Kytes, dressed so-smartly in their whites, like always, greeted the familiar Engineers, in the true spirit of the game. The coin was tossed. Biju won and wisely decided to bat first on a newly rolled pitch. The Engineers were missing the hero of the previous encounter (the sickman, Balu!), but instead, they had Sriram, the perennial worry for Kytes, back in the team after a long engaging vacation in India. It is not a surprise that in every match report to date involving the IECC, there is a brief, yet Godly mention of this man. True to his status he produced a thundering(pun unintended) knock. A magnificent 74(6×4, 4×6). The only time he was kept away from the strike was when Dinesh Tashidar, a newcomer, took to the crease. Their partnership of 27 runs was mainly constituted by Dinesh’s quick fire 24 of 13 balls (2×4, 2×6). Sachin again came up with a cameo of 34 runs. Sriram, who seemed to be all set for a century, lost his wicket to an attempted sweep of Raja Akthar, the top edge carrying the ball to the comfortable hands of the square leg fielder. After that loss, the Engineers’ wickets tumbled frequently but amassed a very defendable 208 runs!(incidentally, this was the highest score of the Engineers this season, and second best in their history, the first being 220 made against the YC & AC while chasing a target of 240+, two years ago.)

     The most interesting part of the Shizuoka trip is the lunch. The veteran Engineers familiar with Robert’s 4 a.m wake-up call, felt that the curry looked and tasted different. Q. Wonder why? A. Wonder drug! After the lunch session, Biju decided to put a brake to the Kytes score machine, even before they hit the accelerator. Bang, Bang, Bang! 3 wickets fell in his 3 consecutive overs from Biju! With this feat, Biju, proved to be indispensable for the Engineers in more ways than one (yes, he drives too! No, not with the bat though, but with the wheel instead). He ended with bowling figures of 4 for 16 (his best!), a miracle, he promises will take a long time for him to repeat! Opener Harrison was caught at mid-off in the first over and in his second, one down Raja was caught in the second slip off a lovely outswinger that found a thick outside edge of his blade.

     The third and the best of the 4 wickets was probably when he bowled an inswinging yorker(probably unintentional!) which sent a stunned Todd Philip’s middle stump cart-wheeling. This ghost believes that Biju had probably applied cream to his fingers, as the ball seemed to have slipped off his fingers. Anybody got that on a handy-cam? And while the Kytes were still groping for the accelerator, another career best performance from Shankar sealed first ever Pacific Cup for Engineers. 4 for 9 off 3 overs, a figure that would put even Shane(Warne) to shame. In fact, he was on a hat-trick in his second over in which he snapped up two batsmen with his 5th and 6th deliveries(isn’t that astonishing? Actually, isn’t that logical?) His gentle teasers were too much for the Kytes to decipher. Bruce Harris, who was whacking the balls at will, provided the only resistance to the bowling attack. The worst hit was Rahul, who ended up with 2-0-30-0 (ironically, he was the most economical of the Engineers’ bowlers this season!). Anton McCloy, umpiring at that time after his stint at the crease remarked, “I wish he were bowling to me like this”(ghosts can hear it all!).

      One more uneconomical bowler was Santosh, who seemed to have bought wide-angle lenses recently. Good news is that, his wide-angle lenses are getting a little bit narrower with every match. But the catcher in the eye, was the diminutive spinner, Ashok Sharma. He bowled a particularly economical spell conceding only 10 runs off 4 overs, to the chant of Sharma-ji sharmana nahin (Mr. Sharma, don’t be shy). On the way back to Tokyo, after a couple of drinks in the van, the truth came out. Sonali Bendre was the inspiration behind the perspiration!. The result? The Kytes managed to muster only 92 runs. For the records, this was the biggest margin by which the Engineers triumphed upon any side.

