Kytes celebrate the 20th anniversary in style
One of the closest match played ever between the teams
|Caught by Rahul! A gallant 45 nonetheless! I Wonder if Todd could claim a posie on the NZ team? Nah. This brought Sharpe to the crease. Todd was probably wondering what the hell was going on. First he opens then Neil comes in at first drop. . . . . . Wow, who would have thunk it? We shall now refer to Neil as the ‘Berserk Warrior’. A bit of the medieval English shone through and he took to ’em. In one over The Berserk Warrior hit 4 fours and a six. Obviously myself, Arthur and McTamney were chomping at the bit to get out there. Runs to be had from the hapless Indians. Still the Warrior played with true grit and saw off the initial challenge. These boys looked solid until Sharpe was caught at mid on by Nari off Rahul. A valuable 21,but he never seemed to settle. I’m sure this pleased Biju as he could sense the danger if Sharpe was to get comfortable out there. The Indians were back. Biju was rubbing his hands together, no need for a genie, and contemplating relinquishing the ball. None for 19 off 4 overs, and he looked capable of dismissals. The Shizuoka tail had been exposed. He was almost right was Biju. The Porno Star was next in. Keen to smack ’em around, but bitterly disappointed that Biju had been withdrawn from the attack ( Bye bye easy runs) he proceeded to take the first delivery from Nari Ram on the thigh. Shit, still hurting as I write this. Still I smacked him over long on for 4. That made me happy. I also snicked one that went straight through the struggling Indian Engineers’ keeper, Robert Martineau. That made me even happier! Enough of cricket, time for golf, and after a lusty swing it was stumps all over the place. Thanks to Rahul, Arthur came and went for 1. Then came McTamney. With only about 7 overs to go the Kytes were looking to get over 200. Nari bowled Neil for 63. Could the Indians stop the runs? McTamney went nuts. 23 not out. Kytes scored 37 in the last 5 overs to post a respectable 212. McTamney had the pleasure to be another Shizuoka batsman to watch our own bunny Shoaib Aziz run himself out again. Perhaps his teammates screaming “Run him out, run him out!” added to the tension in the middle. Still Shoaib could have learnt something from watching McTamney dive towards the crease on a tight run ,squeezing his nut between flicx pitch and box! Good on ya, mate. Shoaib departed with one ball to go. In came Kieran File( saviour of the last game). He did bugger all and that was it. Kytes 212. Of course Biju was sweating, and it wasn’t because of the curry lunch (the Warrior assures me it was a sweat raiser). Could they do it? 213 to win of 35. The Engineers introduced us to Vimal and Viswa. With a long road to travel they started strongly. The runs were coming, but Vimal was lulled into a false sense of security by the cagey McKenna. After a series of wide deliveries Robb decided to put one on the mark and it was sayonara Vimal. Enter Prakash, with Viswa settled and looking at 50. In an unusual move, Sharpe elected to come over the wicket. No more snicks for Viswa, just stumps all over the place. His demon had come home to roost again. Was that the 5th time in a row Sharpe has taken out Viswa? This brought that hard core cricketer, Nari Ram, playing his last game before shipping off to Shag Hai to the middle. By now the Berserk Warrior had joined the attack. Prakash was just starting to look settled when he was subjected to one of the rankest full tosses it has ever been my displeasure to witness. Who could have believed that he would fall to that old trick of the Berserk Warrior. Bad luck Prakash. Don’t let it get you down, mate. You are not the first. As they say ‘Shit gets wickets’ (This does not apply to Biju, OK). Still you were unlucky. In came Sanjeeb Sahoo to join Nari and turn the game. For my money, Sanjeeb was the second best batsman for the Engineers. Only 17 but he hung in there when the pressure was on. Nari was punishing anything on middle or leg. Robb McKenna had quite a workout in the outfield. These two were instrumental in putting on a 4th wicket partnership of 78! The Indians were looking real good at this point! A 4 here and there. The occasional 6 and it could have been theirs. Nari took to the soon to be depleted Kytes attack. After 18 overs the Engineers were 131 and looking at a win! However they, along with us, were not expecting Todd’s tireless performance. Dot ball after dot ball. A wicket maiden. Followed by another maiden. A bowling performance never before seen by the lanky Kiwi. Shannon finished up his 7 overs, none for 37. Then came McTamney! Kieran went up, McTamney went up, we went up in sympathy and Bilby threw the finger up in a show of support. Bad luck Nari, but a bloody good innings. If things don’t work out in Shag Hai there is always a place for you on our team! In comes Biju. Solid ! Taking sneaky runs. Upsetting Sharpe and casting a dismal fog over thewhole of the Kytes team (except McKenna). It looked like Biju may just pull it off, that is until he tried to take too much. . . . I was upside down, shitty cause I’d lost my porno glasses, didn’t know where the ball was (not in my hand) then I saw it. Then I saw Biju halfway down the pitch, then I saw McKenna at the stumps, then I saw revenge, then I threw the ball, then I saw Biju walking to the boundary. Then I was happy. At that point it was ours. The fog had lifted. There was naught for the Engineers. Dot balls and singles. We won by 6 runs! Yeah! Overall a great game. Down to the wire and played in the truest spirit! Our friendliest enemies. A great BBQ after the game. Chicken the meat of choice. Of course we love to have the Engineers as our guests and we hope they too had a good day. I’m sure they did. Come again lads and see how you fare then. This may sound unbelievable, but as I am writing this report I think I will take it into my own hands and nominate Todd Phillips as Man of the Match! Enjoy it, mate, it could be the last time. . . . . . . Or maybe not. A postscript. As for Robert, the Engineers thought they were clever to get him into their team so they could control him and he would give them minimal aggravation – WRONG. He was planted there by us surreptitiously. . . . . . . Think about it. Actually many thanks must go to Robert for the hard work he has done at the ground, for the club (for us) and for cricket in the Kanto area in general. If it wasn’t for the hard work that Robert has put in, we wouldn’t have had the chance to cream the Engineers on Sunday! Even more, Robert has been playing here in Shizuoka for 20 years. I wonder how many of us will be able to say the same in the future. Good on you, mate. Hope you keep for the opposition next year, too. Brief Scores: Kytes 212/7 (35 overs). T Philips 45. N Harrison 63. R Deo 3/14 IECC 206/8 (35 overs). V Ghosh 35, N Ram 47.
