Category: 2001

KCL-Engineers qualify for Division I

Viswa’s century helps post a mammoth 322

By Biju Paul

This match report can be summed up in one sentence.The Indian Engineers have qualified for the Division I of Kanto Cricket League.

But it will be a travesty of justice to two great batsmen if I did that. The two batsmen who took the honours in the late autumn day match are Viswa Ghosh and Dinesh Tashildar. Viswa’s third century(147*, 16×4, 8×6) but the first with the Engineers and Dinesh’s blitskereig(79 off 29 balls, 5×4, 8×6) helped the Engineers to pile up their highest total ever, 322/5.

So to stretch the story further, this was the last match of the season in Kanto and possibly in Japan too. This correspondent elected to bat first after his opposite number lost the toss. The decision had a lot to do with the previous Sunday’s Pacific Cup match against the Kytes where the Engineers were asked to bat first and notched up 250+ runs in 30 overs. So with history to go by and in-form batsmen in the middle to compensate any disastrous start(which normally is the case), the Engineers handled the first over well. That gave the no. 3 batsman some relief and just as he started to lean back on his chair came the bad news. The first wicket fell for 9 runs in the second over. In the 7th overs the Engineers lost the other opener too for a score of 19, which brought in Sriram Sampath to give company to Viswa Ghosh at the crease. There is no prettier sight than these two class batsmen at the crease and handling the bowling with consummate ease. Sriram, after a futile trip to Philippines where he was led to believe that he could play in the Sixes tournament but was only asked to drink beer and watch all day the lucky ones play, was in a belligerent mood as if to make up for the lost opportunities. As both batsmen pulled and drove with felicity and put up 54 runs for the 3rd wicket, Rahul remarked, “what a wonderful couple!”. One is not sure the pun was intended or not. The pull shots that Sriram has been playing with power and beauty resulted in his downfall too, giving a simple catch to the strategically placed short fine leg fielder. By the way, the advise from Sriram is not to go ever for the Philippines Sixes tournament as it is very badly organised.

The fall of Sriram brought in the hard hitting Dinesh and the swashbuckling innings he played took the steam out of the Embassy attack. Dinesh in the company of Viswa changed the course of the match in a matter of few overs. While raising a partnership of 158 runs for the 5th wicket in just 14 overs, the duo severely punished the Embassy bowlers, who were without some of their regular members. Singles and twos were hard to come by but fours and sixes were plenty, giving a hard time to the scorers and the opposing captain as well. Denis Perry suffered the most at the hands of Dinesh, who once hit him for three successive sixes and ultimately the bowler had a nightmarish figures of 6-0-105-1. Viswa completed his third century in style by hitting a four. By the time Dinesh departed in the 28th over, the Engineers had a comfortable 231 on board, which gave the following batsmen the license to go after the bowling which they did. Jagan and Viswa remained unbeaten on 14 and 147, respectively, in a total score of 322 in 35 overs, the last 5 overs yielding 72 runs. For the Embassy, Andrew King was the most successful bowler claiming 2/21 off 7 overs.

The Embassy didn’t start their innings well as Jagan clean bowled their make-shift opener for a duck. An umpiring oversight allowed Ashok Kumar to bowl 7 balls in an over which resulted in the sad(but to Engineers’ joy) dismissal of the dangerous Brent Kininmont. An offer to call the batsman back was politely turned down by their captain, who came in as the replacement. Thereafter, there was not much resistance from the Embassy and were ultimately bowled out for 98 in 20.3 overs. Skipper Thomas Goodwin top scored with 11, while Jagan Panda, who claimed 3/28, was the most successful bowler for the Engineers.

To be fair with the Embassy team, they were without some of their regular players and had difficulty in finding an eleven for the match.

The victory gave the Engineers a place in the elite Division I of Kanto Cricket League and a great season. Calls for grand celebration is being met with positive response from the treasurer.

Tokai win All Japan Sixes Cup

Cricket, Wonderful Cricket-Tokai win All Japan Sixes Cup

By Viswa Ghosh

The cricket oval. The mown down green square turf in the middle. The sets of stumps at the two ends of the cricket pitch, with white lines marking out the popping, the return and the bowling creases. The lush green field, gently sloping down from the center square with the boundary marked out by a rope going round in an oval. The sound of the red cherry striking against the willow.

These are all dream-like in the land of the rising sun! Still dream-like, but quite soon, one hopes, will be a reality in this land of sumo wrestlers.

Perhaps, with these dreams and visions the organizers of Japan Cricket Association organized the first ever all-Japan cricket tournament that brought foreign and native cricket lovers from all over Japan. The setting was as idyllic as you can get.

Set in Chiba, in the midst of a resort run by the Nihon Aerobic Center, the field looked big and green. And, the participants, all very enthusiastic. Some had flown in from as far as Kyushu! With such enthusiasm, it Just ideal for cricket!

*

Match 1 (Nov. 23rd) As with any event in Japan, the six-a-side tournament started off bang on time. The inaugural match was played between Minami Kanto A and Minami Kanto B. The former managed 43 runs in their allotted 5 overs. Minami Kanto B, led by “Junior” Takahashi had no trouble knocking off 45 runs with 4 balls to spare.

Match 2 (Nov. 23rd) Tokai, led by Kamran, won the toss and elected to bat. In the allotted 5 overs the team piled up 73 with Munir and Mahen remaining unbeaten with 32 and 16 respectively. Chasing such a formidable target Tohoku & Kita Kanto succumbed but managed a very-very creditable 57.

Match 3 (Nov. 23rd) Minami Kanto B, choosing to bat first ran up a fairly big score of 66 with some good batting performance from everyone. Kansai, in reply, could not go beyond 36 because of some great bowling efforts by “junior” who bagged 3 for 8.

Match 4 (Nov. 23rd) Electing to bat first, Tohoku & Kita Kanto managed just 39 in the allotted 5 overs. Kyushu brought about a pulsating one-run victory off the last ball due to some fielding panic displayed by their opponents.

Match 5 (Nov. 23rd) Last match of the day, Tokai went into and equaled their previous score of 73. This time the two contributors were Viswa (24 not out) and Kamran (15 not out). In reply, Kansai could manage only 34, with Shahed returning wonderful figures of 2 for 4.

End of Day One. And, time for fun and ohuro! The JCA, assisted by some sponsorship from Nihon Aerobics Center, organized a great evening full of fun, frolic and feasting. As a result, many players ended up going to bed late, but that did not prevent the organizers, ably supported by the umpires, from starting the next morning’s proceedings promptly at 8:30.

Match 6 (Nov. 24th) Another nail-biting finish under a bright blue sky! Kyushu batted first and managed 56 in 5 overs. Their opponents, Minami Kanto A, was able to score the winning run off the last ball thanks to some great batting display earlier by Yato, who retired after having scored a quick fire 32.