Brief Scores(35 overs):
IECC: 208 all out in 32.2 overs(Sriram 74, Sachin 34)
Kytes: 92 all out in 21.1 overs(Biju 4/16, Shankar 4/9)

Pacific Cup Series tied at 1-1

Sick man helps Engineers to square the Pacific Cup series

Series tied at 1-1. Final to be played on Nov. 26

By Biju Paul

A sedate start from the Engineers did not deter them from amassing 167 runs off the allotted 30 overs, thanks to some lusty hitting by Balu, who was ordered out of his sick bed at 11 p.m. of the night before the match by the one and only Rajkumar. At 10 p.m., the night before the match when Prasad pulled himself out of the squad owing to his eye check up, yours truly had no one to turn to but Raj. And Raj never disappoints anyone, particularly when it comes to cricket. He called up Balu, who was originally not in the squad, and asked him to come to play. Balu had no option but to obey! It all started with this writer winning the toss and promptly electing to bat first on a beautiful autumn day. In fact, the Kytes were happy when they found out that Sriram was not playing. Under clear instructions, the openers started extra cautiously thereby preserving their wickets until the end of 10 overs but scoring only 20 runs. Clearly, the intention was to see off the opening bowlers, especially Todd Phillips who bamboozled us in the last encounter, which was the Kanto Cup-cum-Pacific Cup match, and then take on the less troublesome support bowlers. Of the Kytes bowlers, Anton was the only one who could generate some pace out of the tricky pitch. But once Anton finished his quota of 6 overs in a single spell, there was no one who really troubled the Engineers. First change Harrison removed both the openers in his successive overs. Sunil was brilliantly caught and bowled diving forward. Sunil went for the drive of a full length delivery unmindful of the fact that the ball pitched on one of the soft spots. The pitch was such that the ball lost its speed after pitching on certain spots. In his next over, Harrison pitched one on the off stump. Raj promptly moved in position for a push on the onside but the ball didn’t bounce as much as he expected and missed it. It would have been a travesty of justice had this correspondent not, acting as the umpire, raised the index finger to an vociferous appeal. The smile on Harrison’s face said it all. He knew that he got Raj plumb. Engineers 42/2 in 13 overs. But that changed the whole situation. Two down Balu must have relished the day out more than lying down on his sick bed. He came. He saw the pitch. He saw the bowlers. He conquered. A swashbuckling innings of 43 off 25 balls(2 x 4, 4 x 6) was the result. Shankar came in at the fall of Balu’s wicket but the long interval of no cricket showed its impact on him. As he admitted it himself, he was struggling to come to terms with the bowling. Instructions were passed to the batsmen at the end of 20 overs to speed up but while trying to do that Shankar got out stumped off Raja Akthar by the grand daddy of Japan cricket. The young man at the age of 56 showed that he is upto his task and hasn’t lost any of his reflexes! That brought the debutant Sachin(Sondhi, not Tendulkar) to the crease. He lived upto his reputation as a league player in the U.S and came up with a little cameo innings of 43 with some elegantly timed boundaries on the on side. He IS going to be another class batsman on the side. The last 10 overs yielded 70 runs which was aided by Sachin and Vicky with useful seventh wicket partnership of 50+ runs. Sachin got out in the last ball of the innings attempting a second run, there by spoiling his average. When pointed it out him came the reply – no “gas” left at the end. Your correspondent, initially baffled, soon realised that it was an American term for fuel! The U.S may be the least polluting country in the world as everything there runs on gas! Lunch is the best part of the visit to Shizuoka. Robert must be getting up 4 at a.m. to prepare the curry for 24(two scorers included) “Hungry Tigers”. I wonder what his girlfriend has to say about it. Anton opened batting for Shizuoka in his usual characteristic style. Pulling anything short to the boundary. He always makes the opposition work hard for his wicket and this time was no different either. Fellow opener Harrison was run out attempting a non-existent second run in the seventh over. The end of 10 overs saw Kytes comfortably placed at 54/2 as opposed to the Engineers’ score of 20/0, very close to the required run rate. From there on, it was a neck-and-neck race as the Kytes kept up with the run rate. With the Kytes having the first match under their belt, the stakes were high for the Engineers as a loss meant the loss of the series. But the introduction of Shankar took care of the hard hitting captain, Anton, who could have wrested the game from us single handedly, caught by Rahul at cover off his very first delivery. Engineers’ secret weapon was unleashed next. The man with two great achievements under his belt. Vice captain Silvester Pereira. The man who successfully defended a paltry score of 47 runs to shoot out British Embassy for 38 runs, two years ago and then defeating a full fledged Pakistani side recently, which was virtually unimaginable until then(incidentally, the same Pakistani side is one of the finalists of the Kanto Cup this year). His “medium paced off-spin” brought him one wicket but his 4th over messed up his figures, having hit for 13 runs. As he later confessed, “I was trying to bowl a googly!”. Amit Chatterjee once said: “He is the fastest off spinner I’ve ever seen!”. Shankar and Silvi bowled in tandem trying to bring the run rate down but the Kytes were not to be tied down. At the end of 20 overs saw Kytes one run ahead of the Engineers’ score. In fact, the intensity of the neck-and-neck race can be gauged from the following table:

