Bowlers have a field day
By Partha Sarathi
The Engineers continued their winning note in the second match of the season. It was yet another friendly match against Dragons. Although the match was supposed to start at 9:30 am in the morning and the Engineers were asked to reach the ground at 9 am “sharp” by the new President and Captain (2 in 10 Biju Paul). But it was delayed as the captain himself arrived after 10 though the rest of the team already had arrived and had warm up sessions. Blame it on the navigator!!Biju won the toss, second time in a row in this season. After deciding to test the bowling skills of his new team in the previous game, skipper decided to test his batsmen this time and elected to bat first. The scarcity of good batsmen in the enemy camp probably influenced the decision. Vimal, who scored a half century in the last game opened the inning with Partha, two batsmen the skipper himself earmarked as the regular openers this season. Ashish and Vaibhav opened the bowling attack for Dragons.
The ball moved a little in the beginning and both the batsmen played through the opening spells carefully and concentrated mostly on singles and doubles. While the opening partnership kept flourishing on the field, there were plenty of fun going outside with Santosh and Sangan playing a major part in that. Recent failure of the Indian cricket team in WC and the controversy of too much endorsement and of course “the attitude of the senior players towards the team” were the main topics. In the mean time, Dragons skipper Chaman brought Sandeep was brought into attack, replacing a luckless Ashish. The very first ball from Sandeep found the keeper’s forehead and a subsequent hospital visit caused 14 stitches on his forehead. Thank you Anurag for taking up the translator’s job in the hospital. After couple of unsuccessful overs Sandeep resorted to a clever way of producing the first break through. He removed the bails off at the non-striker end while running to bowl seeing Partha already out of the crease thus making Partha part of the cricket history after the South African Kepler Wessels, who was given out in the same fashion. This ended the 48 run opening partnership and brought Bobby out in the middle joining Vimal. Bobby was in no mood to give Dragons any opportunity to tighten the pressure. His cuts, pulls, aggressive running, kept Dragon at bay and hit a huge six to the delight of the Engineers(obviously!), when the run rate was not up to the mark.
Having a tough time to dislodge the settled Vimal and a free hitting Bobby, Sandeep again played the same trick to get Bobby out. At this moment, things were not friendly anymore, due to constant sledging from some player from Dragon and the dirty tricks played by Dragon bowler to get rid of the batsmen. The Engineers captain had to rush into the field to handle the situation and to control an “emotional” Bobby. After a lot of discussion and arguments, Bobby was given out and the fine, entertaining inning of 31 runs from 26 deliveries came to an abrupt end (later reference to experts reveled that the Partha’s dismissal should have been called no-ball while Bobby’s a dead ball) . The partnership was a huge 88 runs. Soon after, Vimal completed his second half century. Rest of the batsmen also added some valuable runs to help the scoreboard reading 192/6 in 30 overs. New comer but old hand Sandeep Casi showed some glimpses of his talent but by that time the allotted overs had come to an end.
Dragons needed 193 to win in 30 overs which needed a solid opening partnership. But Sangan and Biju, opening the bowling, didn’t have any intention to keep Dragons’ hope alive. They bowled in a tight line and produced early break-throughs. Ashish perished in the second over going for a booming drive off Sangan succeeding only in letting the ball go between his bat and pad to rearrange woodwork. One down Vaibhav then cover drove Biju almost giving a diving Santosh a chance (lack of diving practice!). Vaibhav then flicked the next delivery into hands of Anil at square leg, who could not really hold on to it. But his luck ran out in the third delivery when he was held out in the point by Nissar, giving some respite to the exasperated bowler. Nissar and Ajey then replaced Biju and Sangan which produced immediate results. Nissar’s 3 overs brought 3 wickets, including a hat trick chance while conceding only 5 runs. His bowling figures read 3-0-5-3. The wicket of Sandeep, who could have given the Engineers some hard time, for a duck, caught magnificently by Bobby behind the wicket when the batsmen went for a cut deserves special mention. That reiterated a wide spread belief in the Engineers camp that there no competition for Bobby behind the wicket.
The Dragons were 5 down before the score board accumulated 50. That gave the skipper an opportunity of testing all his armory when it was certain that the Engineers will walk away with the match. All the bowlers got some bowling practice as they were given a quota of two overs each. Dragons reached hundred due to some good batting performance from Chaman who remained not out on 48 while his team collapsed around him. Over all, it was a good outing and both the teams gained some valuable match practice.
Brief scores: IECC 192/6 (30 ov). V Vikrant 52, B Philips 31 Dragons 121 (20 ov). C Jagadeesh 48*, N Ahamed 3/5