Match 7 (Nov. 24th) Third nail-biting finish of the tournament! Kansai batting first scored 57 in the allotted 5 overs. Tohoku & Kita Kanto managed the winning run off the last ball, thanks to some great team effort.

Match 8 (Nov. 24th) Batting first, Kyushu managed just 45 in 5 overs. In reply, Minami Kanto B scored 49 with one ball to spare. Banjyo of the winning side made a wonderful contribution of 30 not out.

Match 9 (Nov. 24th) Tokai, by now rated as the tournament favorites, batted first and managed a paltry 39 in the allotted 5 overs. However, the match turned out to be hard fought due to some wonderful bowling by Kamran and Mahen. Nonetheless, Minami Kanto A won the match with 3 balls to spare. Tokai learnt a good lesson: NEVER TAKE THINGS EASY IN CRICKET!

By now, the lineups for the Bowl Final, the Plate Final, and the Cup Final had been decided.

Bowl Final: Tohoku & Kita Kanto vs. Kansai Plate Final: Minami Kanto A vs. Kyushu Cup Final: Minami Kanto B vs. Tokai

Match 10 (Bowl Final – Nov. 24th) Kansai was restricted to 49 off 5 overs due to some good bowling by Orita (2 for 6) and Yano (1 for 3). In reply, Tohoku & Kita Kanto scored 50 in 4.4 overs. Miyazawa scored an impressive 22 not out for the winning side.

Match 11 (Plate Final – Nov. 24th) Kyushu batted first and managed 43 in 5 overs. Minami Kanto A ended the game earlier than was necessary by scoring 45 in just 2.4 overs. Some fine batting by Yoshioka who remained not out with 21.

Match 12 (Cup Final – Nov. 24th) Unfortunately, the Cup Final turned out to be more of an anti-climax. Batting first and having learnt some lessons from their previous outing, Tokai piled up 72 runs in the allotted 5 overs. Everyone contributed to the score, with Munir and Robert remaining not out with well made 21 and 19 respectively. In reply, Minami Kanto B could manage just 43 in their 5 overs.

*

So, Tokai took the cup home. But, thanks to some great organizing efforts by the JCA, the umpires, the players and the spectators CRICKET won that day. Everyone departed from the event with great hopes for the future of CRICKET in Japan. Perhaps, we all saw history in the making! We all look forward to bigger things, some CRICKET EXTRAVAGANZA in the near future in Japan.

PC-Engineers retain the Pacific Cup

Viswa rediscovers his form with a brilliant 53

By Biju Paul

The Engineers retained the Pacific Cup they won last year with a 1-1 series draw this year. The Engineers defeated the Kytes by 70 runs to earn the draw after Kytes had won the first match early in the season. The third match of the three series is abandoned due to lack of time this year.

Pacific Cup is a three match series between the Indian Engineers and the Shizuoka Kytes started last year, the first edition of which was won by the Engineers 2-1. Like last year, the Kytes had won the first match this year as well, which was also the KCL league match. After a couple of washouts, it was decided between the teams that only two matches will be played this season and a draw would enable the Engineers to retain the Cup.

The small bouts of rain on the way to the ground not withstanding, the weather turned out to be excellent at Shizuoka. The bright sunshine mixed with the cool weather of the late autumn day made the perfect foil for a great day of cricket.

The Kytes won the toss and stand-in-skipper Neil Harrison asked the Engineers to bat first on a somewhat damp pitch. The grass on the outfield was cut beautifully in oval shape with the amount of grass on the cut and uncut part so conspicuous that there was no need for any boundary marker. Nick Shannon claimed that he spent his last two weekends cutting the grass but Robert disputed the claim saying Nick did nothing but drinking loads of beer at the ground while he cut the grass and had the dual job of carrying the grass cutter and Nick back home at the end of the day.

The Engineers started their innings disastrously, which has become customary of late, by losing both openers within a span of couple of overs and two down Ganesh following the openers soon. Silvester came in to replace him, well protected with a helmet, arm guard and thigh pad in an innocuous pitch. Seeing the batsman in full battle gear, R. Hutton decided to have a go at him and tried bounce a couple of deliveries, which actually were called wide. Silvester immediately sensed danger and realised that batting on an occasional variable bounce pitch is not his cup of tea and promptly claimed hurt and was ushered into the team bus parked aside where he spent the rest of the day. With the star batsman incapacitated and three back in the pavilion with only 42 runs on board in the 9th over, there were fears of a collapse, as was the case in the previous few matches. But one down Viswa Ghosh this time did not disappoint, revealing his class with a brilliant 53(6×4, 2×6) and in the company of Jagan, 36(4×4, 1×6), put up 43 runs for the 5th wicket. In fact, none of the remaining batsmen disappointed. Each one of them enjoyed their time in the middle hitting the bowlers at will. Vikram 33(1×4,4×6) and Rahul 25(3×4,1×6) were the next best contributors. Yours truly added stability at the tail with a six over mid-wicket, the first one in recent memory(details available on request), but the explosive innings of 10 runs was curtailed by a delivery which Nick, the bowler, described as “f***ing beauty”, that caught him plumb in front. In all, eleven sixes were hit but surprisingly, no ball was lost. Engineers scored 215/9 off 30 overs. R. Hutton bowled impressively for the Kytes with 1/23 off 6 overs.

Engineers took to the field with ten players, having left Silvester in the cozy comforts of the team bus, away from the afternoon chilly breeze. The “French Indian curry” served for lunch didn’t seem to spur the Kytes much as Jagan broke through the opening partership in the 3rd over by claiming R. Hutton’s wicket. At drinks, Kytes were even(84/3 off 17 overs) with the Engineers who were 85/4 at the same stage, thanks to a 21 runs over by this correspondent. But a two wicket over after the drinks by Ganesh, including that of the dangerous Anton McCloy, more or less sealed the fate of the match. However, the Kytes didn’t give up, dispatching anything lose to the boundary with gay abandon. But in the end, the imposing total, which actually helped this writer to bowl an economical spell of 4-0-48-2, was proved to be beyond the Kytes reach and were bowled out for 145 in nn overs, Anton McCloy being the top scorer with 23 runs, the next higest being K. Ishikawa’s 20.

Surprisingly or otherwise, wides were kept less than 20 by both teams.

The Engineers thus retained the Pacific Cup for the second straight year.

A special thanks to Robert for the curry lunch.

KCL-Cricket at its best leaves the Engineers broken hearted

Rahul’s and Ashok’s vigil goes in vein

By Biju Paul

October 21 was a day for drumbeats and celebrations for the Millennium C.C. They beat the Indian Engineers by 1 run in what was the most thrilling match in the history of the Kanto Cricket League, if not the Japanese Cricket, thus qualifying for the Division I of KCL in 2002.