Wombats invite themselves to the 2005 Pacific Cup after engineering a batting collapse
Engineers lose the trophy they held for 4 years
|The silverweare that decorated the Engineer’s cupboard for four years in a row was handed over to a deserving team on Sunday after a fantastic match that saw some fine batting display and all round performance by the Wombats. Incidentally, this was the first time ever the Engineers let go the cup, which they clung on to, since its inception in 2000. More details and history of the tournament is available here. The Pacific Friendship Cup tournament, that was originally founded by the Indian Engineers and Shizuoka Kytes and later joined by the British Embassy changed its rules this year to allow the participation of a new team every year. The new team automatically retains its place in the following year should they win the tournament. The original three teams, in alphabetical order, have the right to invite the new team and thus the British Embassy exercised their right and invited the Tokyo Wombats this year, which they happily accepted and made full use of the friendly rule to retain their place for a further year. Now, the match details. As with almost all match reports, this one also starts with the weather report. As often happens in the later part of the autumn, the day was cool but bright and sunny. The Engineers had prepared themselves for an engaging battle knowing that the Wombats were ona high after some recent excellent performances. Having been crowned the champions of Division-II of the KCL would have added to their confidence and hunger for more. This writer won the toss(rather, Chuck, his opposite number, lost it) and elected to bat first. The Engineers had the best opening partnership of the season with Viswa Ghosh and Vimal Vikrant putting up 72 runs for the first wicket in 16 overs. Ian Gason and Alex Koolhof, the opening Wombats, put up a decent bowling display allowing no room for shot play so much so that the ball had its first date with the rope only in the 6th over. The opening Engineers proceeded cautiously, scoring only 7 runs in the first 5 overs and 19 in the next 5. 26 runs after 10 overs is nothing to boast about but once the second-stringers came on, both Vimal and Viswa teed off with élan to score 24 runs off the next 5 overs. As the run rate picked up to a healthy 4+ runs per over, Regan and Rob, the change bowlers, continued to suffer and Wombats seemed not to have a clue to contain the batsmen, who began threatening to break all the batting records. But then came the fall of the first wicket in the 17th over, against the grain of the play. Vimal called for a quick single that was not there. Viswa responded with all the agility of a young man but failed to gain his ground. The batsman walked back with 33 runs(1×4, 2×6) and Engineers were 72/1 and the floodgates seemed to have opened. Drinks. Anupam Singh was promoted up in the order to no. 3 but fell to an excellent delivery by Brett Pollard in his very first over. The batsman was caught in the crease of a straight delivery, one of those deliveries you don’t need a vociferous appeal for an lbw. Four deliveries and four runs later, Sanjeeb Sahoo departed giving Rob Mann, the one who seemed the least likely to take a wicket, his first wicket, the batsman sticking his bat out giving the late coming ‘keeper a comfortable catch. In came Nari Ram, with two successive half centuries under his belt. The Engineers’ hope of a hat trick half century(if there is such a word!) evaporated quickly as he returned to the pavilion with a golden duck in his pocket and against his name. Incidentally, this was his first duck of the season. From a no hope situation, the Wombats were now controlling the proceedings and the Engineers tottered to 84/4 in 19 overs, with some more explosive batsmen yet to come and Vimal still at the crease. Two more wickets fell quickly – Bobby falling to a mistimed pull shot, making it the fourth consecutive time he being dismissed in the same fashion, and Brett had the well set Vimal caught at mid-on. The roles were now reversed and Engineers were in an unenviable position and the Wombats in enviable position. Engineers 92/6 after 23 overs. That brought this writer, who was just clean bowled by a practice delivery in the adjacent ground, to the crease to give company to the hard hitting Ashok Kumar, who had not got off the mark yet. Soon came Ashok’s account opening shot and the first three scoring shots were 6,4,6 off consecutive deliveries of Rich Cosway who was promptly taken off the attack by a wise captain. Brett tried his best to take the revenge wicket but yours truly’s jaunty resistence(add to that a Rhodes-like catch later which would have made the man himself proud!) denied him the wicket he would have relished. Nonetheless, he completed his 6 overs with a decent 2/26. But for the two 6s that came off the blade of Ashok in his last over it would have been much better. Ashok, meanwhile, continued his onslaught with 6s and 4s and his entertaining innings came to an end when he tried dispatch Alex to the nearby river but only succeeded in not making a contact and his off sump was uprooted. Ashok’s 34 came off only 18 deliveries(1×4, 4×6) and the partnership was worth 52 runs, the second best of the innings. The Engineers ended their innings at 158/7 off 35 overs. Wombats didn’t have the best of starts as Brett was caught by Anupam off Nari at the strategically placed short cover position, for precisely the same defensive shot. Conway, the other opener, showed some class but Sanjeeb proved cleverer by deceiving the batsman with a slower delivery. The batsman went down on his knees for a sweep shot but the ball made contact only with the stumps. Fall of the second wicket for 52 runs after 11 overs brought the skipper to the wicket. Shuffling of bowlers helped only to bring down two more wickets. Chuck was in his unusual self and surprised your reporter with his stroke play. He continued to hit 4s and 6s and took the bowling by the scruff of the neck and shepherded his side home with an unbeaten 58(4×4, 4×6) and his enterprising innings sealed the match for the Wombats. For the first time ever, the Engineers let go the Pacific Cup they held since its inception and Wombats earned an automatic invitation for the next years tournament. Congratulations guys! The after match drinks at the soba shop arranged by the umpires, Martineau and Harrison, provided a perfect atmosphere for an evening to remember. Thank you Robert and Neil for the ground and all the hard work. Brief Scores: IECC 158/7(35 overs). V Vikrant 46, V Ghosh 33, A Kumar 34. Wombats 160/4 (29 overs). C Jones 58. Read another report
Goldman Sachs return with sacks full of admiration
The fledgling team does the basic things right
|It was the second encounter between the two teams within the span of three weeks and was only the third match for the newest arrival. The Engineers were earlier honored when the Goldman Sachs(the name stays until they find a better one!) expressed their desire to announce their arrival onto the Tokyo scene by playing their first match with them. Although that one turned out to be a wet affair at the Edogawa ground and almost a one sided one, it put some talents available for them on display. Saturday is THE day for an away match with no fear of a traffic jam on either way. This day was no different and what with Mother Nature lending her support provided with a crisp autumn day. However, the captain had a terrible time the day before the match having only 5 guys available and the onus (or honour!) fell on him to find another 6 to make it eleven. After spamming a few guys’ Inbox with requests and threats and a few frantic telephone calls at the unearthly hour of 12:00 midnight, captain went to sleep with some peace having found 4 guys(2 of them had never touched a real cricket ball before). David Davies, This writer’s opposite number, was excited hearing that the Engineers were coming with only 5 cricketers and 4 fill-ins and started salivating the prospect of their first victory. The excitement reached to the point of charity and benevolence and he charitably and benevolently agreed to provide the remaining 2, so the Engineers wouldn’t make any excuse after the loss. As feared, yours truly lost the toss – changing the usual call of Heads to Tails didn’t help – and David , the founder-cum-captain-cum-manager-cum-president of the new team pretended to assess the weather and the pitch but opted for the obvious – bat first. The good ol’ pair of Jagan Panda and this writer came together after a small gap of 2 years and things couldn’t have started better. The duo conceded only 16 runs in 6 overs of which 8 were wides. For the Goldman, skipper opened the batting along with Milind Sapre, one of the founding members of the – guess what – Indian Engineers way back in 1995 at the small baseball park at Higashi Koganei, who is now involved in founding yet another cricket club. Talk of the cricketing entrepreneurship and a possible induction into ICC. Sanjeeb Sahoo and Ashok Sharma replaced the quickies and made an immediate impact. Sanjeeb had Milind, who had shown some intention of scoring runs, caught at mid-on by his rival and competitor (in wicket taking), Ashok Sharma, which put Sanjeeb ahead by 1 in wicket tally. But Ashok soon caught up with his competitor by clean bowling the skipper, who, in his attempt to prevent the dot balls he faced overcoming the minutes spent at the crease, swept the wrong delivery and his middle stump was rearranged. That brought Sandeep and Sean together and the pair added some useful funs for the 3rd wicket. Again, a bowling change worked and Yogesh had Sandeep caught at square leg, Sudheesh taking a very good running catch. The young man with all his weight surprisingly managed to stay balanced after taking the catch. Meanwhile, Sean, the American, who claims he has never played cricket before(I have been to the moon last year, by the way) motored along with some exquisite shots on either side of the wicket and remained unbeaten on 51, his second 50 on the trot. He benefited from the butter fingers of this writer and Chetan, the loaned Goldman but later returned the favour he received many times over. With Sean’s great innings and contributions from Ranjit and Sandeep, Goldman Sachs scored a respectable 144 in 35 overs, a total this writer felt at least 30 runs too many. Jagan was chosen as the opener after the gamble worked last time against the same opposition. After a bit of consultation and hesitation and striking down a few hands that went up the air as Jagan’s partner, new comer Prashant was chosen. The pair did well to score 25 runs for the first wicket in 4 overs but both fell in the space of a few balls, leaving the Engineers in the all too familiar situation of top and middle order collapse. But Prakash, yet another new comer steadied the ship along with Sanjeeb and put on 55 runs for the 3rd wicket. Milind, the medium pacer turned leg spinner, claimed Prakash in his second over after his first over was blasted for 14 runs by Sanjeeb. Yogesh, the next man in, had no answer to a Warn-like delivery, that pitched outside the leg stump. The batsman left the ball expecting it to go down the leg but the ball turned in to rattle his leg stump. That left this reporter to face the hat trick bal. With the fielders closing in, expecting something magical, Milind send the next one again down the leg but that one kept its path and was promptly called a wide. As the partnership reached 20 runs, Sandeep had one to his name by clean bowling this writer. From then on it was Sanjeeb all the way. He danced down the wicket many a times, cut(not many), drove(very few) and pulled(very little) and remained unbeaten on 65(9×4). Fittingly, the winning runs were hit by the MoM himself, a drive to long off boundary. David’s boys did well in playing out all the 35 overs, a feat they had been repeating in all of their three matches so far. Kudos to Sean for his second consecutive 50(but don’t tell me again that you haven’t played cricket before). If you boys bowl as well you bat, the KCL Division II will see some tough matches next year. Overall, the match was played in a very friendly environment, to the point that the kit of both teams together made up a full set for the mach. Hope we will have many such good matches in future. Brief Scores: GSCC: 144/5(35 overs). Sean 51* IECC 147/7(26.3 overs). S Sahoo 65*.
