Shailaj and Dinesh help make it 5 in a row over YCAC
By Sanjeeb Sahoo
A late call from the YCAC had the Engineers skipper, yours truly, scamper for a quickly assembled team. Given that the Engineers had 100% win record over YCAC in their last four encounters, your writer was cautiously optimistic of making it five in a row, but he was also aware of the rival captain Karman’s ability to gather quality players and leveraging the home advantage well. The team had at least 5 players playing first time at this ground as the older regular players chose summer vacation, some also had complained that the heat these days turning their hair white 🙂
Sanjeeb lost the toss and expectedly Kamran choose to bat first. Rajneesh was given the responsibility to attack from the pool-end while south-paw, Karthik, from the far-end. YCAC openers Mark and Anton started cautiously but soon started opening up their shoulders from the 3rd over onwards seeing that the pitch has nothing to offer to the bowlers and balls coming nicely to the bat. Rajneesh was not getting the swing he normally gets as the ball(BDM) was not of good quality, apparently. He was replaced by Anurag who was instructed to bowl full length with all the pace he has, that which restricted the scoring from one end. But Anton was in a very aggressive mood and was clearing the rope almost at will. Sensing danger, captain brought himself to try and remove the batman with some planned bowling and un-orthodox field placement. He finally succeeded to get Anton to edge one to the short third man where Anurag took a well judged catch. Anurag who also got tired quickly from bowling full throttle was also replaced by Dinesh, who just arrived(late by an hour)from the other end. He replied the night duty related questions(taunts?) 🙂 from his team-mates well with a brilliant first over. He used all his previous experience at YCAC and bowled his 8 overs on the trot from the pool-end while bowlers kept changing at the far-end. At the Drinks the score was 145/1.
After the drinks on the 20th over YCAC tried to step on the gas pedal a little more, but Dinesh clean-bowled Mark with a Malinga-like yorker, not relying on the sleepy catchers who had already missed several chances. That brought part-time Engineer, Prashant Kale, to face his own team-mates in other matches and scoring rate even accelerated further as both Kamran and Kale made sure they take at least 12 in an over. However in the 27th over Dinesh’s brilliant throw found Kamran short of his ground and that brought down the scoring rate a little bit. Rajneesh also removed Kale with a similar direct throw in the 30th over and then removed batsman no. 5 in the next over, skipper taking a sharp catch at the short leg. These quick wickets restricted YCAC to 307 otherwise the score would have been around 350.
YCAC must have thought that they had an un-beatable score and some of their players even started relaxing with beer during lunch break. They never knew what was coming up in the afternoon. With only regular opener in Shailaj being present, captain checked with couple of guys if they would like to open, only Kaushik was enthusiastic about it. Also he being a lefty captain thought it is worth a try. Both batsmen started steadily, running between the wickets was bit of a problem as both batsmen are not the quickest when it comes to it. With the score around 30+ by the 5th over captain asked Shailaj to be more aggressive as the ball was not doing much and the next over changed the complexion of the game. 22 runs were taken out of Prashant’s over which had 5 boundaries in it(never play against your own mates, Prahant 🙂 ). Shailaj hitting 3 of those and rest Kaushik. Runs started flowing after that with at least 8 in an over with Shailaj unleashing his whole range of shots. YCAC must have regretted not being able to hold on to couple of sharp chances that came in their way initially. Kaushik got out when the score read 103, but by that time the Engineers were on top. Dinesh fighting with the cold he contracted from late night party at Roppongi went in wearing a jacket in the hot sunny day. He was a bit shaky to begin with, to the screwed-up bowling of Kamran. But captain gave Dinesh few yoga tips during the drinks break to bring down the fever immediately and after that balls started disappearing all around the park.
Shailaj reached the milestone of 100 first. His innings was filled with 15 boundaries that included copybook shots and was a treat to watch. Diensh was around 60 at that time. Shailaj was looking exhausted by then and captain sent a message asking Shailj not to throw away his wicket and let Dinesh to take the chances. Karthik who has been the scorer all these time was not letting the batsmen fall behind the required rate by advising them the exact no. of runs needed in each over. About 60 runs were needed in last 10 overs and Dinesh exploded with couple of huge sixes, one of them when he was on 99 to reach his 100 in style. Then both batsmen threw caution to the wind and overcame the score in 5 overs. Both batsmen remained not out at the same personal milestone of 113. Engineers celebrated the great victory, which was their 5th straight win over YCAC with some beer, orange juice and pizza and ended the day on a high note. Thanks to the sponsors Dinesh, Shailaj, Anurag and Karthik. Brief scores:
YCAC 307/5 (40 ov). Prashant Kale 78*, Anton 62 IECC 308/1(35 ov). Shailaj 113*(15×4), Dinesh 113*(9×4, 5×6)