Poor bowling, poor batting, poor fielding… anything else?
By Sanjeeb Sahoo
It was after a long time the Engineers got to the field for some real cricket (40 overs). At this time of the year it is normally a struggle to find an 11, but the team selectors were very happy to see 13 players available for this match. Best (available!) 11 was picked.
Biju and Santosh , two of our most experienced guides, were given the contract to drive the Yakuzas and the Saints in separate vehicles, and were instructed to avoid unnecessary fighting and chanting on the way, in order to reach the ground by 10AM. Engineers won the toss and elected to field first with Biju and Vimal sharing the new ball. Vimal, who have changed his bowling style lately, to make up for the lack of a spin bowler in the team, bowled fantastically and troubled both batsmen with his leg spin. He provided early breakthrough for us in his first over trapping Nagoya captain Saqib plumb in front.
Biju has bowled well throughout this year with the new ball , but this time he was having some trouble controlling the line and length, Heavy food on the previous night may need to be blamed here :). Some may call it a chance, but most of us think that Biju did well to get out of the way of a fierce uppish straight drive from Nagoya opener Madan at the last possible moment, that would have cut him into two halves 🙂
Vimal kept bowling beautifully at the other end and the batsmen were having trouble scoring. The pressure got to one of the batsman and he tried to take a quick single to arguably the best fielder(!!) in the team, 🙂 yours truly, who picked the ball at short-leg, diving to his left, and rocketed it toward the running end. Direct hit saw the 1st down batsman walking toward the river in disbelief. Engineers were on top at that stage.
However the other Nagoya opener Madan and the 2nd down batsman Raza batted steadily and easily managed to clear the boundary at will. When Raza retired due to a back injury, the score was around 160 in the 25th over. But then it started raining in sixes and had we kept our car near the river , we would have needed some kind of umbrella to protect them. Vimal had finished his quota and Sanjeeb had just one over left, all other bowlers had no clue how to react to the situation when the batsmen were trying to hit every ball for a six. Some dropped chances also contributed in the process of Nagoya reaching 264, even though in the 35th over we gave away only 2 runs. Madan top scored from Nagaoya side with a fine 96. A superb throw from fine leg by Vijender saw him walking 4 short of what would have been a fantastic century.
We had a solid batting line up but chasing 264 was a tough ask, the pressure got to most of our top and middle order batsmen. And at one point it seemed like we will get all-out by 25th over for about 120 runs. But the 83 runs unbroken 9th wicket partnership between Raju and Bikash saw us reaching a respectable total of 195. It was a treat to watch Raju bat like that. Unlike other matches where he normally gets a start and then gives away his wicket easily, in this match he made the most of the start. He kept his cool as the wickets kept falling around him, and mixed caution with aggression intelligently, to reach a carrier best personal score of 60 not out. All 3 sixes he hit were very clean and looked effortless. Engineers really had something to cheer about when he scored 23 runs from one of the Nagoya boy’s overs.
Bikash who has a habit of being part of record breaking partnerships, also did well to keep his wicket and remained not out on 13.
Now, Nagoya will meet the Tokyo Giants in the title match.
High lights of the match Vimal established himself as a fine leg spinner. Raju established himself as a very good hard hitting batsman. We can bat out the overs without getting all out.
Low lights of the match Our batting has improved a lot this year, however our bowling still remains a concern. Future practice sessions should put more stress on some bowling Strategy and training the bowlers what to do in tough situations.
Brief scores: Nagoya 263/6. Madan 96, Raza 56. IECC 195/8. S Raju 60.