Skipper’s all round performance seals the match
By Anurag Singh
The engineers headed off to Shizuoka early morning to play their first game against Nagoya. With Bobby ‘Sobers’ (he has given up booze, believe me) behind the wheel, as expected, we reached the ground a good a good thirty minutes early. The Nagoyans had already laid down the pitch by then, and the venerable Robert-Gills Martineau, probably the only lively French human being on earth as the umpire for the game, was trimming the grass.
The weather was perfect for a nice cricket game and it did turn out to be a good one. Sanjeeb, the Chaser(?), won the toss and decided to field first, no surprises there. The captain gave the new ball to Vimal and Anurag. Vimal started the proceedings from the bridge end with his off spinners and got the opening batsmen trapped in front on his first legal delivery. He bowled with great accuracy and had batsmen in trouble all the while. He got another success after a couple of overs as he trapped the opposition team’s captain Saqib in front of the wicket. Anurag was denied a wicket because of a dropped catch in his first over but after that he produced no chances. He also bowled a few wides, although some of them were pretty harsh decisions, so the bowler says. After the first ten overs the captain threw the ball to Dinesh while he himself joined from the other end.
They bowled great in tandem and kept troubling the batsmen every now and again. Both of them bowled with great accuracy, giving very few wides and asked a lot of questions. Sanjeeb soon got rid of both settled batsmen, Raja and Shehenshah. The latter was caught beautifully by Dinesh at first slip. After the drinks break the captain called back Vimal for the second spell and he responded by disturbing Ali’s timber with a beautiful flighted delivery. Dinesh also got into the act by getting rid of Gul and Butt. And later, Raju and Anurag cleared the tail by picking one wicket each, ensuring no comeback from the Nagoya batsmen unlike previous games. The Nagoyans were bundled out for 167 in 30 odd overs, with extras being the highest scorer at 46. There were a few dropped chances but the ground fielding was of pretty good quality. There were some very good diving efforts by Javed, Masood Jholi and Dinesh. Sobers was initially a bit rusty behind the stumps but changed back to his usual agile self later in the game. He managed to pull off a blinder off Dinesh’s bowling which, alas, was turned down by the umpire. All the other fielders did a good job too.
Vimal and Viswa opened the batting for the engineers and were going slow and steady. Vimal looked in good touch as he played a spanking straight drive which almost took away RGM’s head with it. But he soon fell for a rash shot, scooping the ball in the gully region. Vijender walked in to replace him. Both the batsmen played some good shots but were unable to find gaps through the packed off side field. And they both fell in succession to some caught behind decisions, which left the engineers at 37 for 3. In walked Raju and Dinesh to replace them. Raju was his usual aggressive self as he hit a big six over over the long leg region, but soon fell to Hasrat trying to smack him over his head(too aggressive maybe).
Dinesh on the other hand, played magnificently giving no chances to the opposition. He cracked a couple of spanking back foot drives through cover off Shaheen, their premier bowler. Hasrat picked up his 4th wicket in the form of Anurag who had a brief partnership with Dinesh and then 5th on the next ball as he trapped Javed in front of the wicket. In walked Sanjeeb, who along with Dinesh steadied the innings. Together, they piled up 47 runs for the 8th wicket. Dinesh’s wicket was probably the most dramatic and controversial one(believe me there were others). After defending the ball, he got out of the crease to pick up the ball and give it to the keeper, but the keeper purposely outran him and then threw the ball on the stumps, before he could get back. The Nagoyans started appealing and Vijender (Harish Chandra), the leg umpire, had no option but to raise his finger. The decision was correct but was it the correct sportsmanship? Jholi walked in after the whole drama and played sensibly along with Sanjeeb. They both played good shots, aggressive when necessary and took Engineers home.
The chase may not have been convincing but still a win is a win. Great way to begin this years KCL campaign. P.S. If you don’t like the nicknames you got, I can think of some better ones 🙂
Brief scores: Nagoya 166(29.5 overs). Shahensha Hussain 34, V Vikrant 3/40, S Sahoo 3/28. IECC 169/8 (33 overs). S Sahoo 41*, Hasrat Ali 4/41. Scorecard