Over Engineers Kytes
10 20-0 54-2
20 97-4 98-5
25 121-5 128-5
30 167-6 147-7

However, Kytes didn’t have enough wickets left in the last 5 overs to score the required runs. And the Engineers won by 20 runs, setting the stage for the grand final of this exciting series on Nov. 26. Anton’s vote of thanks at the end of the day didn’t forget to mention the 10.5th member of the Kytes, the ?? year old little Arthur, who fielded very well saving a few valuable runs. The only man who had a nightmarish day out was the Engineers’ opening bowler Santosh, whose 1st over, 2nd of the innings, saw 8 wides but his second over saw only 1 of them and a no-ball. He ended up with the figures 2-0-13(9w, 1nb). And here goes the quote of the day: “But for the wides, I’ve got the best bowling figures”! He also wantd to take train back to Tokyo when he learnt that Sunil was going to be the driver for the return journey! This is one of the few matches where everyone had something to contribute to the victory. The openeres batted well to preserve their wickets. Middle order just whacked everything on their way. Bowlers bowled well. Fielding, usually sloppy, was excellent. Brief scores: IECC 167/6 (Balu K. 43, Sachin S. 43) Shizuoka Kytes 147/7 (Rahul 6-0-14-2)

Cup of Joy!

A landmark victory for the Engineers

By Silvester Pereira

Yeah. We did it and that too in style! Hats off to the entire IECC team who played a great game in the friendly match on Sunday(yesterday) against this year’s Kanto Cup semi-final qualifier, the Edogawa Falcons. And this was the first time we defeated a Pakistani team!

What a great weekend it has been for us and our country. India thrashed Australia in the Kenya knockout tournament and here in Edogawa we THRASHED the Pakistanis on their home ground!

There was never a moment the Falcons had an upperhand in the entire game. To start with they had lost the toss( thanks to me tossing the coin and Sheikh calling it wrong 🙂 He never realised that both sides of the coin I tossed was the same!! – just kidding). We preferred to bat first (with the weather and the forecast being cloudy for the entire day). On some good advice from some of the committee members (just before the start of the game!), I preferred to change the batting/bowling order(sort of restructuring in the team. Manish would be rueing his chances for not being there!).

Myself and Sriram opened the innings with Rajkumar(opener for this season) coming two-down. We had a pretty close and good start with runs being scored at an average of 5 runs/over and guess what, we managed to keep this rate for the entire 27 overs we played!(it was a 30 overs match). At the end of our innings, we scored 133 runs on the board with runs being chipped in from nearly everyone(the highest scored by balu around 31 runs).

Now was the turn of the moment. We had a respectable total to defend. What better start can we can to have Sheikh being clean bowled off the very first delivery from Santosh in their innings ? It was just the start of the fireworks to follow. In the first eight overs of their innings, we had already sent back to the pavilion the top six falcon’s batsmen! Jay Kumar was simply outstanding in this match. He bowled a line and length, full of fire and accuracy. He also took a great catch at mid-on. He was our ‘Yuvraj Singh’ on this day. I’m pretty sure everyone in the team would agree with me. He was well supported by our other team members which paved the way to our well deserved victory. Our bolwers had about 6-7 Falcon’s batsmen clean bowled and at the end of the day, of the 82 runs they scored in less than 20 overs of their innings, only 32 runs came from their bat!

I do not have the statistics as Biju had the scorebook! Below are approx. values(as my memory recollects!) Batting – Sriram(15), Balu(31), Silvester(10), JayKumar(10) Bowling – Santosh – 4 wickets Jay Kumar – 4 wickets Bhaskar – 1 wicket

There are few things I would like to highlight in this match. I’m sure one or some of the committee member(s) would be giving, sometime later, an analysis of the match report(positive/negative aspects of IECC) which I think would be good for the team(IECC) and help us boost our morale.

a) We had an overall excellent team spirit during this game. As an umpire for some overs, I’ve seen some of our batsmen providing encouragement to the other team members both on and off the field. I think this is key to boost our confidence and maintain cool/calm at times of pressure. It was like in everybody’s mind that ” Yes. We can do it”( NIKE will very soon be sponsoring IECC!!)