Massacre at Fuji!
Rampaging Giants storm into the KCL final
|After twice washed out, this crucial semi-final match was scheduled to play in Fuji. As anyone can imagine, Engineers were only happy to play in lucky Fuji-2 rather than Giants’ home ground. It was a fantastic clear autumn day, perfect for a cricket match. Both teams and umpire arrived on time and decided to start the match earlier than usual to avoid any risk of darkness in the late afternoon. Engineers were mentally ready for the challenge because of the massive intellectual exercise that took place on the week of the match – the email servers of Tokyo reported to have experienced huge traffic in the days preceeding the match transmitting BiFiDiFoE (Bikash’s Fielding Diangram For the Engineers). The previous show against the Millenium on the same ground also added to the already exuding confidence. However, nobody had ever imagined, it could turn out to be such a nightmare for the Engineers. As expected, Engineers captain Biju lost the toss (well, luck can’t be any worse) and was forced to bowl on a perfect batting pitch which offers true bounce and very little movement. Except the first over (by the way, first ball was called wide!) there was no respite for engineers, till the last ball of the last over was bowled. Almost every over, at least once the ball was sailing over the rope with such a high altitude as if it intended to date with an air hostess. It was a complete massacre and annihilation (in captain’s own words) irrespective of bowler and type. Jagan was the only bowler from the Engineers camp, who was able to stop the run riot a bit – comparatively, that is – but it wasn’t enough to stop the slaughter and he went wicketless in his first couple of spells . The Engineers’ partnership breaker, Vimal, was introduced early with skipper pinning his hopes on him for a breakthrough. Although he was also hammered above 8 runs per over but did not disappoint his captain as he removed Jahangir Babbar for 22 with score on 50 off 6 overs. It was a complete blood bath till the very end. The scoring rate for the Giants was lightening fast. Of the very few chances offered, Engineers held on to very few thus making things easier for the Giants. The costliest let-off was of Hameed Sayeed who was given a life first by Viswa, when the batsman’s score in teens and then by the skipper himself when his score was in 30s. Although the skipper later claimed his wicket, after taking over from a wayward Santosh, who was ordered from the attack by the umpire for dangerous bowling, it was too little too late. As it turned out, Hameed’s aggressive innings of 89 along with that of the hard hitting Razzaq Chima(82 off 45 balls) played a pivotal role in Giants amassing a huge total, the second highest in the KCL history. Almost every bowler opted for 7 fielders on rope but fielders couldn’t do anything except watching the ball sailing over their head. Giant’s 50 came in the 6th over, 100 in 12 overs, 150 in 19 overs, 200 in 25 overs, 300 in 35th over. 4th wicket partnership was 85 runs, 6th wicket partnership was 71 runs. (Sajjad Hassan c Nari b Vimal 51, Hameed Syeed 89 c Bobby b Biju, Razzaq Chima b Nari 82). First half of the play came to an end with an amazing score on board for Giants (349/9) which was even beyond the expectation of their captain Mumtaz (as admitted by him at the end of play). Engineers returned with nothing but totally worn out and thoroughly beaten but with great appreciation of Giants batsmen for their outstanding performance. For the Engineers, it was a difficult target and needed a miracle, but it was not impossible especially when there were few gifted batsmen like Sriram, Viswa and inform Vimal and Nari around. But true to Giants champion tag, they were equally good in their bowling department too. They started with perfect fast bowling at one end by Ahmad Kamal who returned with impressive figures of 8-2-11-1 and slower variation but very accurate attack from the other end(Mumtaz). The Engineers new opening combination, Viswa and Vimal, started the innings cautiously but it was too much of an asking rate from the beginning, to be honest, and eventually got themselves out. Unfamiliar to them, the Engineers lost their first 3 wickets for 31 runs and with that any hope of a miracle started waning. But a 4th wicket partnership of 101 runs between Nari and Sriram promised some excitement but nothing near to any possibility of conquering the mountain. Nari continued his impressive form in this season and slammed a half century(54) but Sriram was deceived by Tauseef’s ball and got stumped (41) when he had just started opening up. After that it was a matter of salvaging some pride and playing out the full quota of overs. The Engineers did well in that department and eventually managed 197/9 in the allotted 40 overs, not a bad score in other circumstances. Besides completing 40 overs and few powerful strokes from Nari and Sriram, nothing significant happened in the middle in the 2nd half of the play. One could wonder, if that was the same pitch and boundary which was used in first half. As usual, Santosh slogged at everything (16*) to go past 200 but it wasn’t enough at the end. Sharmaji faced the last ball and hammered a boundary which made his strike rate 400. Excellent Job, really! (Live life like King’s style). Giants had outplayed Engineers in every department of the game and had won the match the most convincing way. And of course, it was well deserved!! Brief Scores: Tokyo Giants: 349/9. S Hassan 51, H Sayeed 89, R Chima 82, V Vikrant 4/68 IECC 197/9. S Sampath 41, N Ram 54, H Sayeed 3/23.
Engineers put up a record run chase to stake their claim for the KCL semis
Second stright year into the knockout stage
|The stakes could never have been higher. Both teams are equally strong. The records are even. Neither had an upper hand over the other. For one, this was the last of the league match. For the other, it was the penultimate. The winner of this match would virtually take a place in the semifinal by knocking out the other (barring a major upset in the other matches). For the Engineers, this being their last league match, there was an additional danger of being relegated to D-II if they were to lose by a big margin. For Millennium, they would be in the same situation if they were to lose the back-to-back matches(against the Engineers on Saturday and against Friends on Sunday). Classic winner-takes-it-all scenario. The venue for the match was the Fuji-2 ground. The umpire for the match was Kamran Ali of the YC&AC. Cricket can’t get any better than this and it proved to be so in the end. The weather forecast for the day was not great, with some chances of rain in the latter half of the day. Before the start of the match, there was a brief downpour but after that, the match went off without any interruption of the rain, although the entire match was played under overcast conditions, with a reasonably strong wind blowing across the ground. Millennium were handicapped by the absence of their eleventh man. Skipper Tetsuo Fuji won the toss for the Millenium and opted to bat. The Engineers opened their attack with Nari Ram(the author), but he found controlling the ball tough and bowled a few wides (very unlike me!!!) and also got tonked around, especially by Muneer Ahmed, giving away 0-25 in a first spell of 3 overs. On the other end, Jagan started with spraying the ball all across the place (6 wides in his first over) and he also got tonked around by Muneer and Satoshi Iida, the other opening batsman. A change of ends for both of the bowlers or a change of bowlers by trying to get on Nissar did not seem to change anything. Millenium was just going great guns, reaching their 100 in the 13th over without losing a wicket. A dream start for any team. Muneer seemed to be in great touch and had reached his half century quickly when Vimal Vikrant, with his variations was beginning to create problems to the batsman at the other end. His persistence paid off when Iida skied a slower one to mid-on where Jagan took a very good catch low down (105/1). The next batsman in was Yoshioka and the Engineers attacked his end and were successful in keeping Muneer off the strike for a long time. Muneer, by now had begun to play a few risky shots to keep the run rate going, on one occasion being lucky to escape when Vimal at deep mid wicket reacted late to a skier off Sanjeeb which ended up falling short. Muneer fell eventually when he tried to hoik a Vimal slower one out of the ground, but the ball carried only as far as long off where Nissar took a well judged catch (117/2). That brought Mohmmad Rizwan to the crease but he didn’t take long to get going. In his usual style, he started slogging the ball from the word go showed his strength on both sides of the wicket. At the half-way mark, Millenium were going strong at 131-2, a run rate of 6.5 runs per over. The Engineers swapped wicket keepers at the break, with Nissar taking over from Sriram. Vimal finished his spell of 8 overs