Post record 9th loss of the season
By Sanjeeb Sahoo
Alhough Biju managed to put together 10 names for the team, on the match day we only had 9 players, 3 of them being debutants and new prospects for the next season. In absence of captain, vice captain and assistant vice captain, Biaksh Mohanty, the next in line of the throne, was handed over the difficult task of turning the fortune of the Engineers, who has until the day posted a record 8 losses, around. This makes me wonder if it is at all possible to have a more regular captain. Looking couple of years back, there was hardly any need of a vice captain.8 of us left Tokyo around 8:30 AM but due to huge traffic on Tomei we reached Shizouka around 12:30PM. Sandeep Balaji had made the wise choice to use the train and was the only Engineer to reach ground in time. Number of overs were reduced to 30, drinks and lunch breaks were cancelled.
Stand-in skipper Bikash won the toss and decided to have the first use of the just rolled out flicx. Anil and Sangan opened the batting and did well to survive a hostile opening spell from Sharpe and a more friendly Chamberlain. But attempting a misjudged 2nd run, Sangan got run out on the last ball of the 8th over. By that time he has scored a solid(!) 12 and was looking good for many more. Sanjeeb walked back as soon as he walked in, attempting his favourite leg glance, ball hitting the edge of the bat and looped in the air towards the bowler, where Nick made no mistake hanging on to a simple catch. Udayaraj was the next man in and started batting in his natural aggressive style. Runs were coming easily at that point, but soon misfortune struck the Engineers. Another run out , and Anil was on the receiving end this time. Raju went in and was welcomed by a hostile over from Ashley. Ryan was also bowling well from the other end and Raju eventually edged one to the keeper. Bikash was next man in and it was immediately apparent that he was out of game for couple of months, but was lucky to survive several close calls. Raj on the other end continued to play aggressive and eventually miss hit a short pitched delivery from Ryan, and a simple catch was taken at midwicket. Nitin Dafraik walked in and after a shaky start gathered confidence and played confidently for rest of his innings. Bikash and Nitin partnered well to see us past 100, both hitting couple of good boundaries in the process. However Bikash’s luck finally ran out as he edged an swinging Ashley delivery to the keeper. At this point Kytes skipper Neil showed the magnitude of his magnanimity by letting any two batsmen to bat again to compensate for the two missing batsmen in the lineup. Sanjeeb and Raju were chosen and were advised to go for big hits. Knowing that there are 3 more wickets to follow, Nitin tried to accelerate the score and hit few boundaries before getting out LBW to Ashley. Sandeep followed and hit a superb straight drive, but only to see a superb return catch taken by the bowler Shoaib, who normally drops simpler chances. Bad luck Sandeep! Sanjeeb went in again and was standing at the bowler’s end only to witness Jayesh getting out LBW. Raju went in and was lucky to be still standing at the end of that over. Sanjeeb on the other end went for the big hits and got bowled after hitting couple of boundaries. The Engineer ended up with 148, extras being the top scorer followed by Raj and Nitin. Thanks Neil for the gesture.
Sangan and Raju opened the bowling attack for us. Offside was packed with 5 fielders while only 2 fielders servicing the leg side. Both opening bowlers bowled controlled deliveries with pace and swing, but Sharpe and Chamberlain made good use of their feet to hit boundaries at will. Also lack of fielders meant that any ball on the leg side is asking for trouble, also it meant several catching chances being dropped. In several occasions Sangan caused much trouble for both batsmen, and was finally rewarded with Chamberlain’s wicket, who had to walk to a controversial LBW decision. After that, no more wickets came the Engineer’s way for very a long time. Sharpe and Ashley had a good partnership and Sharpe, as usual, was severe on all the bowlers. Finally Raju had Ashley, caught at long on, and Sandeep bowled Sharpe out on 61 , but by that time Kytes were already in a position from which they could not loose. Sandeep in his next over had Prelis caught at mid off ,thanks to a good jumping catch by Sanjeeb. Jayesh got Ryan bowled in the next over and in the process showed some good potential as a bowling talent. Nick came in next, and made sure that Kytes are home safely without loosing any more wickets. Afterwards we joined Kytes for a drink at the Kytes home restaurant, and had some good discussion about some key points of the game. Nick Shannon, as usual, was at his best at the drinking session and named Bikash, Cat and fed him fish. The way back was also packed with traffic and we managed to reach Tokyo around 11PM. This was record 9th loss for us in this season and the team think tank must do some brain storming to pull the team out of this new low.
Brief scores: IECC 148(27.3 ov). Udayaraj 24, A Harvey 3/22 S Kytes 149/5(20 ov). M Sharpe 62, A Harvey 34