b) We kept scoring runs and maintaining a run rate of 5 runs/over for the entire 30 overs match was simply great.I agree that if we have a great start in our batting, it takes off a lot of pressure on the batsmen to follow.

c) Everybody who went to bat, bowl or field was full of confidence. This helped us relieve a lot of pressure which we normally put ourselves in most of our games.

d) Even when we were on top, we never let go our momentum. The pressure was always on the Falcon’s throughout the game.

e) Strategy (situational):- This one was primarily my responsibility but I cannot do any better without the entire team support!! I think overall, we worked out our problems pretty well on the field and I’m thankful to all for your support.

f) Running between the wickets: We had a middle order collapse where we had about 3 run-outs though this was a temporary collapse and we need to improve on this.

g) Catches/Fielding: We had taken all but two catches. We’re improving and must continue to do better. Over all the fielding was good. We had fielders positioned at the right places based on situations and this saved us a lot of valuable runs/boundaries.

All mentioned above are important, inter-related and key to our success in our future games. Any weakness in one of them does have an impact to the other.

Coming Sunday we have a game in Shizuoka and I’m sure many of our team members, already with a huge morale booster from this game, will continue this good form and team spirit. Personally, this is good for IECC as a club, and also build up the enthusaism/confidence for the members.

As many of you know, Jay Kumar will be leaving japan for States at the end of this month. So this opportunity would be a fitting opportunity for us to give Jay a warm farewell after the game at Shizuoka(there will be drinks for all in the van except for the driver). Any volunteers for driving this sunday ?

Last, but not the least, the not so good news for everyone – the finance part!! Those who haven’t cleared their subscription dues, kindly do so at the earliest.

Engineers end their draught on the banks of Fuji river

Shankar Subramaniyam steals the show with a fine all round performance

By Biju Paul

The I.E.C.C geared up for their do-or-die Kanto Cup match next month by securing a morale boosting 4 wicket win over a depleted Fuji C.C, who were short of three players, on Sunday, July 30th. It was Shankar Subramaniyam who played a pivotal role in this big victory by scoring an unbeaten 42 and taking two wickets earlier. So tired was he towards the later stages of IECC innings that he had to ask for a runner in the pretext of an injury(!) but Glenn Carter, the opposition captain, was quick enough to realise the fake but was kind enough to allow a runner nonetheless, in exchange for allowing his wicket keeper to turn in his arm for a few overs. That much for the friendly matches!

The victory was a hard fought one as the Engineers had to survive a mid innings scare, where they lost 3 wickets in one over, to come back into the game. However, it was a welcome change as the Engineers were able to keep the opposition batsmen under check throughout the innings, and when they returned to bat, they batted out 31 overs for the loss of only 6 wickets while scoring the required 124 runs. Great improvement, indeed!

The match got off to a delayed start at 12:00 noon due to the late arrival of Engineers at the ground who were caught in the notorious Tokyo traffic jam and then getting lost somewhere near the ground itself which, incidentally, bared vice-captain Silvester’s navigational skills and Japanese conversational ability, and then by the late arrival of a Fuji player. So the match was decided to be of 35 overs each.

The early morning shower, which the weather bureau had failed to predict even on Saturday night, had left the outfield wet and soggy and unsurprisingly, this correspondent, as the captain of the Engineers’ team, elected to field first after winning the toss. Santosh opened the bowling with yours truly for the Engineers and the usual flurry of wides continued, which incidentally, was the second highest scorer on the Fuji side with 30 after the Fuji opener Junior Takahashi’s defiant 49. It was in the 7th over that the Engineers met with their first success when the writer of this article had the Fuji opener Indika caught behind for 11 but that was not before Indika messed up with his bowling figures with a well hit 6 into the nearby jungle. Then Rahul Kumar removed the dangerous Mahen Fernando cheaply. But at the other end, Junior continued to play sensibly but the boundaries were hard to come by because of the wet outfield, although Glenn and his team had put in a lot of effort to make the ground as pristine as possible by cutting the grass on about two-thirds of the ground. None of the Fuji batsmen were able to stroke the ball as freely as Junior. He batted until the 34th over and was the man responsible for giving Fuji a respectable total of 123 with a solid innings of 49. He was the last man out caught behind off Rahul Kumar, while trying to accelerate the run rate. Of the bowlers, Rahul Kumar had the impressive figures of 4-2-13-2.