soon after, bowling very well to end with figures of 2-34, kept the game being taken away from the Engineers. Sanjeeb, who bowled medium pacers when Muneer was at the crease, resorted to his off-spinners and was bowled well. Biju brought on Ashok and it proved to be a wrong move when Ashok was tonked around for a boundary and a six in his first over by Rizwan. Sensing the mood, skipper wisely chose to remove the bowler and brought back Nari into the attack. This proved to be a better spell and created a few problems for Rizwan initially as he started playing and missing. Sanjeeb, by now already had Yoshioka caught behind by Nissar. Apparently, the close-in field placement had put some pressure on the batsmen. Sanjeeb also took the prized scalp of Rizwan, playing back for a reasonably full delivery, the ball kept a bit low and re-arranged the furniture behind. Sanjeeb by now was bowling with a lot of accuracy and had another left hander nicking an off-cutter which was taken well by Nissar. The Engineers now entertained hopes of kittling Millenium for lesser than 200. From 100/1 in 13 overs, Millennium slumped to 164/5 in 29 overs. But their skipper, Fuji had other ideas. Fuji started shakily, especially playing and missing at least half a dozen times to Nari, but came back well by taking two fours off the same bowler and was rotating the strike well. Sanjeeb finished his spell of 3-37 off his 8 overs and had brought the Engineers back into the game. Millennium reached 200 during the 35th over and Fuji looked murderous mood. Skipper took over from Sanjeeb and continued from where he had left. His first two overs cost only 5 runs but his counterpart was not to be kept quite. Three boundaries flowed from the blade of Fuji in his next over. Ashok came back into the attack to bowl the last two overs from the other end, but he also went for 18 runs in his fourth over, the last over of the innings but took the wicket of Fuji in the last ball of the innings. Millennium finished strongly at 249/7, a run rate of 6.25, more than a run a ball, and had made 52 runs in the last five overs. The Engineers had to bat out of their skins to make this total and after a bit of debate, decided to open the innings with Nissar and Vimal, their regular opening pair. Millennium opened the attack with Rizwan and Saida. Vimal looked steady at one end but Nissar seemed to lack ideas at the crease and returned to the pavilion soon, being bowled by Saida in the fourth over of the innings, Engineers 16-0. Viswa joined Vimal and things seemed to steady for a while, a straight drive off Rizwan by Vimal being delight to watch. Fuji came on to bowl in the 7th over and seemed to be bowling long hops down the leg side. Vimal, trying to attack one such long hop, found the sole fielder behind square to perfection, Engineers 35-2 in the seventh over and in a spot of a bother. That brought in Sriram to the crease, being in great touch this season with a couple of centuries and three fifties. He seemed be in the same touch, a flick for six towards mid-wicket followed by a boundary off the bowling of Ito surely confirming that. However, he seemed to be a bit tentative while attempting a few aerial shots but soon after settled down. The batsman was in pain though batting with the help of a runner, a hamstring which he pulled during fielding. Things seemed to go steadily and Sriram was delightful sight for any cricket lover (not for the Millennium though) with some good strokes while Viswa provided good support at the other end. The run rate was also under control and the Engineers seemed to be cruising. Muneer had come on to bowl and troubled the batsmen with his leg spinners and googly. Just before the break, Viswa skied a short one from Muneer on the off and Kamada at point took the catch at the third attempt which brought jubilation in the opposition camp. Engineers 120-3 in the 17th over. The pair had put up 85 runs in 12 overs. At the halfway mark, Engineers were 127-3, very much on track, both on the run-rate and the wickets. Vimal replaced Nissar as the runner for Sriram and things were going similarly for Engineers, the scoring rate around 5-6 an over. Muneer was bowling very well and the scoring rate gradually dropped and by the 27th over, the required run rate climbed to 7 an over. Sanjeeb fell trying to accelerate the run rate. Silvester replaced Sanjeeb but could not get off the blocks soon and eventually fell to Muneer, being caught at short third man, 160-5 in the 28th over. Nari joined Sriram in the middle and the result seemed to hinge on how these batsmen left to be done for the last three to come. Muneer finished his spell and had figures of 3-25, easily the best bowler on the day. For a couple of overs, runs came steadily and in the last 10 overs, the Engineers needed 80 runs and was not impossible, especially if Sriram stayed till the end. Millennium skipper Fuji read the situation well and brought his remaining best bowlers, Rizwan and Saida to strangulate the run rate and get the important breakthrough. Things couldn’t have turned out better for him, when Sriram skied a Saida slower one to mid-wicket where Muneer took a well-judged catch leaving Engineers needing 78 runs in 56 deliveries with 4 wickets in hand. Even as the Millennium was celebrating as though they had won the match as they had seen only Sriram between them and victory, Bikash walked in to give Nari company. The pair resorted to some sensible batting, running between the wickets like possessed men and getting some boundaries in between. The pair seemed to keep the required run rate under check, the required run rate never going beyond 8 runs an over. Nari made Bikash run for everything and without any slogs the pair was making runs at 8 an over. So good was their partnership that between the 31st over and the 38th over, there were not more than 3 dot balls. Rizwan and Saida, the better bowlers had finished their spells and the Engineers still needed only 31 runs off the last four overs, with lesser bowlers to be tackled. Fuji took upon the bowling in the 37th and it proved to be great over for the Engineers. Nari took two fours off the over, a wide and singles and two’s off the rest of the deliveries got the Engineers 15 runs in the over and things seemed to be in the kitty for the Engineers, 16 needed off 3 overs, less than a run a ball. Ito took over and his first delivery was dispatched to the cover boundary by Nari to reach his fifty (his first for the Engineers). 12 needed off 17. In the next delivery, against the run of play, Nari pulled Ito and was caught by Saida at short mid wicket, Nari declared himself guilty of not seeing the Engineers through. Jagan joined Bikash and took two runs off his first delivery, 10 required off 15 balls. However, what followed was downright suicidal, Jagan hit the ball straight back to the bowler and Bikash took off for a non-existent single, leaving Jagan stranded at the bowler’s end. Jagan sacrificed his wicket for the team’s cause and the scorecard should read, Jagan: run out (Bikash). At the beginning of the 39th over, Engineers needed 10 off 12 and skipper Biju joined Bikash. Four runs came off the over, but pressures of the game can do tricks. Biju played the fifth ball from Fuji to behind square where two fielders pounced on it. As the batsman called ‘no’ watching the ball, Bikash started running, apparently not hearing the call and reached the striker’s end even before Biju realized. Biju missed a trick in sacrificing his wicket, Bikash paying the price for not judging the running nature and speed of his partner. Six runs were needed off the last over, last man Ashok on strike and Ito to bowl. The first ball was a wide and the batsman also took another run as the keeper missed the take. Biju on strike, 4 off 6. A drive to mid off in the gap got them two more runs. 2 runs off 5 balls required. A dot ball and then, a noball by the bowler at this stage got the scores tied which brought down the equation to 1 off 4. Another dot ball but the next was cleverly guided by Biju to the third man area and got the Engineers their most important win of the season. The Engineers had scraped through, scripting their best ever run chase and the heroes were Sriram and Nari with some good support from Viswa, Sanjeeb and Bikash. In hindsight, Millenium would have themselves to blame as among other misses, they dropped three catches off Sriram and Nari each, holding on to any one of them would have made a different result in all probability. The Engineers have a few worries up their sleeves, despite their victory. The opening bowling partner to Nari is still a worry, though Nari himself was rusty with the new ball today. The bowling form of Ashok is another major worry. The ground fielding seems to be improving but catching leaves a lot to be desired as there were more than a couple of dropped catches. Brief Scores: Millennium: 249/7. T Fuji 70, M Ahmed 65, S Sahoo 3/37 IECC 250/9 (39.3 overs). S Sampath 78, V Ghosh 35, N Ram 50, M Ahmed 3/25.