Whoever present at the Shizuoka oval on October 21 witnessed cricket at its best. A transfixing contest and a pulsating finish. An electrifying atmosphere, hair rising moments, early and mid-innings crisis with both the teams going “ooh!” and “aah!” at the end of every ball, the solid fight back by the Engineers from a no hope situation to come within 1 run of victory, it had all the ingredients required for a legendary match.

Chasing a target of 104 in 35 overs, The Engineers slumped into a perilous position of 5 down for 7 runs in the 3rd over and then fought back ball by ball, run by run, only to lose by 1 run ultimately. It was cricket at its best.

Millennium won the toss and elected to bat first on a damp pitch. They were all out for 104 in the 33rd over, with Jagan and Rahul claiming three wickets each and Dinesh and this correspondent accounting for the rest. There was no significant contribution from anybody in the 104 that the Millennium scored, except the usual suspect, the extras who, as usual, top scored with 42.

Having lost to the same opposition in a friendly tie two weeks before, the Engineers had brought the best available team for the match and the batting order looked formidable – on paper at least. The main discussion during the lunch was that how many overs the game would last and how many would get to bat – and as it turned out, everyone got to bat, under different circumstances, though.

At the end of the 3rd over the scoreboard looked like this: Target 105. Wickets 5. Runs 7. Overs 3. As wickets kept tumbling, it was Rahul who was giving hope to the Engineers of an entry into Division I without another play-off. In the company of hard-hitting Dinesh, Rahul raised the highest partnership of the innings, 36 for the 6th wicket, which ensured that the Engineers would cross 50. By the time the 9th wicket fell at the score of 78 in the 20th over, Millennium’s nostrils had filled with the scent of victory. Last man Ashok Sharma walked in and what a support role he played! At one point it looked as if a Test match was going on, not an ODI. Calm and composed, Ashok played out maiden overs, put a premium on his wicket and made sure that the well set Rahul got most of the strike. It was plain frustration for the Millennium as they did their best to dislodge the partnership while the two batsmen played sensible cricket. As the target became closer, the pressure was visible on the fielders, the batsmen and in the pavilion. In the electrifying atmosphere, every run was cheered by the Engineers while the fielders threw themselves in the field trying to save runs.

Once the score crossed 100 and as the pressure mounted, runs became a rare commodity and the batsmen seemed to have gone into their shell. With the score on 103 in the 31st over, Rahul uncharacteristically defended the last two balls of the over that were just short of length, which under normal circumstances would have seen the rope. It was evident that the pressure was getting on to the nerves. The two together had raised most crucial partnership of the innings, 25 runs, in 10 overs by this time with Ashok’s contribution being 2.

In the 32nd over, with the Engineers on the brink of an extraordinary victory – 1 to tie the match and 2 to win – off-spinner Andrew pitched one on the middle stump which bounced a bit more than the previous deliveries. Ashok tried to work it on to the on side, but the ball took the top edge went up in the air towards short fine leg. The fielder in the forward short leg ran for it and produced an outstanding running catch which gave the Millennium a well deserved victory and a place in the elite Division I in 2002. Both teams displayed a fighting quality and an understanding of the game.

Although it was a disappointing loss, I guess we played one of the best cricket matches ever played in the tournament. Recovering from 5 for 7 to come within 2 runs of victory is no mean task, thanks to the gritty innings of Rahul and Ashok. I’m sure Ashok’s grandchildren will get tired of their grandpa, listening to the same story every now and then!

With this, the Engineers have to face the British Embassy in the last play-off for Division I, which will be a do-or-die match for both the equally strong teams.

Well Done Millennium!!

(FG)History repeats itself, leaves the Engineers dumbfounded

Viswa Ghosh’s blitzkrieg goes in vein

By Biju Paul

On October 7th, the Engineers found themselves in the same situation at the same ground they had been in about three years ago. At that time they suffered defeat in an erstwhile Kanto Cup match at the hands of Tokyo Bay, thanks to 3 a wicket-haul and later an 80+ runs knock of Rob Mckenna, the only overseas player in that team.

On Saturday, the Engineers again suffered a defeat by Millennium at the same ground, in a supposed to be KCL match, which was converted to a friendly of 22 overs after the Engineers showed up at the ground at 2 p.m., thanks to a 4 hour traffic jam. The men who took the match away from the Engineers were Blair Leighton(39*, 2×4, 2×6) and Andrew Ker(38*, 3×4, 3×6), the only overseas players in that team. For the Engineers, the history was repeating itself.

It was quite an eventful day for the Engineers. For the first time, we split the team into two cars, instead of the usual 10-seater Toyota Hi Ace in which we pack up to 13 human beings – well aware that the Japanese police can book us for human trafficking, if caught, although we can pack another 5 according to our home country standards!

As we entered the expressway, we saw the traffic signs flashing “20 k.m. traffic jam, 4 hours until Atsugi”. So some of the engineering wisdom suggested that we get out at the next exit and proceed to Shin Yokohama, the nearest Shinkan sen(bullet train) station. As it took an hour to get to the next exit, some other engineering wisdom suggested that we stick to the jam as the traffic was slowly melting away. But the majority stuck to the original decision. So we got out. After all, we live in a demo-crazy.

After traveling about 20 km., we realised that we might be heading in the opposite direction of Shin Yokohama. Apparently, the pilot car navigator, who had just passed his level 2 in Japanese, was holding the map upside down, as he didn’t know how to read Kanji. So we took a U-turn, this time after confirming the matter with a gas station fellow.

As we proceeded to the ‘correct’ Shin-Yokohama, there was this guy who had our heart in the mouth. Driving a shabby looking car – a rare sight in the wax crazy Japan – with one hand and the other holding his mobile, he took a sudden U-turn in front of us. Normally, one would have bad-mouthed him in one’s own country, but yours truly, driving the ‘victim’ car, decided to follow the Japanese custom and gave a stare at the trunk of the his car. While in Rome, do as Romans do. A few meters down, the guy almost knocked down a scooterist, while taking a left turn, still talking on the mobile and driving with one-hand. A kilometer or two down, it was the turn of a lady driver, this time from the back, to actually hit us. As this correspondent went behind to inspect the damage caused, the lady emerged from the driver’s seat and said, “Gomen nasai”. Yours truly again decided to stick to the Japanese custom and replied, “Kyotuskette ne” and decided to proceed without troubling the Police and the ambulance.

**************** The Shinkansen came to a halt at the Shin-Fuji, a little before 1:30 p.m., the same time that we would have reached the ground by car had we stuck to the expressway. As we proceeded to the exit, Rajkumar realised that we left a kit bag behind in the train. As he ran back inside the train, others waved at the guard of the train, indicating not to leave. A group of south-Asians gesticulating at the guard and going in and coming out of the compartment must have made some passengers re-think about their onward journey in the present circumstances!

