Tag: Pacific Cup

PC-Engineers retain the Pacific Cup

Viswa rediscovers his form with a brilliant 53

By Biju Paul

The Engineers retained the Pacific Cup they won last year with a 1-1 series draw this year. The Engineers defeated the Kytes by 70 runs to earn the draw after Kytes had won the first match early in the season. The third match of the three series is abandoned due to lack of time this year.

Pacific Cup is a three match series between the Indian Engineers and the Shizuoka Kytes started last year, the first edition of which was won by the Engineers 2-1. Like last year, the Kytes had won the first match this year as well, which was also the KCL league match. After a couple of washouts, it was decided between the teams that only two matches will be played this season and a draw would enable the Engineers to retain the Cup.

The small bouts of rain on the way to the ground not withstanding, the weather turned out to be excellent at Shizuoka. The bright sunshine mixed with the cool weather of the late autumn day made the perfect foil for a great day of cricket.

The Kytes won the toss and stand-in-skipper Neil Harrison asked the Engineers to bat first on a somewhat damp pitch. The grass on the outfield was cut beautifully in oval shape with the amount of grass on the cut and uncut part so conspicuous that there was no need for any boundary marker. Nick Shannon claimed that he spent his last two weekends cutting the grass but Robert disputed the claim saying Nick did nothing but drinking loads of beer at the ground while he cut the grass and had the dual job of carrying the grass cutter and Nick back home at the end of the day.

The Engineers started their innings disastrously, which has become customary of late, by losing both openers within a span of couple of overs and two down Ganesh following the openers soon. Silvester came in to replace him, well protected with a helmet, arm guard and thigh pad in an innocuous pitch. Seeing the batsman in full battle gear, R. Hutton decided to have a go at him and tried bounce a couple of deliveries, which actually were called wide. Silvester immediately sensed danger and realised that batting on an occasional variable bounce pitch is not his cup of tea and promptly claimed hurt and was ushered into the team bus parked aside where he spent the rest of the day. With the star batsman incapacitated and three back in the pavilion with only 42 runs on board in the 9th over, there were fears of a collapse, as was the case in the previous few matches. But one down Viswa Ghosh this time did not disappoint, revealing his class with a brilliant 53(6×4, 2×6) and in the company of Jagan, 36(4×4, 1×6), put up 43 runs for the 5th wicket. In fact, none of the remaining batsmen disappointed. Each one of them enjoyed their time in the middle hitting the bowlers at will. Vikram 33(1×4,4×6) and Rahul 25(3×4,1×6) were the next best contributors. Yours truly added stability at the tail with a six over mid-wicket, the first one in recent memory(details available on request), but the explosive innings of 10 runs was curtailed by a delivery which Nick, the bowler, described as “f***ing beauty”, that caught him plumb in front. In all, eleven sixes were hit but surprisingly, no ball was lost. Engineers scored 215/9 off 30 overs. R. Hutton bowled impressively for the Kytes with 1/23 off 6 overs.

Engineers took to the field with ten players, having left Silvester in the cozy comforts of the team bus, away from the afternoon chilly breeze. The “French Indian curry” served for lunch didn’t seem to spur the Kytes much as Jagan broke through the opening partership in the 3rd over by claiming R. Hutton’s wicket. At drinks, Kytes were even(84/3 off 17 overs) with the Engineers who were 85/4 at the same stage, thanks to a 21 runs over by this correspondent. But a two wicket over after the drinks by Ganesh, including that of the dangerous Anton McCloy, more or less sealed the fate of the match. However, the Kytes didn’t give up, dispatching anything lose to the boundary with gay abandon. But in the end, the imposing total, which actually helped this writer to bowl an economical spell of 4-0-48-2, was proved to be beyond the Kytes reach and were bowled out for 145 in nn overs, Anton McCloy being the top scorer with 23 runs, the next higest being K. Ishikawa’s 20.

Surprisingly or otherwise, wides were kept less than 20 by both teams.

The Engineers thus retained the Pacific Cup for the second straight year.

