50 off 4 overs puts things in perspective
I guess, in any match involving a Japanese team and an exapt team, the expats, perhaps, are the strong favourites and finally end-up as the winners barring any upsets. The game between the Indian Engineers and Adore on June 23rd Saturday was no exception to this rule. While any victory is welcome, whoever may be the opposition, my concern about the Kanto Cricket League(KCL) is that from next season onwards we will be seeing a Division I consisting of only expat teams and a Division II consisting mostly of Japanese teams and a few unfortunate ‘gaijin teams’ who are the lesser mortals of the expats. Is that what we are looking for?
Coming back to the match, Engineers were happy to be part of the history of Japanese cricket to be the first team to play on the Flicx pitch. For a report on the Flicx pitch, click here. The drizzle in the morning had left the pitch wet and there always was a threat of rain. After winning the toss(a jan-ken-po had to be done to decide who to call the toss), yours truly put the opposition into bat hoping to knock the Japanese out in less than 25 overs and notch up the required runs in even less number of overs there by avoiding rain. However, the Adore turned out to be tough customers and it is to their credit that they batted well into the 39th over to score 137 runs, 47 of which was scored by their master batsman, Mr. Extras. This included 17 no balls, thanks to the new rule we created at the start of the match in order to use the Flicx pitch.
The most interesting part of the match was when an uninvited guest visited us. The Fog. This forced the umpire to offer lights to the batsmen in the morning session! But they refused and the play continued.
The Engineers sent in Rajat Khanna, a hard-hitting middle order batsman to open the innings along with the regular opener, Sanjeeb Sahoo. This meant that Prasad Pooppully be sent at number 3, instead of opening. The openeres went about their task in a brisk fashion scoring 50 in just 4 overs, which may be a record of sorts. The bowler who suffered most was Hashimoto, who conceded 37 in his first two overs, what eventually turned out to be his only spell.
While Rajat did what he was supposed to do with aplomb, I guess, Prasad was a little upset not being considered as a “hard-hitter”. When he went out to bat, he batted with a vengeance as if to prove a point or two. No prices for guessing who suffered. He did show us that he was capable of hitting hard. He pulled. He drove. All with certainty. What took the cake was the neatly hit six over long on, which, incidentally, was the only six of the match. Prasad remained undefeated with 27 runs when we won the match in the 18th over.
As if it knew of the victory, the unwanted guest came back again for the second time within minutes of close of play, this time thicker and permanently, making any further play impossible, if we were to. That would have meant that the match be abandoned and the two teams share the points, which would have been a travesty of justice. Anyway, the Lady Luck was with the Engineers, probably because of the excess number of bachelors in the team.
On the way back, in a beer drinking ceremony in the team bus(a 10 seater van in which, at times, we pack up to 13 human beings), Man of the match was awarded to Sanjeeb Sahoo for his 37 and 3 wickets.
For those who don’t know yet, our Statistics are available here. Sriram Sampath leads the pack with an astonishing average of 97.7!