Engineers claim Friendship Cup

YC&AC skipper’s century goes in vain

By Anurag Singh

The Engineers continued their winning streak with their fifth consecutive win this season. With this, the Engineers have wrested the Friendship Cup, a friendly series that  was started in 2008 between the two teams, and extended their domination overt YC&AC to four. The game was played at the YC&AC ground. With both teams looking to beat the heat and trying to avoid fielding first, Prashant, YC&AC’s stand-in captain, called it right and decided to bat first. With temperatures soaring well above 30 degrees, the Engineers started their attack with the experienced duo of Biju and Ashok.

    It only took an over for Biju to send back the opening batsman Kumara, who trying to up the ante, ended up giving a lolly to Masood at mid-on, who never drops any. A couple of overs later, new Engineer Mohibul was asked to replace Biju, who started generating pretty serious pace from the beginning. Mohibul took out the other opener with a good yorker, which brought YC&AC’s best batsman and captain, Prashant, in. After that, Dinesh and Anurag started attack from the respective ends. Anurag took out the aggressive Chandana with a bouncer, Ashok taking the catch at fine-leg. In the same over, another slower one took out the leg stump of the new batsman, Richard, who was trying to duck thinking it was a beamer. The scoreboard read 69/3 after 13 overs. After the fall of these few quick wickets, YC&AC’s new recruit, Amila(ex-SL Lion), joined Prashant in the middle. Both batsman started building partnership, playing sensibly, mixing aggression with caution without taking unnecessary risks. Both batsmen, after seeing off the main bowlers and getting their eye in, started taking their chances. Prashant hit a couple of consecutive sixes off Kamal. After a big partnership of 131 runs, Amila fell to Naveen trying to accelerate after his half-century, caught at long-on by Naveen. The scoreboard read 200/4 after 30 overs. After that, Engineers were able to restrict YC&AC to 267, with the help of some useful death bowling especially by Mohibul. Prashant, their star batsman stayed unbeaten at 112*. The conditions were not favorable but the Engineers should have restricted YC&AC to a much lower score looking at their bowling strength. Overall fielding was pretty good which is a big positive. There were a couple of dropped chances but those were really difficult catches. New keeper Silvester was a sight of improvement behind the wicket. He’s a complete natural, he just hadn’t realised his hidden talent earlier.

     The Engineers started their chase with Masood and Ashok. Masood fell early to a quicker one by Brent, with the score reading only 3. The newbie Naveen came in and was looking in good touch, before he lofted one straight to Prashant at mid-on off Amila. The scoreboard read 7 for 2 after 4 overs. Dinesh walked in to join Ashok, who was steady at the other end. Both of them started building the crucial partnership. Ashok played a couple of beautiful and powerful cuts to YC&AC’s best bowler, Amila. Dinesh survived a couple of chances, thanks to YC&AC’s poor fielding, and started playing cautiously thereafter. Ashok played an absolute cameo, dealing mostly in boundaries. He looked and played solid throughout. Both the batsmen completed their half centuries and took the total past hundred. After drinks, Ashok fell to Sanjay, trying to up the run rate. This was the biggest partnership of the game, at 133 runs. Dinesh fell soon after, mishitting a long hawk by Tim. The score at that point was 162 for 4.

     With another 100+ runs to go, the run rate was touching 8. After this, Engineers captain Sanjeeb steadied the ship with Vezly with a 25 run partnership. After Vezly fell down trying to accelerate, Anurag joined Sanjeeb for another useful 30 run partnership. Anurag fell the same way as Vezly with the score reading 217 with 7 overs to go. Sanjeeb on the other hand was hitting the ball well. He hit a couple of big sixes before getting caught at long-off after a well paced 31, with Chandana taking a superb catch. At this point the Engineers needed another 39 runs with 5 overs to go. Silvester and Mohibul contributed with another meaningful partnership. After Silvester fell, Engineers needed another 29 with only two wickets in hand and less than 4 overs to go. Kamal who was playing with the season ball after ages, joined Mohibul in the middle. The next over by Brent was the turning point of the game, both Mohibul and Kamal took a six each, both straight bat proper cricket shots right over the bowler’s head. The run rate eased down a bit but Mohibul fell soon after that, which brought Biju to the crease. Run rate wasn’t a big problem anymore but all of Engineers hopes lied with Biju. Biju rotated the strike right away. In the next over Biju flicked one to the boundary to level the scores and the winning run was scored by way of a wide. It was an impressive batting performance by the Engineers to chase down 260+. The best part was that it wasn’t a one man show and everyone contributed. Special thanks to Mohan for being such a good sport. He fielded as a sub in the scorching heat and later umpired the whole innings.

Brief scores: YC&AC 267/5. Prashant Kale 112*, Amila 51, Anurag 2/37 IECC 268/9 38.4 ov). Dinesh 64, Ashok 54, Sanjeeb 31