A special thanks to Robert for the curry lunch.

Engineers lift the first Pacific Cup

Sriram’s 74 seals the match and series

By Manish “Ghost” Jain

     On Friday morning, the Chief Engineer(captain, that is) received an anonymous courier. No prices for guessing it right. It was the Pacific Cup for the winner of the final match between the Shizuoka Kytes and the IECC, to be played on Sunday, Nov 26th. The brave Engineers had levelled the series winning the previous encounter with the help of a sick man!(read sick, not sic!) On Friday evening, a very annoying thought struck the captain and this ghost (journalist, that is!). What if it rains as the weathermen predicted? The only comforting fact was that when the weathermen predict rains on Sunday evenings, they usually happen late Sunday nights.

     The rains were soon forgotten as a small contingent of the IECC members (including the Captain and this particular ghost), assembled in ASS’s apartment to soon forget the impending match in a pool of some excellent concoctions(by the way, ASS stands for Aditya Shankar Srivastava, not what you thought). Elsewhere, not very far from the decisive grounds in Shizuoka, in a nice little bar, plans were being hatched to destroy the IECC blitzkrieg. (Remember, the ghost who also writes?) It was decided that before dawn at around 4am, elaborate preparations would be made to drug the Engineers. Robert had specifically recruited his girlfriend for this aforementioned conspiracy. A small quantity of Bhang (an Indian poppy-seed drug) was added to the portion of food to be served to the Indian team. On Sunday, on a glorious morning, captain, Biju Paul, drove the Engineers (some of them had to sit-out, including the Ghost, as the team was over-subscribed!) to Shizuoka covering 180 km. in 1.5 hours.

      Have you ever wondered how the 10-seater van carries 11 Engineers and wives of one or two of them sometimes? The day was ever-so beautiful, sunny and warm. The Engineers basked in the sunlight. Perfect day for cricket. The Kytes, dressed so-smartly in their whites, like always, greeted the familiar Engineers, in the true spirit of the game. The coin was tossed. Biju won and wisely decided to bat first on a newly rolled pitch. The Engineers were missing the hero of the previous encounter (the sickman, Balu!), but instead, they had Sriram, the perennial worry for Kytes, back in the team after a long engaging vacation in India. It is not a surprise that in every match report to date involving the IECC, there is a brief, yet Godly mention of this man. True to his status he produced a thundering(pun unintended) knock. A magnificent 74(6×4, 4×6). The only time he was kept away from the strike was when Dinesh Tashidar, a newcomer, took to the crease. Their partnership of 27 runs was mainly constituted by Dinesh’s quick fire 24 of 13 balls (2×4, 2×6). Sachin again came up with a cameo of 34 runs. Sriram, who seemed to be all set for a century, lost his wicket to an attempted sweep of Raja Akthar, the top edge carrying the ball to the comfortable hands of the square leg fielder. After that loss, the Engineers’ wickets tumbled frequently but amassed a very defendable 208 runs!(incidentally, this was the highest score of the Engineers this season, and second best in their history, the first being 220 made against the YC & AC while chasing a target of 240+, two years ago.)

     The most interesting part of the Shizuoka trip is the lunch. The veteran Engineers familiar with Robert’s 4 a.m wake-up call, felt that the curry looked and tasted different. Q. Wonder why? A. Wonder drug! After the lunch session, Biju decided to put a brake to the Kytes score machine, even before they hit the accelerator. Bang, Bang, Bang! 3 wickets fell in his 3 consecutive overs from Biju! With this feat, Biju, proved to be indispensable for the Engineers in more ways than one (yes, he drives too! No, not with the bat though, but with the wheel instead). He ended with bowling figures of 4 for 16 (his best!), a miracle, he promises will take a long time for him to repeat! Opener Harrison was caught at mid-off in the first over and in his second, one down Raja was caught in the second slip off a lovely outswinger that found a thick outside edge of his blade.

