Engineers secure their KCL Semi-final berth
Sep 6, 2015
Dark covers of ‘cumulonimbus’ and frequent showers throughout the week cast doubts over the possibility of a KCL match between the Engineers and Serendib on Sunday, 6th September. However, the cricket-hungry players of the two teams decided to take a chance and see what actually happens at the ground itself. Well, the morning looked good as the darks clouds slowly disappeared and a match could be started at 11 am. Due to late start the match was reduced to 35 overs a side affair.
The Engineers started off on a good note with stand-in captain, Biju Paul, calling the correct side of the coin and took the obvious decision to bat first(who will just field in case rain washes of the second half!). The Engineers opener Ashok Kumar got an early reprieve in the 1st over, when a Serendib fielder failed to hold onto a regulation catch. Ashok could not make use of the opportunity for too long and fell to the same bowler (Peshala) in the 3rd over (14/1, Ashoke: 4). However the other opener Asala Wickramasinge (brought into the side after several of the Engineers regulars were unavailable for the match) continued to bat on a positive note in the company of Bidyut Sarkar. While the latter rotated the strike, Asala went for his shots. Asala was particularly severe on Peshala and hit him for two consecutive sixes in the fifth over of the match. The Engineers reached 50 as early as in the 7th over.
Asala continued his onslaught on the change up bowlers as well, hitting the first two balls of Amilendra in the 8th over for a four and six respectively. Against the run of the play, he flicked the third ball to unfortunately pick the square-leg fielder to perfection (62/2, Asala: 33). This brought Dinesh Singh to the crease. He and Bidyut batted sensibly, regularly rotating the strike mixed with occasional boundary. Once again when the Engineers looked in control they lost another wicket. The bowling change worked for Serendib when Bidyut was caught and bowled in the first delivery of Amila (90/3, Bidyut 19). However, Dinesh took the control to himself and hit a boundary to the rope and one over it in the same over. The six also brought the team 100 in the 15th over.
Dinesh and his new partner Rajneesh Shukla, who was promoted up in the order, batted at a brisk pace soon took the team score to 150 in the 21st over. Dinesh also brought up his half-century in same over with a six of Samith. He hit two more boundaries of the next two balls to accumulate a total of 22 runs of the 21st over. The Engineers looked good for a 250+ score. However, for a third time in a row Engineers lost a wicket against the run of the play. Dinesh was caught of the bowling of Sampath in the 23rd over (163/4, Dinesh: 65) while attempting a big shot. Soon after Dinesh’s departure runs dried up due to some very disciplined bowling from rejuvenated Serendib. Rajneesh, who had been playing beautifully till then, also departed at the score of 167 in the 26th over while trying the keep the scoreboard moving (167/5, Rajaneesh: 16). Charan Sidhu also fell in the very next ball (167/6) offering a caught and bowled chance. Bowling change again worked for Serendib as Indika took the wickets of Rajneesh and Charan of the last two balls of his first over. Indika also accounted for Puskar Kaushik in his next over (170/7, Pushkar:1), only to miss hat-trick separated by a wide bowled in between.
The Engineers was once again staring at the season-long (bad-)habit of sudden collapse for nothing (163/3 to 170/7) and handing over the advantage of a good start. However, PK (Prakash Jayara) had other idea. He took the attack the opposition and scored a quick fire 29 of 13 balls including two sixes and three fours. Not to forget, coming at no. 6 at the fall of Dinesh, Anupam Sharma kept his head cool during the collapse from the other end and supported PK well. This ensured that The Engineers crossed 200 during the process (in the 30th over). PK’s entertaining inning was prematurely cut short in the 31st over (212/8) by Dimuth. Anupam also departed in the 33rd over (217/9, Anupam: 12). Biju Paul and Palash tried to play out rest of the overs safely in order to refrain the opposition from getting a point for bowing the opposition out. Unfortunately that was not to happen and Palash got out in the final ball of the innings (223/10, Palash:1).
