IECC prepared hard for this match with couple of practice sessions at home ground Koga. In addition President and strike bowler Biju was seen jogging 10 km in the morning and Captain Sanjeeb seen exercising hard at the Gym everyday to be able to bowl again. Raju almost didn’t eat anything for an entire month so that his hunger for run stays intact. While Kamal reduced smoking by 50%, Dinesh did not pick any mysterious phone calls that could turn out to be energy swapping in the end
IECC won the toss and elected to field first. Biju soon trapped Alkaram captain Javed plumb in-front of the stump with a well disguised slower delivery on his 2nd over. However the other opener Chula was hitting the ball nicely and wasn’t giving any respect to any of the IECC bowlers. Alkaram raced to 93 on the 8th over and were 107/1 by the end of 9th over.
Raju was brought into the attack and Sanjeeb decided to give it a try from the other end , after not bowling for the entire season due to a shoulder injury. Luckily the slow bowling worked and Sanjeeb managed to remove Chula with a flighted delivery. Raju had 2 quick wickets in his next over and the momentum slowly shifted towards IECC. Dinesh also contributed with couple of wickets towards the end but Alkaram managed to post decent score of 221 before getting all out on the 32nd over. Masood bowling the 32nd had his revenge when he clean bowled Omar on the 2nd ball after getting hit for a six on the first ball. Silvester as usual did a great job again behind the stumps.
Ageo ground is normally a high scoring ground. Though IECC would have liked to restrict Alkaram below 200 they seemed pretty happy chasing 222 given that they had a packed batting line up.
However Alkaram bowlers mainly the openers Chula and Yasheen bowled a fantastic opening spell to took the game away from us.While Yasheen was really good with his line and length and was managing some swing, Chula’s raw pace and bounce was disconcerting to most of our batsmen. Masood fell soon trying to put the bowlers under some pressure. Santosh manged to get a decent start. Dinesh and Santosh tried to forge a partnership but it didn’t last long as Santosh trying to accelerate the score miss-read a slower delivery from Chula and the woodwork got rearranged.
The first change bowler were not any easy to score of either. Even though they were not as threatening as Chula and Yasheen they were consistent with their line and length and managing to bounce the ball to chest height every now and then. The mounting run rate meant we needed to take risk and most of our middle order perished just trying to do that. IECC lost Dinesh(LBW) and Sanjeeb(caught at Short mid wicket) in quick succession. Only Kamal and Mohibul managed to bring some cheer to IECC camp and at that point IECC was still hopeful of a win. However Kamal got caught at the boundary trying to hit a six and Mohibul also fell in a similar fashion soon. Mohibul was the pick of the batsmen and top scored with a brilliant 44. Eventually IECC got all out on the 32nd over managing only 144.
There were few interesting incidents during the game. One of them being Amjad Mirza hit the ball in the air towards Masood, Masood could not find the ball for few seconds after dropping the chance as the ball got hidden under the grass. Amjad thought it was 4 and stopped running in the middle, Masood then found the ball and threw the ball to Ganesh who dislodged the bell to get Amjad run out.
The game was played with good spirit and both the umpires from Giants team were quite good at their job. Would like to take this opportunity to thank both Mumtaj and Javed for doing the job skill-fully.
Though we lost this game and it was disappointing, we should still be proud of ourselves reaching the Semi after 7 years. This new looking team has lot of potential and I am sure we should be able to achieve great heights if we play up to our potential. We should also plan to play few more friendly matches with Pakistani teams, to better prepare ourselves for big matches. Since we have our own pitch and ground now, it shouldn’t be too difficult next year.
Detailed Scorecard attached below….