     The third and the best of the 4 wickets was probably when he bowled an inswinging yorker(probably unintentional!) which sent a stunned Todd Philip’s middle stump cart-wheeling. This ghost believes that Biju had probably applied cream to his fingers, as the ball seemed to have slipped off his fingers. Anybody got that on a handy-cam? And while the Kytes were still groping for the accelerator, another career best performance from Shankar sealed first ever Pacific Cup for Engineers. 4 for 9 off 3 overs, a figure that would put even Shane(Warne) to shame. In fact, he was on a hat-trick in his second over in which he snapped up two batsmen with his 5th and 6th deliveries(isn’t that astonishing? Actually, isn’t that logical?) His gentle teasers were too much for the Kytes to decipher. Bruce Harris, who was whacking the balls at will, provided the only resistance to the bowling attack. The worst hit was Rahul, who ended up with 2-0-30-0 (ironically, he was the most economical of the Engineers’ bowlers this season!). Anton McCloy, umpiring at that time after his stint at the crease remarked, “I wish he were bowling to me like this”(ghosts can hear it all!).

      One more uneconomical bowler was Santosh, who seemed to have bought wide-angle lenses recently. Good news is that, his wide-angle lenses are getting a little bit narrower with every match. But the catcher in the eye, was the diminutive spinner, Ashok Sharma. He bowled a particularly economical spell conceding only 10 runs off 4 overs, to the chant of Sharma-ji sharmana nahin (Mr. Sharma, don’t be shy). On the way back to Tokyo, after a couple of drinks in the van, the truth came out. Sonali Bendre was the inspiration behind the perspiration!. The result? The Kytes managed to muster only 92 runs. For the records, this was the biggest margin by which the Engineers triumphed upon any side.

Brief Scores(35 overs):
IECC: 208 all out in 32.2 overs(Sriram 74, Sachin 34)
Kytes: 92 all out in 21.1 overs(Biju 4/16, Shankar 4/9)