The match started at 2:00 p.m., converted to a friendly of 22 overs as both teams felt that a crucial match like this must be of full 40 overs. The Engineers scored 141/5, thanks to Viswa Ghosh’s blitzkrieg(70, 3×4, 5×6) and a very crucial 78 run 3rd wicket partnership between him and Rajkumar(14).

The Millennium started off well, scoring at the required run rate, largely due to the usual wides and no balls. The bowlers didn’t have a good day either. They were punished for their lose bowling, mostly by Leghton and Ker. The match was evenly poised at the end of 18 overs with 24 runs required off the remaining 4 overs. The batsmen at the crease, Leghton and Ker, ensured that the match didn’t last the remaining overs as they scored 18 runs in the 19th over, thus making it a non-issue. I’m sure Manoj Wanzare will never want to bowl again in a match without coming for the practice sessions in future.

(FG)Six Indian ‘ducks’ help the Pakistanis take revenge

Winning streak comes to an end

By Biju Paul

160 off 30 overs is not hard for the Engineers to achieve, given their current form. Alas! That was not to be the case when they played against the Lala on Sunday, September 30. Their innings, uncharacteristically, folded up for 60 off 17 overs. The Lala, whom the Engineers had defeated two months ago, thus had a sweet revenge.

After arriving late at the ground and then winning the toss, Lala captain Aslam had no hesitation to elect to bat first. Although Ashok Kumar was able to provide a break-through for the Engineers in the 4th over of the match by clean bowling the opener, Lala progressed steadily, thanks to 5 dropped catches and then some loose bowling by this correspondent and Sanjeed Sahoo, conceding 50 runs in 4 overs between them.

For the Engineers, Santosh Ghadge was outstanding claiming 3 wickets in a 4 over spell while conceding only 9 runs. An apt reward for a man who really worked hard for it. Well done, Santosh. The other notable contribution towards the fag end of the match came from Dinesh Tashildar who claimed 2 wickets in two overs while conceding only 4 runs. Lala 159 all out in 29.2 overs.

The late arrival didn’t deter the Lala captain to ask his opposite number to start their innings after a 10 minutes innings break. The reason: A marriage to attend! In the hurry to make their opposition attend their marriage the Engineers started gifting their wickets away. While 6 of them collected valuable ‘ducks’, Balu as usual provided some entertainment with a stroke filled knock of 37. None of the other batmen reached the double figure. The Engineers’ innings came to a tame end when the last man Ashok Kumar was stumped off Sheikh with the score at 60.

(FG)IECC Rolls on..

One more victory for the Engineers

By Sriram Sampath

On what was a fine day for cricket YCAC won the toss and were more than glad to bat first. It seemed a tougher match to chase for  IECC with the inclusion of four big names from other clubs, Aamir , Mumtaz and Imran. However superb initial spell from Ashok Kumar and Rahul Kumar saw the opponents reeling at 15/3 . The ball from Ashok to clean bowl Mark Ferris was a definite beauty. Dropped catches and loose bowling by the Engineers from then on saw Kamran and Avinash take score to 97/3 in 17 overs. Santosh Ghadge came in with good spell in middle to give us a breakthrough although the YCAC had started opening up their innings by then. Good stroke play by Aamir and Mumtaz who scored nearly 45 each saw the target move up to 212. It was a good fight in the end to restrict them there!

Bowling figures as follows:

Ashok K  8 – 2 – 32 – 2 Rahul     8 – 1 – 32 – 4 Santosh   4 – 0 – 22 – 1 A Sharma 7 – 0 – 40 – 0

Our batting began with sound start from the openers – Prasad Poppully and Bhibas Roy who kept the run rate going. Bhibas was out early and was replaced by Balu who looked in good form. Prasad scored a valuable 21 before getting out LBW . Vishwa Ghosh then took over for another good partnership with good stroke play before out loosely playing an over pitched ball . However the launching pad needed for a victory had by then been established. Balu and myself made merry on what was a great day for both of us and ended the match with 4.1 overs to spare!

Scorecard:

Prasad – 21 Bibhas – 6 Vishwa – 17 Balu – 67 Sriram – 77 Extras – 15

(FG)Falcon Hunting

Engineers continue their dream ride

By Amit Chatterjee

A brilliant performance is what it can be called. Mind everyone – the hunted are now the hunters. The best way sportsmen speak is through their performance on the field. And did we speak!!!!!

For the record minded. The Edogawa Falcons were bowled out in under 20 overs for 121 and we made the runs with tons of overs to spare with 7 wickets in hand. The bowling was very aggressive and credit does go to Sheikh for trying to attack his way back. But, the sustained hostility of the opening spell of Ashok Sr. and Rahul saw 2 wickets fall for 39 runs in 4 overs – most of the runs being scored due to the adventurism of Sheikh. The first change bowlers Ashok Jr. and Rajat bowled tight and kept the pressure on by taking wickets. But the lack of Stamina did show up when both Rajat and Ashok Jr. were taken for runs in the last over of their first spell. The fielding supported the bowling well with a lightening quick stop by Bibhas and direct hits on the stumps by 3 others being the stand outs. One of them was contentiously not given out. So, at drinks, which was taken after 16 overs, Pakistan was 90 for 5 and firmly with their backs to the wall.

Post Drinks saw inspired bowling by Santosh when he bowled one hostile over. In a terrible mix up one Falcon who was playing well succumbed to good fielding by Bibhas who relayed the Ball to Sunil who kept his cool and relayed it to the bowler for a simple run out. It does reflect a lot on the mental toughness building up.

So, Ashok Sr. combined with Ashok Jr. to wipe out the tail.

One noticable point to improve on will be stamina. The bowlers need to be ablse to maintain accuracy for four overs at least.

The credits for the batting are shared equally amongst the top four batsmen, though Prasad’s shots and Sunil’s effective batting stands out. It was great to see that now we put premium on our wickets. The opening stand of 50 runs was marred with usual gripes of the losers against good umpiring. So, the couple of wickets to fall and 50 and 53 of Prasad and Bibhas was against the run of play and given away by the batsmen due to lack of stamina. Rajat joined Sunil and they carried on the good work with another half century partnership when Rajat got out to boredom at 110. Sanjeeb joined Sunil to carry the team through the home stretch to complete a most outstanding thulping of the Falcons.

I think the best summary of the our performance came from the Falcon’s captain Sheikh, “If you play like this then you should be the champions in Japan”.

KCL-Engineers upset the Friends’ Apple Cart

Victory rekindles the hopes for a semifinal berth

By Biju Paul

The Engineers pulled off a sensational three wicket win over the Friends XI, the two time champions of erstwhile Kanto Cup and the front runner of KCL Cup this year, on Sunday in their last league match. The magnificent victory put an end to the Friends’ undefeated run this season and threw open the contest for the semi-final berth from Group A.

For the Engineers, this victory was the icing on the cake after a series of high profile wins since last year – against Edogawa Falcons, YC&AC, Lala and a close run chase against the Fuji Far East – underscoring their might in the Tokyo cricket.

