Engineers and YC&AC start a new era of friendship
Begin an annual one-match series By Sanjeeb Sahoo This marked the beginning of a new yearly one-match series with YC&AC and adds to YC&AC’s existing other annual series with KRAC, Kobe and the Sri Lankan Lions. For the Engineers, this adds to their existing friendship series called Pacific Friendship Cup with the Shizuoka Kytes, which has now expanded to include 6 other teams on a rotation basis. As usual, there is always trouble getting a decent eleven but Sanjeeb finally managed to get an eleven on Friday evening after some frantic phone calls. It was overloaded with batsmen and lacked a few bowling options. The weather was looking doubtful, though it was not raining in the morning of Sunday.
YC&AC won the toss and elected to bat first. Captain and Vice captain thought it will be good to start the bowling with spin due to the nature of the wicket. Vimal started the bowling and it was obvious from the first over that the strategy is working. Dinesh from the other end was bowling with pace and variation. With the field set to perfection, runs were hard to come by and the pressure started taking a toll on the batsmen. Vimal had his first victim getting the batsman to push at one of his carrom balls. “Sharp Catch” , thought the captain, as soon as Satosh managed to save his face at slip 🙂 Next one was a beauty. Dangerous Avinash danced down the track to smack Vimal into the swimming pool, only to find the ball spin at 15 degrees, Rasib behind the stump was quick enough and even before Avinash realized that he was outside, the bails were removed.
Next came in skipper Kamran and started hitting some splendid drives and square cuts and was threatening to take the game away from us. But Sanjeeb cut his stay short by devising a strategy that was executed to perfection. Santosh again took a good catch at slip. Don’t recall seeing so many catches taken at slip in recent years. At this stage the Engineers were on top, but next batsman Prashant Kale had other plans in mind. Missing chances also did not help our cause. We gave him at least five lives and he survived till the end scoring a splendid century and taking the score to 268 in 40 overs.
Madhu can be considering most unlucky bowler here, most of the catches that came off his bowling were dropped. Though the score was looking daunting, we had still hopes of winning given that we had a strong batting side with former national player Sriram back in the team. But as soon as we finished the lunch break it started pouring down. Strategic decision was taken to push Vimal and Sriram down the order hopping the weather might improve latter, though it never did.
Santosh and Masood started the proceedings. However Massod edged a beautiful out-swinger from Kamran and had to leave immediately. Dinesh, pushed up the order replaced him and started steadily. It was Santosh who decided to take the heat to the opposition. His Sehwag style lofted straight drives were a treat to watch and Kamran was on the receiving end of it. Runs were flowing freely at that stage, when rain started coming down really heavy and umpires decided to stop the play till it slows down a bit. We resumed after 15 minutes, but the break caused some loss in concentration and we lost 3 quick wickets . Dinesh, Santosh and Nitin got out in the span of 2 overs and balance shifted towards YC&AC. Vimal and Sanjeed started cautiously , too cautiously that the runs only came in odd singles which helped mount run rate steadily. Sanjeeb got out eventually failing to read an off cutter from the bowler. Sriram walked in and the difference between form and class was visible immediately.
As the old saying goes “form is temporary, while class is permanent.” Sriram playing after almost a year, showed no sign of nerve or loss of form, and started timing the ball beautifully. Seeing this, Vimal on the other end grew in confidence and also started taking few risks. The runs started flowing freely again. But the rain kept pouring, visibility kept worsening and the outfield kept slowing down. More than 100 run partnership between Vimal and Sriram saw us cruising towards the respectable 200 runs mark. About 70 runs were required in last 8 overs. At this stage ground was completely wet and the pitch was like a small swimming pool. Ball was not rising at all. We could have stopped the play if we wanted, but we kept playing just for the spirit of the game.
The conditions eventually denied us the win as we lost quick wickets, more due to the conditions than the bowling attack. Finally we managed 222/10 in 37 overs which under the circumstances can be considered a great score. Even the opposition appreciated the effort. Considering the weather and the way we managed to finish the game, I think it is fare to say that the spirit of cricket was the winner on that day. The game was played in a very friendly atmosphere and there were no conflicts to be noted. We attended the dinner and prize giving ceremony and thanked YC&AC for organizing the event and the beginning of a new era of friendship.
Vimal was adjudged man of the match from our side and Prashat Kale from YC&AC side. Both received a champagne bottle each.