Engineers and Kytes – the Spirit of Cricket
Lack of penetration in the Engineers bowling line-up becomes an issue of concern
|A very successful friendly encounter between the Kytes and the Engineers earlier in the season prompted the Kytes to invite the Engineers for yet another friendly match at the Shizuoka cricket ground which the Engineers accepted with delight. The Engineers were looking for some good match practice and also a bit of cricket with fun in the midst of a season filled with some good cricketing action. Biju won the toss for the Engineers and without doubt opted to bat first. Biju also decided to give the lesser batsmen of the team a hit at the top and shuffled around with the batting order a bit except for the opening combination. Skipper wanted to test Nissar in the opening slot, which the batsmen proved that he is not good at that position by getting out cheaply in the last two matches. Anil gave Nissar company to face the Kytes sans their main strike bowlers but it did not show on the scorecard. Mark Steward, who never seemed to take any wicket, struck early and literally ran through the top order of the Engineers. Nissar was out in the third over trying to late-cut an in-swinging ball on middle stump, Engineers 3-1. Usual number 11 Ashok Sharma came in at No.3, but was soon gone caught behind by R-G Martineau (Yes, this is not a typo) in the fifth over of the innings. Number 10 Yogesh came in at number 4 and was keen on playing out the overs. By this time, Neil was into the attack bowling his off spinners. He had Yogesh trapped in front of the sticks trying to play across the line to a looping full toss, the batsman feeling aggrieved at the decision. Santosh came in at number 5 and was soon gone trying to accelerate the scoring. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts in forcing the ball through the gaps, he tried to take the aerial route but the ball went only as far as the bowler. Anil was the next batsman to go bowled by the same bowler, slogging across the line to a ball pitched right on good length. The opening bowler’s first spell made for some very impressive reading: 5-0-16-4. Engineers could do with some steady batting at this time and they had the ideal man in at the time. Silvester, known for regularly getting the team out of precarious situations got in and looked very steady. Ajey came in to bat and was also seemed very keen to provide much wanted support to Silvester. However, a sudden rush of blood saw Ajey trying to dispatch the bowler out of the ground but only resulted in his furniture being re-arranged which left the batsman wondering what could have been if only he had controlled his aggression. That brought in the skipper to the crease who seemed determined to make the innings count. Both Biju and Silvester looked steady and were looking to put on a very good partnership. Runs were coming slowly but the partnership seemed to lay somewhat of platform for the recognized batsman to follow. Against the run of play, a run out ended the promising partnership abruptly. Biju cut a short delivery from Neil and made good contact and immediately took off for a single counting on Robb’s mis-fielding ability as he had demonstrated an over eaelier while fielding at mid-off. However, Robb this time at backward point moved in swiftly to his right and had a smooth one hand pick up and threw the ball to R-G Martineau who, for a change didn’t make any mistake. Engineers were in doldrums at 56-7. Fall of that wicket exposed the new tail. Bobby joined Silvester and batting seemed a lot easier with the tail-enders at strike. Runs were flowing a bit more freely and the team score started to move a bit faster. Bobby and Silvester put on a good partnership at a slow pace but very steadily. The pair had a partnership of 25 runs when Silvester hit a long hop from Lalit right down the throat of the square leg fielder. Silvester was unlucky to be dismissed after having made a patient 15 runs. The new number 10 Nari joined Bobby in the middle and runs started to flow at a much faster rate. Both Bobby and Nari started to stroke the ball freely taking advantage of the loose deliveries and in the 6-odd overs they were together, runs flowed freely at close to 5 runs per over. At this stage, Bobby skied a ball wide outside the off stump off Rob Mckenna for the mid off fielder to run around and take a well judged catch. Bobby went for a well made 18 and the Engineers were 105-9. That brought in number 11 Sanjeeb to the crease. Both Sanjeeb and Nari again were doing well and were also running well between the wickets when Nari spooned a simple full toss to mid-off. The Engineers were all out for 119. A very soft dismissal for Nari when the innings promised much more, after having made just 20. The score of 120 was defendable if the Engineers bowled and fielded well and if luck smiled on them. Nari and Sanjeeb opened the bowling for the the Engineers. While Nari was getting the ball to move a bit, Sanjeeb was very steady and totally dried up the runs on the other end. Nari gave away a couple of boundaries to Rob McKenna in the 5th over of the match but beat the bat on more than one occasion. Finally, Nari had Rob driving uppishly on the on-side for Silvester to take a juggling catch at second attempt at short mid wicket, bruising his (middle!)finger. Nissar and Biju were the second set of bowlers for the Engineers and the run rate was well under control as the Kytes lost a few early wickets. Biju accounted for Ashley who came in at number caught by Yogesh at third man and Nissar had Arthur at number 4 clean bowled off his next over. At the drinks, Engineers were well on top with Kytes score being 31-3 after 14 overs. However, Engineers had no further success. The two batsmen put their head down and strung together a steady partnership for the fourth wicket. Biju made a lot of bowling changes and a couple of these changes were to prove very expensive. Ashok Sharma, who is generally economical and picks up wickets at crucial junctures went for 20 runs off two overs, his second over going for 16 runs, with two sixes. On the other end, Santosh could not get control over his medium pacers and sent down 10 wides in his two overs, his two overs costing the team 20 runs. In the space of 4 overs, Engineers had given away 40 runs and had almost lost whatever little control they had on the match. Skipper tried swapping the bowlers, getting Nari and Sanjeeb to bowl. Nari was greeted with a huge six over mid off and Sanjeeb a four towards square leg. The next change, Nissar in his second spell failed to control a delivery that hit the batsman in his elbow on the full and the batsman had to walk off with 10 runs needed to win. In the other end, off Biju’s bowling, Chamberlain, the other batsman with his personal score on 54, tried to pull but the ball took the top edge and hit the batsman on his right jaw and had to walk off with 6 runs to go. Neil, the Kytes skipper, came in and finished the formalities sweeping Biju twice, first for 2 and then for a boundary to bring up a Kytes victory. The Engineers have a few worries up their sleeve, especially the lack of penetration in its bowling line-up. Guess it is time for the medium pace bowlers to pump some weights and add a yard of pace to their armour. However, despite all the drama of the retired hurt and so on, it was very nice to see the teams shake hands at the end of the match and it seemed everybody enjoyed the day out in the field. The drinking session at the Kytes’ ‘official bar’ was the ideal way to end the day and the teams saw each other off hoping for more encounters like these. Brief Scores: IECC 119. M Steward 4/16. Kytes 120/3(32 overs). J Chamberlain 54*.