The humdinger, with both the Shizuoka Kytes and Engineers have a total of 18 points each from 6 matches(4 wins, 2 losses) having won two matches each, is fraught with ponderables. But the Engineers have a healthy Runs/Wicket average of 19.26(886 runs for the loss of 46 wickets) as against the 12.67(583 runs for the loss of 46 wickets) of the Kytes.

The other two top performers in Group A – Friends XI and the Sri Lankan Lions have 15 points each from 5 matches(3 wins, 1 loss and a wash out) with one match each remaining for them. If any result other than a win – a wash out or a defeat – in their respective encounters will be the end of road for them as far as KCL is concerned while throwing open the possibilities for the Engineers to qualify. Some of the engineers are already out to perform special poojas but no one is sure if the weather Gods will listen to their prayers!

For the Engineers, everything went as per the script. Yours truly won the toss and with some successful run chases recently to go by, inserted his opposition into bat. After some initial wayward bowling by both this correspondent and Jagan Panda, the other opening bowler, the Engineers systematically began tightening their grip on the game. Jagan drew first blood by having Asad Ali caught at the wicket. First change Ashok Kumar, who eventually captured 4 wickets, was almost impossible to play beating the bat many occasions. He produced some gems, all of which were rewarded. Amir Ali, this correspondent’s opposite number, having faced just two deliveries, stood in disbelief at the crease as a faint edge flew to the ‘keeper. While the Engineers were systematically destroying the Friends batting lineup, opener Naeem Qureshi stood tall amongst the ruins at the other end and top scored with 65. For the Engineers, Ashok was ably assisted in his task by Ganesh Tajave who returned a figure of 3/34, including the wicket of Naeem. At 106 for 9, the Friends didn’t seem to score more than 120 odd runs but thanks to the last wicket partnership 46 between Jamshed Ali and Zafar Iqbal, they managed 152 in 20 overs.

Chasing 153 against the Friends is not an easy task. And they showed that they are no pushovers. At 81 for 7 in the 20th over, the Engineers needed a bit of hard work. And there they were! A perfect chaser(of runs, I mean..) and a man of not outs. Silvester Pereira and Rahul Kumar. Silvester has showed that his batting is at its best while chasing(runs!) and Rahul has remained not out in all his matches this season so far, this time being no exception. The two together took the attack to enemy camp. While Silvester raced to his carefully crafted maiden half century, Rahul with a couple of lusty sixes was virtually unstoppable. One of his shots went up in the air like a rocket but only about two miles, but Naeem at mid-wicket could not judge the flight of the rocket on its downward journey to earth and allowed it to land safely on the ground without causing much damage to the ground or the launcher, a sharp contrast to a similar catch taken by Viswa Ghosh while the Engineers were fielding.

Amir did whatever he could to dislodge the partnership. While Rahul was fire and brimstone, Silvester was calm at one end. They went about their task of gathering runs with consummate ease. While they were at the crease, the bowling looked palpably ineffective. In the process, the duo established a new record for IECC, an unbroken 72 runs partnership for 8th wicket which in the end led to a magnificent win. Silvester remained not out 61(9×4) and Rahul on 31 not out(1×4, 2×6).

Last but not the least, the ‘keeper Balasubramanyam Kaleeswaran(Balu) who has an entry in the Guinness Book of world records for having the shortest name in India, was a real entertainer both on and off the field. Apart from collecting the bullets of Ashok Kumar at chest height, this hard hitting middle order batsman hit Amir Ali out of the attack. He even managed to annoy one of the fielders while at the crease by singing his favourite Tamil rhymes loudly, prompting the fielder to say “urusai yo”.

KCL-Kytes manage a tight win

Loss put paid to Engineers semi-final hopes

By Biju Paul

After riding on a wave of a few impressive wins this season so far, the Engineers lost a match that was very crucial for their qualification for the semi-final of the KCL. The Shizuoka Kytes defeated the Engineers by two wickets on Sunday.

Although it was bright and hot in the morning, the Engineers expected a rain when they saw Silvester sipping his coffee – before time – at the pick up spot at Yoga. Silvester on time…? Something is cooking..! As it turned out, it didn’t rain but the first sight at the Shizuoka ground was a pleasant one for the Engineers. Kytes captain Anton McCloy unable to hold on to himself, staggering all over the ground, which he vows was not because of the previous night’s drinking but five nights before. But their joy was short lived when they saw all others in perfect senses and on their respective legs.

At the toss, yours truly, the captain of the Engineers, called wrong but his counterpart, surprisingly, was able to recognise the correct side of the coin and inserted his opposition. The Engineers hopes of breezing through their opposition vanished quickly in the breeze after Mathew Sharp was able to get some sharp swings in the air. One typical delivery was by which the opener K. Balu was clean bowled by a ball he thought was going out side his leg but came in at the end to uproot his leg stump. In general, Kytes bowling was impressive. They gave away very few extras. In fact, this was the first time ever this correspondent has seen the Kytes fielding with so many close-in fielders and an umbrella like slip cordon. So much for their confidence in their bowlers.

It was a match lost by the Engineers’ inability to score enough runs to defend after being inserted by the Kytes captain. There was no substantial partnership worth its name, there were no big hits. In fact, after 3 wickets were gone for 18 runs in the 5th over, the only point of interest was if the Engineers would be able to establish a new record of scoring more than 99, the highest any team has scored this year against the Kytes, which apparently, they did not. They were all out for 97 in 20.1 overs.

When the Kytes came to bat, the Engineers gave them a tough time, with regularly taking wickets, four of them were sent back for a duck. On two occasions, the Engineers thought they caught two batsmen behind and the entire close-in fielders went up in unison but the umpire thought otherwise. But ultimately, the 26 wides conceded in a total of 38 extras proved decisive while defending a paltry total of 97.

With this, the Engineers are all but out of the KCL. All that they can hope for now is to win a play off later this year to decide the third member of the proposed Division I for 2002.

In all, it was very good game with fortunes swinging either way throughout the innings but at last won by the better team.

Flicx Pitch report

First time ever in Japan

By Biju Paul

For the first time ever, a Flicx pitch(artificial, portable surface) was used in Japan in a KCL match which was played at the Fujinomiya ground, which, incidentally, was also the first time any team played there. Given below is the report sent to the KCL Organising Committee about the Flicx pitch by Biju Paul.

Although it was a good idea in itself to use one and the Indian Engineers were happy to be part of the history(if it is going to the JCA records at all), it wasn’t the ideal day to use it. The wicket was mowed in the morning but it wasn’t enough to keep the grass under the pitch, with more still poking out of the Flicx. Wet ground conditions made it difficult to mow the grass ideally and as such I’m unable to give a true assessment. In my opinion, we should try this pitch on a strip where the grass is cut to the ground level and on a dry day, definitely not on a wet and foggy day(our match report is coming out soon).