It wasn’t a smooth sailing for the Engineers either when they returned to bat. They lost Rajkumar early in the innings cheaply. Shankar, who normally bats in the middle order, was sent in as the replacement at number 3 and he rose to the occasion by playing a memorable innings. He put up a 37 runs partnership with Balu who was sent in as Rajkumar’s opening partner. Coming back to bowl, Junior threatened to be a one-man demolition squad when he had the Engineers by tail by taking three wickets in one over thereby giving Fuji a glimmer of hope and Engineers a nightmare. From a seemingly healthy score of 47/1, the Engineers collapsed to 48/4 and then to 74/6. This brought the smile back on the Fujian’s(if that’s the word!) face, only to realise later that the Engineers had no tail. They managed to tide over the crisis with an unbroken 7th wicket partnership of 50 runs between Shankar and the skipper, and won the match comfortably in the 31st over with 4 wickets in hand. Junior ended up with figures of 5/25 off 7 overs.

But the best part of the day was reserved at the Land of Oz, a bar run by Glenn, where both teams got together and enjoyed his generous hospitality. But for the Engineers, the worst was yet to come. They were caught in a 4-hour traffic jam(again!) on their way back to Tokyo.

Brief Score:
Fuji 123 all out in 34 overs(Junior 49), IECC 124/6 in 31 overs(Shankar 42*, Junior 5/25)

With hope in their hearts and soap in their hands

Japan Selection scores an upset victory over IECC

Sriram’s 51 goes in vein

By Biju Paul

Catches win matches. 5 dropped catches told the whole story. Less fancied Japan Selection defeated the Indian Engineers by 6 wickets in what may be the only upset of the tournament so far. With this defeat the Engineers face an uphill task ahead if they want to qualify for the quarter finals. In the remaining two matches, either they have to win both or win at least won and pray that Japan Selection lose their remaining engagements by wide margin so that the Engineers can move ahead on run rate. Engineers’ captain Biju Paul elected to bat after his counterpart Yoichi Sato lost the toss. And the start was as usual which was all too familiar for Engineers these days. They lost opener Rajkumar in the first over and Amit, the other opener fell in the fourth over. Just when things started looking easy with a solid third wicket partnership of 52 runs between the ever dependable Sriram Sampath and the wicket keeper Balu Lal, Balu ran himself out while attempting a sharp single. After that the Engineers kept coming and going as if they are coming to inspect the pitch. Captain tried to anchor the decline by facing 32 deliveries while scoring only 5 runs but was the last man out having declared LBW. That is not to discredit the excellent Japanese performance, though. The Japanese bowlers bowled an excellent line and length, getting the lift off the seam occasionally which found the edges of the Engineers’ blade on it’s way to the slip cordon. Of the Engineers’ total of 117, only 85 came off the bat, out of which Sriram scored 51 with the help of some beautifully executed shots to boundary. There were only 7 boundaries scored in their innings, 6 of which was by Sriram. This man is a beauty to watch while at the crease. Perhaps, the best stylish player around in Tokyo. With memories of YC & AC bowling out the Japan Selection for less than 80 runs the previous week, Engineers started off with lot of hope in their hearts and soap in their hands. Two catches were dropped in the first 4 overs, both openers being the beneficiaries of the Engineers’ benevolence on each occasion, Biju being the suffering bowler on both occasions. After that, the Japanese never looked in trouble and kept the score board(if ever there was one!) ticking with singles and twos. As usual, it took Jagan Panda, who is usually Biju’s opening bowling partner, but came in as the fourth bowling change this time because of an injured shoulder, to provide the Engineers with a break through. But by this time, the Japanese had more or less sealed the fate of the match with an opening partnership of 72 runs off 17 overs. It was never going to be easy for the Engineers after that. The only thing they could do was to pray for a heavy rain before the 20th over is bowled so that the match may be rescheduled. They dropped 3 more catches. Captain kept shuffling his bowlers with the hope of a miraculous collapse by the Japanese. But what is written is to be happened and it happened at the end of the 26th over. The Japan Selection defeated the Indian Engineers by 6 wickets. Fumito Miyakawa remained not out on 36. Well done Japan Selection! Way to go!! Hope this victory will be a morale booster for them and it will do a world of good for Cricket in Japan.