Engineers keep their heads up after a do-or-die contest
Wyverns prove they are no pushovers
|1st August 2004. Sunday. Friendship day. And the day for an important match of KCL. The Engineers vs Wyverns. One could say it was do-or-die for both. And the match did live up to it’s expectations. One that was closely fought and the Engineers emerged victorious at the end of the day, thanks to some good teamwork. The start of the match was delayed a bit, courtesy some overnight rain. The umpires, international Anton McCloy and aspiring-international Neil Harrison with some players of either team helping out, managed to get the puddles of water cleared out (big man’s big towel played a big hand) and the ground was declared fit for the match and to start at 11.30. Wyverns won the toss and decided to take first strike. Who wouldn’t, given the beautiful flat track! Nari Ram opened the attack for the Engineers and his first ball was promptly dispatched to the square leg fence by opening batsman Robb McKenna. But that was the exception rather than the rule and Nari settled down into a better length and line. Jagan started from the other end. He did not concede anything off the bat but his 2 overs cost 7 runs, all wides. Seeing that he was struggling for line and length the captain got in Nissar Ahmed as first change and the move worked right away. His very first ball landed on good length and the batsman tried to turn it away to square on the on side, but only ended up looping it off the outside edge to Bobby Philips at the strategically placed short cover, who gleefully accepted it. Danger man Robb back in the hut and not too many on the board. Nissar bowled well for 2 overs but in his third over he lost control while striving for pace, conceding 3 boundaries and 13 runs off the over. Ashok Sharma and Sanjeeb Sahoo took over the bowling responsibilities but though they bowled well, they did not get any breakthrough till the 13th over, when almost against the run of play, a wicket fell, thanks to a superb catch by Nari at square leg. The batsman hit a well-timed sweep off Ashok and the ball seemed destined for the boundary but Nari at square leg grabbed the ball, which was swerving away from him, out of thin air. That was a much-needed wicket for the Engineers as the batsmen seemed to be settling down quite nicely. 51/2 and the Engineers were feeling better. Again a small partnership was building up when Sanjeeb struck in his 6th over, and it was Nari all over in action again, catching the ball coming hard at him, at short midwicket. Sanjeeb struck again in the same over to reduce the Wyverns to 81/4. But the 5th wicket partnership between skipper Jummei Hanada and Hirose got the Wyverns back on track. The batsmen stoutly defended the good balls and whacked the bad balls, the writer also being one of involved bowlers. The score moved onto 134 before the Engineers got another breakthrough, and it was again Sharmaji, who got the wicket, thanks to some nifty glove work by Bobby behind the stumps. He had just taken over the keeping responsibilities from Sriram, who had an off day behind the wicket. The batsman stepped out, missed and Bobby whipped off the bails in a flash. Bobby did a great job in the ending stages of the innings, keeping wickets, standing up to the stumps with the slow bowlers operating. Skipper brought in himself to partner Nari to bowl the last 4 overs and had the free-stroking Hirose caught behind for 47, with Bobby holding onto an outside edge standing upto the wicket. That was quite a nice job! The Wyverns though, fought it out and played out their quota of 40 overs and reached 164/8. The Engineers started their innings with a new opening combination of Nissar with yours truly. Nissar made his aggressive intents clear from the very first ball, having a swipe at the ball. But he missed more times than connected. He did have a fabulous straight driven boundary and looked good when he middled the ball. The writer meanwhile, on the opposite end, was content to leave anything pitched outside the off stump. Nissar gave away his wicket in the 4th over, trying a square-cut, and ended up giving a simple catch to point. Sriram Sampath walked in and hit a fabulous six over extra-cover. But the opposition opening-bowler, Hanada, was bowling a very good line and getting very good swing. Sriram fell to one such away-swinger, not able to decide whether to play it or leave it, and ended up feathering a catch behind the stumps. Sanjeeb walked in and was lucky to survive the first ball, which he played across the line and the resultant edge landed in no man’s land. He played straighter for a while, but perished, trying an across the line shot. And this time the edge did carry comfortably to the fielder at mid on. Next batsman Vishwa Ghosh walked in and looked in decent touch. There was a bowling change and Robb came on to bowl. He was sent to the fine leg boundary of a full toss by the writer, but the next ball was an edge and the fielder took a good full length diving catch at point to end yours truly’s innings for 15. The engineers had slumped to 54/4 in the 13th over. At this point Nari walked in, in the new position allotted him down the order. He gave very good support to Vishwa, who in the meantime got very much into his usual stride and started hitting the ball to all parts of the ground. Things seemed to be going the Engineer’s way when Vishwa, trying to reach his 50 with a big hit, ended up skying the ball towards deep midwicket and the fielder happily accepted the catch. Vishwa out for 49, and missed the “prize” (a 1.5 ltr bottle of coke 🙂 that Bikash had announced before the match, by a whisker. In walked Silvester Pereira, coming into the team after a long time and probably only the second time for the season, but looked like he had never been out of the cricket ground. The trademark cover drives and square cuts were there for all to see and with Nari providing support at the other end, the Engineer’s batting for once, was looking quite different from the usual “bicycle stand” that it is compared to. The scoring gained momentum. The opposition tried everything including bringing back the opening bowler and skipper Hanada, but he was safely negotiated by the batsmen, though he finished off with a spell of 17/2 off 8 tight overs. With the victory looking a foregone conclusion(at least for the skipper), skipper started egging the batsmen to play more strokes to up the run-rate, which could play an important role later in the tournament. But the batsmen did not try anything silly and the victory was brought by Silvester, with a boundary to thirdman off Robb. The Engineers won by 5 wickets and are back in the reckoning for the KCL semis. Of course, they would have to play hard to get there, but this match should have given the confidence to face the obstacles further in the “quest for the KCL trophy”. Brief Scores: Wyverns 164/8. Y Hirose 47, J Hanada 30, A Sharma 3/32. IECC 166/5 (32.1 overs). V Ghosh 49, S Pereira 30*.
Shabby batting display by the Engineers results in another KCL loss
Relegation stare at the Engineers
|The British Embassy scored one of the most emphatic wins in the KCL when they defeated the Indian Engineers by 10 wickets while chasing a total of 141 runs. With this the BECC has all but secured their place in the D-I and put the Engineers in an embarrassing position and the danger of relegation to D-II looms large on them now unless they win at least two of the remaining two matches. The venue for the all important KCL match was the picturesque Shizuoka cricket ground. BECC had to win this match to avoid relegation to Division II and a victory here would have almost ensured a berth in the semifinals for the Engineers. The umpires for the match were Robert and Neil of Shizuoka Kytes. Biju won the toss for the Engineers and opted to bat first. Nari and Vimal, the opening pair of choice, were back together and started the innings for the Engineers. After a fiery first over from the BECC skipper King, Nari threw away his wicket in the second over to David, closing the face of the bat too soon to a full toss skying a simple catch at mid off to King. Once again, one of the Engineers’ opening batsmen falls cheaply; the Engineers have scarcely had the luxury of a good start this season. Score 5-1 in the second over. Sriram, the centurion in the KCL match against Giants came to the crease and seemed to start from where he had left off. The second delivery he faced from David went to the long on fence, a beautiful aerial on-drive flowing off the blade of Sriram. David however got his revenge when he had Sriram clean bowled, Sriram gone in the sixth over after having made 4. In came Sanjeeb and seemed to be in good touch. Vimal, on the other end was as steady as a rock and was going well. The partnership was going along steadily and was making runs at a steady pace. By now, the first change set of bowlers Thomson and Daley were bowling for the BECC. The hot and humid conditions were taking a heavy toll on the players, especially Vimal. After a couple of tired looking shots (Vimal also got hit on the body off consecutive balls from Daley), Vimal perished playing across the line to a straight one from Daley, but not before making a steady 28 and putting the Engineers in a decent position of around 60-3 after 12 overs. That brought in Viswa, playing his first match of the season. Viswa was lucky to survive his first ball, a brisk flick with decent contact off his legs dropped by King at short mid-wicket. In the next over, Viswa hit a couple of good boundaries off Thomson and the score was making for some decent reading for the Engineers. The Engineers went into drinks at 77-3 after 15 overs. The Engineers never expected what was to come in the post drink session. The sky was suddenly overcast and there were dark clouds all around. In twin lapses of concentration, both the set batsmen got themselves out. Viswa holed out playing across the line to Thomson while Sanjeeb immediately perished skying a flick shot, Engineers suddenly at 77-5 after 16.5 overs. The heavens opened up at this point and the rains were pretty heavy. The BECC captain’s expression said the story, they were hoping for a complete match to ensure them to retain their Division I standings, apparently they had three washouts this season after the match was halfway through. The rains stopped after around 40 mins and the umpires took an early lunch. Post lunch, Nissar and Jagan resumed the innings for the Engineers and very soon even Jagan was dismissed. Nissar however seemed in great touch and was getting into a very fruitful partnership with Yogesh. Yogesh was just playing out all deliveries he had to face while Nissar took upon himself to do the scoring. He punctuated his innings with some very good shots all across the ground. King decided to bring himself on and Nissar welcomed him with a huge cover drive for six. After a decent partnership of 30 runs, Yogesh was dismissed bowled by Daley, Engineers 120-7. Nissar’s innings was ended by a beautiful delivery in the block-hole by King but not before Nissar had made a very respectable 21. The remaining batsmen, Santosh and Ashok contributed 10 runs while the skipper put a price for his wicket and remained not out. Engineers had set a target of 141 for BECC to win In a previous friendly match earlier this season between the teams, BECC had made 140 and the Engineers had chased by losing just 1 wicket and this total seemed anybody’s game, though the Engineers surely had the edge. The script however, in the second half of the game could not be more perfect for the BECC. The overcast conditions had returned and batting was a lot easier from the physical conditions point of view. However, they had to contend with a ball that would move a bit more due to the conditions. The opening bowlers, Nari and Jagan, however could not take advantage of this, Jagan especially having trouble controlling the moving ball and going for 14 wides in his four overs (no runs off the bat off him). In the other end, while Nari beat the bat a couple of times and had a skier drop in no-man’s land; things were surely going BECC’s way. The opening batsman for the BECC were batting very steadily and were ready to grind for their runs, one batsman freeing his arms once in a while and the other content in waiting for the bowlers to make a mistake. The BECC kept the scoring rate at around 4 an over, which was very comfortable compared to the required rate. Biju, Engineers captain, brought in Sanjeeb and he was creating some trouble for the batsman. However, the wicket eluded the IECC and runs were coming freely for BECC. Vimal came along and bowled well and was unlucky not to have got the wicket with a couple of close LBW shouts. Another shower break for around half an hour did not have any change in the way things would go, if anything, it made the flex pitch slippery for the bowlers and the ball a bit wet for the bowlers. Biju tried every bowling option available to him and by the time the BECC had crossed 100, he had tried 8 bowlers in the team, barring Sriram, Viswa and Yogesh. None of the bowlers bowled badly but the Engineers lacked the penetration on the day to be able to make the vital breakthrough. While all this was happening, the BECC was gradually approaching their target without any sweat and ended up chasing the target without losing a wicket with around 7 overs to spare. Having said about how the script went for the BECC and the conditions favouring them a bit, there is nothing to be taken away from the performance of the opening batsmen of the BECC. The openers had a lesson or two to teach their opponents that day. Some statistics: They chased the target in 32.5 overs, the openers hit around 100 runs off their bats (IECC was generous with the extras for the rest) and a majority of these were run between the wickets and hence that would have taken a huge toll on their reserves, one of the openers was David who also opened the bowling for BECC. All in all, the BECC retained their place in Division I of KCL in style. Now, it is upto the Engineers to ensure they retain their place in Division I and with some stellar performances, make it to the semifinals of the KCL. Time will tell the story, watch this space for more. Brief Scores: IECC 140 (29.5 overs). A King 3/31. BECC 143/0 (32 overs). D Envall 33*, A Pritchard 64*.