One thing worth mentioning here is the fact that shoes with studs cannot be used on this pitch as I found out myself while bowling a few test deliveries. It was slippery and dangerous as such. I’m not sure if it has got anything to do with my studs. My shoes is a local made(Indian) normal bowling shoes. But one mode of dismissal of our opening batsman(Hit Wicket) illustrates the problem more vividly. He said that as he went backfoot, his right leg slipped and hit the wicket dislodging the bail while dispatching the ball to the boundary. It is important to note that he was using the normal sports shoes without studs.

Because of the problem with my studs on the Flicx, we decided to use only half of the Flicx pitch(only at the batting end) which resulted in creating a local and temporary rule that any ball that does not pitch on the Flicx – on the edge or in front of – should be called a noball. However, it made my bowling figures look messy(not that it was any exceptional this season) with as many as 7 noballs off five overs and a total of 17 noballs by our bowlers. Since the middle of the pitch is the perfect spot to pitch the ball if you are looking for a bouncer or short pitched ball, this rule should be done away with. I’m no McGrath to pitch all 6 balls in an over on the exact same spot. In hind sight, the ball pitching on the edge should be called a ‘dead ball'(since it is a bit unpredictable) – nothing else – and all other balls should be valid.

A word about the Fujinomiya ground. The ground has the potential to become a regular venue with proper maintenance and a diagonally laid pitch, which, I was told, may be done by the ground custodians. Currently, the boundaries on the on and off side are too short for a batsman like me!

In conclusion, we should try this on a dry day with the grass cut to the ground level or no grass at all with different types studded shoes. Since this is a popular type of portable pitch, I have a feeling that it cannot be as bad as I made out in this mail.

KCL-Engineers make light of Adore with fastest 50

50 off 4 overs puts things in perspective

By Biju Paul

I guess, in any match involving a Japanese team and an exapt team, the expats, perhaps, are the strong favourites and finally end-up as the winners barring any upsets. The game between the Indian Engineers and Adore on June 23rd Saturday was no exception to this rule. While any victory is welcome, whoever may be the opposition, my concern about the Kanto Cricket League(KCL) is that from next season onwards we will be seeing a Division I consisting of only expat teams and a Division II consisting mostly of Japanese teams and a few unfortunate ‘gaijin teams’ who are the lesser mortals of the expats. Is that what we are looking for?

Coming back to the match, Engineers were happy to be part of the history of Japanese cricket to be the first team to play on the Flicx pitch. For a report on the Flicx pitch, click here. The drizzle in the morning had left the pitch wet and there always was a threat of rain. After winning the toss(a jan-ken-po had to be done to decide who to call the toss), yours truly put the opposition into bat hoping to knock the Japanese out in less than 25 overs and notch up the required runs in even less number of overs there by avoiding rain. However, the Adore turned out to be tough customers and it is to their credit that they batted well into the 39th over to score 137 runs, 47 of which was scored by their master batsman, Mr. Extras. This included 17 no balls, thanks to the new rule we created at the start of the match in order to use the Flicx pitch.

The most interesting part of the match was when an uninvited guest visited us. The Fog. This forced the umpire to offer lights to the batsmen in the morning session! But they refused and the play continued.

The Engineers sent in Rajat Khanna, a hard-hitting middle order batsman to open the innings along with the regular opener, Sanjeeb Sahoo. This meant that Prasad Pooppully be sent at number 3, instead of opening. The openeres went about their task in a brisk fashion scoring 50 in just 4 overs, which may be a record of sorts. The bowler who suffered most was Hashimoto, who conceded 37 in his first two overs, what eventually turned out to be his only spell.

While Rajat did what he was supposed to do with aplomb, I guess, Prasad was a little upset not being considered as a “hard-hitter”. When he went out to bat, he batted with a vengeance as if to prove a point or two. No prices for guessing who suffered. He did show us that he was capable of hitting hard. He pulled. He drove. All with certainty. What took the cake was the neatly hit six over long on, which, incidentally, was the only six of the match. Prasad remained undefeated with 27 runs when we won the match in the 18th over.

As if it knew of the victory, the unwanted guest came back again for the second time within minutes of close of play, this time thicker and permanently, making any further play impossible, if we were to. That would have meant that the match be abandoned and the two teams share the points, which would have been a travesty of justice. Anyway, the Lady Luck was with the Engineers, probably because of the excess number of bachelors in the team.

On the way back, in a beer drinking ceremony in the team bus(a 10 seater van in which, at times, we pack up to 13 human beings), Man of the match was awarded to Sanjeeb Sahoo for his 37 and 3 wickets.

For those who don’t know yet, our Statistics are available here. Sriram Sampath leads the pack with an astonishing average of 97.7!

(FG)Sriram helps Engineers defeat YC&AC with a century

Oh, What a Win!Sriram scores his first century

By Prasad Pooppully

The Enginners defeated YC&AC at the YC&AC ground close to Yokohama on Saturday, 10th June, for the first time. And what an occassion the classy Sriram Sampath chose to score the first century of his cricketting career, something which he has been threatening to do for the past few seasons.

Thanks to the absence of Silvester, all the IECC players reached the ground well before 10:30. Although the match was supposed to start at 11:00, it started at 11.15 – still on schedule by Indian standards. The ground was beautiful and lush green with about 2 inches of grass all over the place, even tempting many to take diving catches during practice. The weather was cloudy but it was pleasant for a good game of cricket.

Yet again, I am told, the rotation policy had to be used to select the eleven out of 16 available players. Biju won the toss, 3rd time in a row this season, and elected to bat. Yours truly opened the batting with Sunil, the star and steady IECC opener. He played cool while at the other end I was struggling to read the line of Mark Ferris, their opening quickie. Engineers lost their first wicket at the score of 13 when I was caught brilliantly at short mid wicket of a shot which unfortunately stuck to the outstretched left hand of the fielder who was in a close catching position, depriving a long first wicket partnership. Vishwa walked in but, before he could get in terms with the bowling of opening bowlers Mark and Kamaran, was out without scoring. He got an inner edge on to his stumps of a Kamaran delivery. Score 14/2 in the 7th over. In came the tall standing Sriram Sampath to join Sunil. And what a memorable innings this man played! As usual, he took quite few deliveries to get off the mark. But once he got going, there was no stopping.

Sriram was timing the ball perfectly and in his company Sunil also began to accelerate the scoring. Sriram went uppish many times both on the on and the off side and clearing the boundaries at ease. While the action was happening at one end, the other end was held tightly by Sunil who deserves a praise for keeping his cool and taking singles and twos and punishing the lose deliveries. Between the two, a real partnership (stop thinking guys, I meant Cricket partnership) was building. At the half way stage(20 overs) the score read 78/2. Given the opponents, this did not look very comfortable but in the circumstances we could not have hoped for better. The drinks break must have affected Sunil’s concentration and he was out caught and bowled to a tired looking short. Sunil scored 41 and more importantly held the innings together and put on 70 runs for the third wicket. Solid batting – no wonder he shares the same first name with the legendary Gavaskar.