Pacific Cup Series tied at 1-1

Sick man helps Engineers to square the Pacific Cup series

Series tied at 1-1. Final to be played on Nov. 26

By Biju Paul

A sedate start from the Engineers did not deter them from amassing 167 runs off the allotted 30 overs, thanks to some lusty hitting by Balu, who was ordered out of his sick bed at 11 p.m. of the night before the match by the one and only Rajkumar. At 10 p.m., the night before the match when Prasad pulled himself out of the squad owing to his eye check up, yours truly had no one to turn to but Raj. And Raj never disappoints anyone, particularly when it comes to cricket. He called up Balu, who was originally not in the squad, and asked him to come to play. Balu had no option but to obey! It all started with this writer winning the toss and promptly electing to bat first on a beautiful autumn day. In fact, the Kytes were happy when they found out that Sriram was not playing. Under clear instructions, the openers started extra cautiously thereby preserving their wickets until the end of 10 overs but scoring only 20 runs. Clearly, the intention was to see off the opening bowlers, especially Todd Phillips who bamboozled us in the last encounter, which was the Kanto Cup-cum-Pacific Cup match, and then take on the less troublesome support bowlers. Of the Kytes bowlers, Anton was the only one who could generate some pace out of the tricky pitch. But once Anton finished his quota of 6 overs in a single spell, there was no one who really troubled the Engineers. First change Harrison removed both the openers in his successive overs. Sunil was brilliantly caught and bowled diving forward. Sunil went for the drive of a full length delivery unmindful of the fact that the ball pitched on one of the soft spots. The pitch was such that the ball lost its speed after pitching on certain spots. In his next over, Harrison pitched one on the off stump. Raj promptly moved in position for a push on the onside but the ball didn’t bounce as much as he expected and missed it. It would have been a travesty of justice had this correspondent not, acting as the umpire, raised the index finger to an vociferous appeal. The smile on Harrison’s face said it all. He knew that he got Raj plumb. Engineers 42/2 in 13 overs. But that changed the whole situation. Two down Balu must have relished the day out more than lying down on his sick bed. He came. He saw the pitch. He saw the bowlers. He conquered. A swashbuckling innings of 43 off 25 balls(2 x 4, 4 x 6) was the result. Shankar came in at the fall of Balu’s wicket but the long interval of no cricket showed its impact on him. As he admitted it himself, he was struggling to come to terms with the bowling. Instructions were passed to the batsmen at the end of 20 overs to speed up but while trying to do that Shankar got out stumped off Raja Akthar by the grand daddy of Japan cricket. The young man at the age of 56 showed that he is upto his task and hasn’t lost any of his reflexes! That brought the debutant Sachin(Sondhi, not Tendulkar) to the crease. He lived upto his reputation as a league player in the U.S and came up with a little cameo innings of 43 with some elegantly timed boundaries on the on side. He IS going to be another class batsman on the side. The last 10 overs yielded 70 runs which was aided by Sachin and Vicky with useful seventh wicket partnership of 50+ runs. Sachin got out in the last ball of the innings attempting a second run, there by spoiling his average. When pointed it out him came the reply – no “gas” left at the end. Your correspondent, initially baffled, soon realised that it was an American term for fuel! The U.S may be the least polluting country in the world as everything there runs on gas! Lunch is the best part of the visit to Shizuoka. Robert must be getting up 4 at a.m. to prepare the curry for 24(two scorers included) “Hungry Tigers”. I wonder what his girlfriend has to say about it. Anton opened batting for Shizuoka in his usual characteristic style. Pulling anything short to the boundary. He always makes the opposition work hard for his wicket and this time was no different either. Fellow opener Harrison was run out attempting a non-existent second run in the seventh over. The end of 10 overs saw Kytes comfortably placed at 54/2 as opposed to the Engineers’ score of 20/0, very close to the required run rate. From there on, it was a neck-and-neck race as the Kytes kept up with the run rate. With the Kytes having the first match under their belt, the stakes were high for the Engineers as a loss meant the loss of the series. But the introduction of Shankar took care of the hard hitting captain, Anton, who could have wrested the game from us single handedly, caught by Rahul at cover off his very first delivery. Engineers’ secret weapon was unleashed next. The man with two great achievements under his belt. Vice captain Silvester Pereira. The man who successfully defended a paltry score of 47 runs to shoot out British Embassy for 38 runs, two years ago and then defeating a full fledged Pakistani side recently, which was virtually unimaginable until then(incidentally, the same Pakistani side is one of the finalists of the Kanto Cup this year). His “medium paced off-spin” brought him one wicket but his 4th over messed up his figures, having hit for 13 runs. As he later confessed, “I was trying to bowl a googly!”. Amit Chatterjee once said: “He is the fastest off spinner I’ve ever seen!”. Shankar and Silvi bowled in tandem trying to bring the run rate down but the Kytes were not to be tied down. At the end of 20 overs saw Kytes one run ahead of the Engineers’ score. In fact, the intensity of the neck-and-neck race can be gauged from the following table:


However, Kytes didn’t have enough wickets left in the last 5 overs to score the required runs. And the Engineers won by 20 runs, setting the stage for the grand final of this exciting series on Nov. 26. Anton’s vote of thanks at the end of the day didn’t forget to mention the 10.5th member of the Kytes, the ?? year old little Arthur, who fielded very well saving a few valuable runs. The only man who had a nightmarish day out was the Engineers’ opening bowler Santosh, whose 1st over, 2nd of the innings, saw 8 wides but his second over saw only 1 of them and a no-ball. He ended up with the figures 2-0-13(9w, 1nb). And here goes the quote of the day: “But for the wides, I’ve got the best bowling figures”! He also wantd to take train back to Tokyo when he learnt that Sunil was going to be the driver for the return journey! This is one of the few matches where everyone had something to contribute to the victory. The openeres batted well to preserve their wickets. Middle order just whacked everything on their way. Bowlers bowled well. Fielding, usually sloppy, was excellent. Brief scores: IECC 167/6 (Balu K. 43, Sachin S. 43) Shizuoka Kytes 147/7 (Rahul 6-0-14-2)