Wombats pay the price for reversing their batting order
Steady batting backed up by good bowling and fielding does the trick for the Engineers
|The friendly match between the Tokyo Wombats and the Indian Engineers was likely to be played in really hot conditions considering the heat in Tokyo in the past few days. As usual, though the match was slated for a 10:30 am start, it was around 11:15 am by the time the first ball was bowled. It was a pleasant surprise to see both teams fielding a full eleven considering it was only a friendly match. The Engineers were looking for a victory to boost their confidence after their loss to the Tokyo Giants the previous week and the four KCL matches in the following weeks. The wombats however were happy that they were playing cricket for the sixth weeks in a row. Wombats are the latest addition to the Engineers’ growing list of friendship clubs in Kanto. Wombats, who are highly regarded and respected by the Engineers, are also the latest addition to the Pacific Friendship Cup tournament, a tournament jointly conceived by the Engineers and the Shizuoka Kytes. The atmosphere on the ground and the conduct of the players was ample proof of the camaraderie existing between the two teams. Going to the match, Biju won the toss for the Engineers and opted to bat. Nari Ram and Anil Kumar started the innings for the Engineers. The wombats had variety in their bowling attack. Of the opening bowlers, one was fast and bouncy and the other barely coming on to the bat. Further, they had an array of medium pacers to bowl in the middle overs and Jarrad and Chuck making up the spin part of the attack. Scoring was nothing great but the Engineers seemed to be headed for a steady start when one of deliveries kept very low for Nari in the third over and rearranged the furniture, Nari departs without disturbing the scorers, Engineers 6/1. In came Sanjeeb, who, of late, has developed a very good habit of being part of crucial partnerships at the top of the order. While Anil was steady at one end, Sanjeeb was starting to hit a few blows to the boundary and this kept the scoring rate at between 3 and 4 runs an over. The wombats had by now resorted to medium pace bowlers. Things were going fine when against the run of play, Sanjeeb played across to a ball way outside off stump and skied a catch to deep mid wicket for a well made 24, ending their partnership of 39, Engineers 45/2. In came Nissar Ahmed at No.4, a promotion in the batting order and seemed in good touch. Anil, at the other end was beginning to open up and hit a few good blows to bolster the scoring rate to around 4 runs an over. Nissar and Anil were stringing along a good partnership and Wombats found this the correct time to introduce spin into the attack, first leg spin by Jarrad and later, some off spin by the skipper Chuck himself. Jarrad was expensive, went for 28 runs off his four overs. Things seemed to be going steady when one of the cover drives of Anil went a bit aerial and went to hand. Anil departed after a patient 19 but consider that he went in the 19th over and the team score was 73 when he departed, it was an ideal innings by an opening batsman for the Engineers, the partnership yielding 28 runs. Engineers 73/3. In came Jagan Panda, Engineers expecting him to continue the steady flow of runs. However, Jagan early on his innings got one on his pads right in front of the stumps which the umpire, yours truly, had no doubt about, Jagan also departing for naught. Santosh Ghadge came in, was living dangerously against the leg spin of Jarrad while Nissar kept the scoring rate at 4 an over and was playing a very mature middle order innings. Nissar eschewed his risky shots and was rotating the strike very well, once in a while punctuating his innings with some hits to the fence, one pull shot with ferocious power worth specific mentioning. Santosh fell trying to accelerate the scoring for a well made 18. Biju replaced him in the middle, but not for too long, having his stumps uprooted by a delivery that again kept low for a second ball duck by Ian. That brought in Ashok Sharma, who has been having in good form with his bat these days. Nissar and Ashok again were putting along a decent partnership and the team score passed 100, the scoring rate staying around 4 an over. After the second drinks break, Nissar departed sweeping Chuck to a yorker length delivery and had his stumps uprooted. Nissar made a very good 35, and got into 3 very decent partnerships, with Anil, Santosh and Ashok, the one with Santosh yielding 38 runs. Ashok himself hit a couple of nice hits, one of them reaching the midwicket fence. In came Yogesh but did not stay long, skying a Chuck delivery to long off. That brought in Manny (one of two Nari’s colleagues) and he was content in finishing the quota of 40 overs, which the Engineers have not achieved in any of its matches this season. Ashok fell playing across the line to Chuck and the final batsman (Murty, another colleague of Nari) didn’t last long being stumped off the first delivery he faced. Overall, the Engineers had a steady batting display but four ducks out of 10 is ill-affordable and not finishing their quota of 40 overs is unpardonable. For the Wombats, Chuck was the most successful bowler with 4/25 in 7.2 overs, all his 4 wickets coming in his last 9 deliveries. Ian Gason had the most economical figure of 2/12 off his 6 overs. The Wombats would have fancied chasing 136, considering they had chased 204 recently on the same ground, thanks to a brilliant 94 by Jarrad. The Wombats decided to give their lesser batsmen a hit in the middle and the main batsmen Jarrad and Chuck held themselves back for later in the innings. Nari and Jagan started the bowling for the Engineers and the bowling was steady giving nothing away. In the second over, under pressure to get some runs, the batsmen set off for a non existent single from a push to mid on. Sanjeeb picked up the ball and opted for the keeper’s end for Nissar (donning the gloves in the absence of a genuine keeper in the eleven) to complete a simple run out. Jagan, in the same over clean bowled the new batsman, Ian, for a golden duck. Nari’s next couple of overs got the Engineers two more wickets, first a pull shot that went straight in the air for Sanjeeb to pick up a regulation catch at mid on and then one of the opening batsman clean bowled. The score card read 7-4 after 5 overs. The Engineers however knew that the hard work was yet to be done as the accomplished batsmen sat in the pavilion trying to give their less accomplished a batting opportunity at the top of the order. Biju took over the bowling from Jagan, went for a four but came back two balls later, clean bowling the wombat, who had hit Nari too earlier. Wombats score 22-5 after 8 overs. Santosh then replaced Nari and his bowling followed the familiar pattern, spraying the balls all over(on an average 4 per over) but he also got a wicket, caught behind by Nissar. Santosh’s figures were 3-0-14-1. Without the wides, it would have read 3-2-1-1, 10 of the 13 wides coming in his last ever, an over that never seemed to end. New bat Jarrad looked in ominous touch. In his whole innings, the bowlers got through his defenses only once (Nissar very late in the innings with a beautiful in-cutter). Runs seem to be flowing a lot more easier with Jarrad at one end. The Engineers seem to be losing their plot here but Biju brought back Jagan into the attack after drinks and it worked. Jagan struck in his very first over, uprooting the stumps of the batsman who was giving good support to Jarrad until then. After drinks, Nari also took over the gloves from Nissar to free him to bowl a few overs. This brought in Chuck the Skipper, this partnership would prove the most crucial. Chuck and Jarrad picked up singles at will off Ashok and Jagan. Although the score card read 7 wickets down, runs were flowing freely and the Engineers had to do something really quick. The partnership was milking the bowling at a run-a-ball without any risks. With this, the Wombats were way ahead in the run rate and if they had continued to play like this, they would comfortably reach their target in 10 overs. Biju brought in Nissar into the attack and it was a master stroke. Nissar struck in his very first over, twice. First, he had Chuck pushing at a ball that just moved away off the seam and Nari held on to a fine nick, score 80-8. Nissar then had the next batsman, the Wombat’s ‘keeper, chasing a wide delivery and being caught behind for naught (Yours truly thought that though it was not sunny there was clear daylight between the bat and ball). That brought in the last man in the form of Andrew, the opening bowler, to the wicket. Within the next couple of overs, even this partnership seemed to take ominous proportions, the team score crossing 100, in the 24th over. The duo ran hard between the wickets and Jarrad was getting very good support. Biju brought on Yogesh to give him a taste of bowling but his one over went for around 7 runs and Jarrad took advantage of anything loose. However, against the run of play, one of the powerful sweeps hit the leg umpire and the square leg fielder got the ball back to the glove man Nari to effect the run out of Jarrad. That’s the only way the Engineers could have got out Jarrad this day, I guess. For the Wombats, the reason for the loss would primarily be changing the batting order. The Engineers had a couple of positives out of the match, Nissar and Anil’s batting and discovery of a couple of glove men on the field (Nissar and Nari). However, the top of the order in the batting is still a huge problem, their openers should look for atleast a 30 run partnership every time they walk out, a 50 from one of them would not do any harm at all. Nissar spoiled his best chance to do that. Hopefully, they will do it in at least some of their 4 KCL matches in the coming weekends. Hope we have a similar result against our KCL match against the British Embassy next week. Brief Scores: IECC 136(36.2 overs). N Ahmed 35, C Jones 4/25. Wombats 105(26.5 overs).
