With hope in their hearts and soap in their hands

Japan Selection scores an upset victory over IECC

Sriram’s 51 goes in vein

By Biju Paul

Catches win matches. 5 dropped catches told the whole story. Less fancied Japan Selection defeated the Indian Engineers by 6 wickets in what may be the only upset of the tournament so far. With this defeat the Engineers face an uphill task ahead if they want to qualify for the quarter finals. In the remaining two matches, either they have to win both or win at least won and pray that Japan Selection lose their remaining engagements by wide margin so that the Engineers can move ahead on run rate. Engineers’ captain Biju Paul elected to bat after his counterpart Yoichi Sato lost the toss. And the start was as usual which was all too familiar for Engineers these days. They lost opener Rajkumar in the first over and Amit, the other opener fell in the fourth over. Just when things started looking easy with a solid third wicket partnership of 52 runs between the ever dependable Sriram Sampath and the wicket keeper Balu Lal, Balu ran himself out while attempting a sharp single. After that the Engineers kept coming and going as if they are coming to inspect the pitch. Captain tried to anchor the decline by facing 32 deliveries while scoring only 5 runs but was the last man out having declared LBW. That is not to discredit the excellent Japanese performance, though. The Japanese bowlers bowled an excellent line and length, getting the lift off the seam occasionally which found the edges of the Engineers’ blade on it’s way to the slip cordon. Of the Engineers’ total of 117, only 85 came off the bat, out of which Sriram scored 51 with the help of some beautifully executed shots to boundary. There were only 7 boundaries scored in their innings, 6 of which was by Sriram. This man is a beauty to watch while at the crease. Perhaps, the best stylish player around in Tokyo. With memories of YC & AC bowling out the Japan Selection for less than 80 runs the previous week, Engineers started off with lot of hope in their hearts and soap in their hands. Two catches were dropped in the first 4 overs, both openers being the beneficiaries of the Engineers’ benevolence on each occasion, Biju being the suffering bowler on both occasions. After that, the Japanese never looked in trouble and kept the score board(if ever there was one!) ticking with singles and twos. As usual, it took Jagan Panda, who is usually Biju’s opening bowling partner, but came in as the fourth bowling change this time because of an injured shoulder, to provide the Engineers with a break through. But by this time, the Japanese had more or less sealed the fate of the match with an opening partnership of 72 runs off 17 overs. It was never going to be easy for the Engineers after that. The only thing they could do was to pray for a heavy rain before the 20th over is bowled so that the match may be rescheduled. They dropped 3 more catches. Captain kept shuffling his bowlers with the hope of a miraculous collapse by the Japanese. But what is written is to be happened and it happened at the end of the 26th over. The Japan Selection defeated the Indian Engineers by 6 wickets. Fumito Miyakawa remained not out on 36. Well done Japan Selection! Way to go!! Hope this victory will be a morale booster for them and it will do a world of good for Cricket in Japan.