While Dinesh batted beautifully for 65, significant contributions from others and power-packed 29 from PK ensured The Engineers had a very good score to defend. For Serendib Indika was the pick of the bowler with figures of 5-1-22-3, and was ably supported by Sampath 7-0-38-3. Serendib captain Arosh did not get a wicket but bowled a tight spell of 6-1-15-0. Other bowlers well for plenty with Samith (6-0-63-0) getting the maximum treatment. So far so well, but now The Engineers had other reasons to worry about. The sky started pouring again during the innings break. However, within 15-20 minutes it the intensity decreased to drizzle may be just mild enough to begin the second innings. At least 18 overs were needed to be bowled to make a match out of it.
Team IECC started their bowling with a purpose, bowing very tight lines and fielders moving swiftly during and between the overs. 15 overs were bowled within an hour, which was of course helped by the cautious approach taken by Serendib. Rajneesh (4-0-8-0) and Biju (4-0-12-0) bowled miserly opening spells. Although the two beat the bat of both openers several times the first breakthrough came with bowling change when Dinesh trapped one of their openers in front of the wicket. Still, Serendib continued to play cautiously and the score at the end of 15 overs read 45/1. Even with drizzle continuing incessantly, with just three overs to go The Engineers sensed the match in their pocket at the end of first hour.
Serendib innings got some momentum when they took on Palash, bowling his first ever over for his team, for 20 runs. However, PK once again proved to be a throne in their throat. He hit the timbers thrice to knock Serendib out of the game (PK: 7-0-16-3). Pushkar (6-0-41-1) also chipped in a wicket. With the match already in pocket skipper decided to try out his other bowlers. The move also worked as both Charan (3-0-14-1) and Bidyut (3-0-23-1) contributed with a wicket each. During a complete rout of Serendib only Samith provided some resistance. He took on the bowlers with some power packed strokes to and over the boundary. At the end of 30th over, Engineers still required 2 wickets to bowl out the opposition and earn the bonus point. So skipper decided to stop experimenting and go for the kill and called back Dinesh and PK once again.
Dinesh’s second spell over brought some laughter on the field as well. He wanted to move the fielder Charan, who was fielding on deep cover, a few yards squarer and in, the fielder’s response was a No with a confident statement, “tu tension mat lo, mein catch nahi chodunga”(don’t worry, I won’t drop a catch). As luck would have it, the Samit lifted the very next ball to deep cover where the fielder was asked to stand. Charan tried hard to get hold of the catch but grassed it as he was not in a position to take it. As the frustrated bowler wore a I-told-you-so look, came the response from the fielder, “dobara de do, main nahin chodunga”(try again, I won’t drop again). That brought a lot of chuckle on the field and the fielder moved to the position where he was originally asked to stand. In the next ball it appeared that the bowler and batsman colluded to test the word of the fielder – Dinesh bowls the exact same ball, Samit plays the exact same shot and as the entire team looks on anxiously to see if Charan lives up to his word, he took it with a glee, giving a relief to the bowler and the skipper. The phrase “dobara de do, main nahin chodunga” is being nominated for the Catch Phrase of the Season awards.
Serendib managed 143 in 32.3 overs, thanks to the sole effort from Samith, the last man to be out. The Engineers completed a comprehensive 80-run win with a bonus point.
The rain started to get heavier again, but not before the full match could be completed. From the Engineers Dinesh (for his allround performance) and from Serendib Smaith (for his stroke-filled innings) got the Man of the Match awards (sponsored by SIDO). With two comfortable wins from as many matches team IECC is well on course to the knock-outs ok KCL and looking good for many more.
I Engineers: 223(34.6 ov). Asala 33, Dinesh Singh 63, Indika 3/22, Sampath 3/38
Serendib: 143(32.3 ov). Peshala 35, Samita 39, Dinesh Singh 3/15, Prakash Jayara 3/16