Rajat Khanna, a debutant for the Engineers, joined Sriram and the two kept the scorers busy. Rajat hit some powerful shots but did not last too long. Sriram was becoming increasingly menacing for the YC&AC bowlers. But the stick was reserved for Alok Rakyan, the spin bowler who was thrashed for four consecutive boundaries by Sriram, on either side of the wicket with the result that bowler changed the bowling from Spin to Pace, with some success too. Rajat in the meantime fell to Alok’s bowling caught at deep gully. He had scored 10 and together with Sriram put on 41 runs for the forth wicket. So dominating was Sriram that Rajat accounted for only a quarter share of the partnership. Ashok, the star from Fuji match against Sri Lankan Lions, replaced Rajat but was out the very first ball he faced. The interesting thing about that dismissal was that everything was same except for the batsman and his score- it was the same ball, same shot, same fielder at the same position! Things looked different all of a sudden. Engineers 125/5 at more than halfway stage, Alok on a hat-trick and a pall of gloom fell on Biju’s face. But the only respite was Sriram was going great guns. Next man Ganesh Tajave avoided the hat-trick and did his bit by giving Sriram good company and rotating the strike. Jagan joined Sriram after the fall of Ganesh’s wicket and I think this was the most entertaining period of the innings. Sriram was in full flow and the two put on a 50+ run partnership for the 6th wicket. Sriram picked up momentum and he moved into the 90s with couple of fours and sixes. While his score was at 98, he hit a six which fell right over the scorers’ tent, to make sure we were scoring correctly. What a way to bring up the first century of his career! We are all sure that there is many more to follow. This is also the first century by any IECC player. Sriram exemplified the phrase Fortune favours the brave and took chances in hitting the bowlers all over the ground.

Unfortunately, he fell victim to the local rule at YC&AC(rule to protect the neighbourhood from flamboyant batsmen where a batsman will be declared out if the fence was cleared on one side of the ground, which in other ground would have been 6 runs instead). This rule was known to us at the start itself and to most of us it didn’t matter -But not Sriram, who was timing the ball so well that he had to check his shots from one particular end to avoid being caught by that rule I am sure he is pleased with the way he got out. I am sure that Kamaran who got quite a bit of stick from Sriram was relieved in getting Sriram out although he did not deserve the wicket. In his knock of 104 he hit 10 fours and 4 sixers. And what a knock it was – a really memorable one!

YC&AC were wrong when they thought, if at all they did, that after Sriram was gone they could wipe the tail and prevent additional damage. Biju and Ashok Sharma fell victims while trying to accelerate the score which was now past 200. Another entertaining partnership came from the 10th wicket pair. Last man Rahul joined Jagan and the two began hitting the bowlers and clearing the boundaries with ease. As many said, an innings of this order was overdue from Jagan. At the other end Rahul was even more effective and he scored an unbeaten 17 runs off just 8 balls. The pace of scoring was so quick that the scorers themselves had difficulty in keeping pace leave alone the bowlers. Of the final ball of the innings, Jagan was out for 26. The last wicket partnership added 24 runs in less than 3 overs. The final tally at the end of 40 overs was 230 all out which, interestingly, was about 30 runs more than the team’s target score of about 200 at the beginning of the match. Although at midway stage there were even talks of 160 ~180 being good scores. But the final tally was excellent. The highest ever score by the Engineers against any team and the fact that we batted for 40 overs in its entirety is notable.

Any total over 200 against the current bowling attack that the Engineers have is a daunting task. YC&AC openers started well by unsettling the opening bowlers with a couple of well hit fours before Ashok Kumar struck back by unsettling the off stump of one of the openers with a quickie. In came Kamaran, the pillar of YC&AC batting. He looked good especially on the offside and some of the drives through cover/point were of top quality. Meanwhile Ashok produced a delivery which took the edge of the other opener’s bat and was travelling like a bullet over slips, but Sriram plucked it from the air at slips but not before the ball bounced a couple of times off his hands. A super catch! This brought Mark, the other batsman on whom YC&AC depended a lot to get them through such situations. The two batsman batted sensibly and got the score to 85/2 at the half way stage which compared well with the IECC score of 78/2 at the same point. Soon after the break, Mark mis-hit a Rajat delivery and the ball ballooned behind the wicket. Sriram ran from the slip position shouting “Mine”, to the square leg area to take the catch comfortably. A pricey wicket and what can be called the turning point of the match, especially after the century he scored in one of their previous matches. However, Kamaran, undeterred by the loss of Mark, continued to put pressure on the bowlers with some exquisite shots off back foot. But Biju brought in the man of the day – Sriram to fire in his deliveries. And so he did – one of which sent Kamaran’s middle stump cartwheeling, which prompted the ‘keeper Sunil to describe it as the ‘ball of the century’. Kamaran had scored 41 and he was the top scorer for YC&AC. With that wicket the match was almost ours and the resistance was fading. From then on YC&AC never looked like winning although some batsman came and hit a few shots here and there.

For a change, the Engineers fielding was good and almost all catches were taken including 3 catches by Sriram himself. Then Ashok Sharma ran out a tail-ender with a direct hit – well, about two yards away from the wicket! Ashok Kumar picked up 3 wickets while Ashok Sharma took 2 in 3 overs giving away just 13 runs. Rajat got 2, including the prized wicket of Mark. Rahul produced good spell of pace bowling and gave away just 17 runs in 7 overs. What a coincidence he had also scored the same no. of runs that he gave away, with only difference that he scored in 8 balls whereas he gave away in 42 balls. Good performance – Rahul! Vishwa, Ganesh and Jagan – all bowled well but went wicketless.

YC&AC were bowled out for 185 runs in the 38th over of their innings. Giving a victory margin of 45 runs to the Engineers. This is the first ever victory for the Engineers against YC&AC. I heard Biju mentioning that YC&AC were in a losing streak this season and they really were looking forward to defeating us and regaining their winning ways – Now they need to try someone else to reverse their trend.

In the final analysis it was Sunil’s solidity, Sriram’s flamboyance in batting and his outstanding overall performance, Jagan’s controlled aggression and Rahul’s swashbuckling knock at the end and couple of good partnerships that helped in putting up an unbeatable total. I would say, we beat them in all parts of the game – batting, bowling and catching.

Sriram’s century and the win was celebrated at a bar in Yokohama with frozen beer and hot snacks. Such wins and celebrations will soon give Silvester a cause for worry. But I don’t think we should be bothered by it and let’s keep winning. If we bat to our potential and with the current bowling side that we can be proud of, we are no underdogs against any team. Opponents Beware! The Engineers have started winning and we are liking it!

LET’S DO IT AGAIN & AGAIN& AGAIN & A..G..A..IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII..NNNNNNNN

KCL-Engineers start the KCL campaign with a thumping win

Viswa and Sriram score half-centuries

By Prasad Pooppully

IECC beat Wyverns by a margin of 129 runs in its first KCL match of this season. The game was played at the picturesque Shizuoka cricket ground on Saturday, May 26, 2001.

As both the teams were late in arriving at Shizuoka, the match started at around 2 PM. The captains agreed for a 30 Over duel in stead of the usual 40. Biju Paul, captain for IECC, magnanimously refused to accept the offer of Wyverns’s captain to hand-over the toss in favour of IECC, for having arrived a few minutes late. Biju subsequently won the toss and elected to bat first.

Thanks to Robert, the godfather of cricket in Shizuoka who was also the umpire for the match, the wicket was readied immediately after we arrived there. With reports from previous teams about the uneven bounce of the pitch (Silvy- was it, having to dig the ball from the ground or play it over the head), and also to cover the softness due to rain, a mat was laid on the pitch. In spite of this, wicket was slow and some balls kept very low indeed.

Sanjeeb Sahoo and Bhibas Roy opened the innings for IECC. The bowling and the pitch was so slow that the batsman had to wait patiently for the ball. However, Sanjeev (who had earlier lost all of his patience while travelling to Shizuoka, thanks to the traffic jam) was bowled while trying for a big hit and missing the line completely in the 4th over while the score was at 11. One down Viswa Ghosh, who was making his debut for the team, joined Bhibas and the pair put on 60 runs for the 2nd wicket. Sriram, who had a half century already under his belt this season, joined Viswa at the fall of Bhibas’ wicket – caught in the deep with a personal score of 18 – in the 13th over with the team score of 70. And what an onslaught it was! He hit the bowlers all over the place. Both these batsmen sent the ball to the fence/banks of Abekawa regularly and the scores moved rapidly. Sriram capitalised on an early let-off on a miss-hit, never looked back. Vishwa was gaining in strength with his immaculate timing and power. Such was their onslaught that extra fielders(from the batting side!) had to be placed outside the boundary to fetch the ball.

The Wyverns fielding was not at its best. There were few islands of excellence, but they missed couple of chances in the air as well as on the ground, in fact, on one occasion both Sriram and Vishwa were on the same side. This let off, however, did not cost them further as Vishwa got out soon after, to a tired looking shot in the 21st over with the team score at 126. He scored 57 in his first appearance in a league match and the team looks forward to more such innings from him this season. The third wicket partnership also added more than 50 runs. Silvester joined him and continued at his usual pace taking ones and twos. With overs going by, Sriram moved into next gear with more fearsome shots on the on-side. He finally got out at his individual score of 71 but ensuring the team had a fighting total. The forth wicket partnership also lasted for more than 50 runs. These long partnerships were a feature of the IECC innings. The Wyverns must have learnt at least one thing from the match – If you give Sriram a chance then you have no chance.

By the time Sriram got out we were in the slog overs, and everybody who went in tried to make runs as quickly as possible. Every one contributed at the end although none of them had long innings. Santosh did not last long and so did Jagan and Prasad. Silvy continued at the other end showing persistence and occasional flare, and Biju joined him and the pair remained not out with 18 and 4 respectively. The final total was 203/7, with Ashok Sharma and Shafeeq Virani remaining to bat. The fact that 200 plus score was obtained in 30 overs is worth mentioning.

A score of 200 plus, in 30 overs, will put even the mightiest of teams to ponder. Wyverns fended the first over from Biju cautiously with a couple of deliveries that beat the bat. Jagan at the other end was in full fire and got the wicket of the opener by displacing the middle stump. In his next over he had another wicket, Caught and bowled, and what a catch it was – catch of the match! Jagan on his follow through dived forward full stretched and picked the ball inches from the ground close to the short mid-off area.- Superlative performance.

Apart from Biju driving into the concrete bench at the ground and breaking it – may be to put the newly acquired scorers’ box in full use – there was an event in the early overs worth mentioning. A good ball, batsman edged, Sriram, keeping wickets took it on the first bounce and the close-in fielders appealed intuitively and the batsman walked, the umpire also gave him out but, Sriram and some of the players realised that it was taken first bounce and recalled the batsman. Win or lose, it is small events like this that keeps the spirit of the sport flying high. Yet another event was when the fielders felt sorry for a batsman and was consoling him while he was out due to sheer bad luck. The ball pitched on the good length spot, kept low and hit the batsman on his shin or shoes, bang in front of the wicket.

Vishwa again performed well with his bowling skills although he did not get any wickets. The Wyverns never looked like making it anywhere near the IECC total. They were overwhelmed by tight bowling and were just trying to block the balls and delay the eventuality. Shafeeq bowled his left arm off-spinners for which the batsmen had no clue whatsoever. He even picked up two wickets of successive deliveries. Bhibas also bowled a few overs and picked up one wicket. Ashok came into bowl his leg spinners from the other end and he bowled a beauty of a delivery. The batsman was beaten by the spinning delivery and was bowled comprehensively. Santosh and others were trying to name that particular beauty and I am not sure if they finally settled on “Sonali”. Santosh, our Zahir Khan, bowled a few deliveries that beat the bat and kept Sriram busy and one of them had a tip of the bat on its way to Sriram. Sriram’s performance behind the stumps was as good as his performance in front of it while batting. In all, 8 bowlers had the opportunity to bowl and it seems like I forgot to mention about Silvy. He was so upset with the occasional uneven bounce of the pitch that he chose to bowl full tosses instead. Finally, Jagan came for his second spell and wrapped up the innings for 74 runs. He picked up 3 wickets giving away just 7 runs. A winning margin of 129 runs for a 30 over game! An impressive victory even discounting the fact that the opponents were weak.

With Silvi offering to celebrate the winning performance with beers and snacks, and the lovely coconut ladoos from Vishwa’s home (special thanks to his wife- hope such gestures will encourage others too), the trip back to Tokyo was very entertaining. The music was switched off and there was a treat of Anthakshari. The back seaters were doing well and the others were giving a good fight with occasional new lyrics from Ashok. Silvester inspired by the presence of his girlfriend, always pitched in with some romantic numbers. While all this was happening behind, our captain was literally driving us safely leaving behind his mark on the broken bench at Shizuoka- thank you Biju!

Overall, the result of the match made all the difference. It was a great team effort and a good win. To quote the captain, “Well played guys, we should have a similar result next week and in all our matches.”

THREE CHEERS TO IECC. HIP HIP….H..U..R..R..R..A..Y..

Brif Scores: IECC 203/7 in 30 overs(Viswa G. 57, Sriram S. 71) Wyverns 74 all out in 26 overs(Jagan P. 3/7)