65 ball century fails to help the Engineers
Tokyo Giants confirm their supremacy
|Let’s face it guys. Tokyo Giants are the best team in Japan. They have been proving that every year by lifting the KCL Trophy without dropping a match. They have proved it last week when they chased a total of 249 by losing only 5 wickets and they proved it again this week by defeating the Engineers by 61 runs. Even the fastest ever century in KCL (in just 65 balls) and a 3rd wicket partnership of 105 runs could stop the Giants. The chase for 254 runs by the Engineers suffered an early setback when opener and in-form batsman Vimal Vikrant, who the week before missed a half century by a whisker, offered simple catch to mid-on off Mumtaz Alam, the Giants captain. Fall of that wicket brought another in-form batsman and the best bet for the Engineers, Sriram Sampath, to what would have been the biggest upset of the tournament. Riding on the back of a quick fire half century a week before against the British Embassy, Sriram got into business in earnest. He dispatched Mumtaz to the boundary in three consecutive balls to have his first over disfigured for 12/1. Of the first eight balls he faced, Sriram dispatched five of them to the fence. After a messed up 3 over spell, Mumtaz brought in a slow bowler to replace himself. Hamid Syed started impressively with giving away only four runs in his first over but you can’t stop a raging bull, can you? Sriram scored a four and a six in Syed’s second over. The only bowler to have kept Sriram thinking, so to speak, was Ahmad Kamal, the other opening bowler. While others struggled hard to contain the rampaging batsman, Kamal bowled impressively from the other end to end his 6 over spell for 23 runs and the wicket of Nari Ram. Struggling to contain the run rate, which was only a wee bit below the required rate, Tauseef Azhar, the Giants’ trump, was brought in. Now, Tauseef is a bowler who has won many a matches for the Giants and has been Best Bowler of the KCL for some time. But statistics are like mini-skirts; what they reveal is interesting but what they conceal is downright fascinating. Sriram couldn’t care less for Tauseef’s reputation and mangled his spell of 3 overs with 36 runs, which included four massive 6s. In the process the batsman raced to his half century off only 38 balls. His next 50 took only 27 balls as he became the record holder of the fastest century in Japan. The only success of the sorts that Tauseef got was the wicket of Sanjeeb Sahoo, who until then was giving a good company to Sriram and put up a 105 runs partnership for the third wicket. Sanjeeb flicked a delivery, his favourite shot, to the square leg boundary and was well caught by Amjad. Score: 151/3 at the end of 21 overs, way above the required run rate and this writer was having a smile on his face for obvious reasons. Although his bowling figures were messed up and was taken off the attack, Tauseef had made a very important breakthrough, which was not very obvious at that time. Sriram followed the next over(105 runs, 67 balls, 9×4, 7×6) having found in front of the stumps by the umpire. With two new batsmen at the crease, the Giants closed in. Wickets fell in monotonous regularity and a pall of gloom set in at the Engineers dressing room. Jagan Panda suffered an ignominious dismissal, hit wicket, trying to pull the spinner Syed. Bikash Mohanty suffered a hilarious dismissal, clean bowled, but the batsman didn’t know what happened. The ball had touched the off bail with just enough force to clip the bail. As the fielders started celebrating, the batsman turned around and asked the umpire, “What happened? Am I out?”. The run chase ended when last man Ashok Sharma, in his ambitious effort to lift Qaiser Mehmood out of the ground, was caught at mid-off in the 32nd over for 193 runs. The last 7 Engineers fell for 42 runs in 12 overs. What an anti-climax! Earlier, the Giants had won the toss and elected to bat first on a fast outfield. Their opening batsmen put on 87 runs in 15 overs and was going strong when first change bowler, Santosh Ghadge, had Amjad Hasan played on. But the Giants, who bat deep, kept coming at the Engineers. Every bowler tried was given the treatment and your correspondent was reaching the wits end with run rate shooting up to more than 8 runs per over at one stage. But a couple of quick wickets brought down the run rate to about 5 runs per over. In desperation, the bowlers were juggled frequently and were given only short spells. The ploy seemed to have worked as every change brought a wicket but only to the effect that the incoming batsman was more attacking than than the outgoing one. Nari, by far, was the best bowler with 3 wickets for 34 runs off his 8 overs. Every other bowler went for more than 5 runs per over with the usually miserly Ashok being the most extravagant this time, going for 40 runs in his 4 overs. One of the regrets your reporter has is not being able to cross 200 runs in their chase, a fact the Giants take great pride in. That not many teams score 200 runs against them. Even in defeat, it is a nice feeling to dent the opponent’s pride! Brief Scores: T Giants 254. S Hassan 61, H Sayed 59. N Ram 3/34 IECC 193. S Sampath 105, M Alam 3/28, A Syed 3/50.
Engineers coast to an easy victory
Sriram smashes a quick fire half century
|Edogawa the home for many Tokyo cricketers saw another ground in making today when we played a friendly against the British Embassy on Saturday. Due to the persistence of couple of players from the Engineers led by Bikash Mohanty, we found another ground in the close proximity of the already existing one. Initial reaction of both the Engineers and the Embassy was… lets take a look today and decide if we should ever come back! The ground was lush green with tall and uncut grass, patches of lumps all over but both teams got down to the work, rolling out the Flicx pitch that was brought over by Engineers captain from Kawasaki with the assistance of Nissar and this writer after camping at the skipper’s apartment the previous night. After lots of discussion on the orientation of the pitch we came to a consensus and got down to the job of hammering the nails in. Wasn’t such a good sight at first to see the wavy pitch work but still got on with the match. Skipper Andy King won the toss for the Embassy and elected to bat first with 9 players present. Surprise package in their team was Kamran Ali of YC&AC padding in for them. The Engineers would have elected to field anyway due to the uncertainty of the pitch. To start with, we had 10 Indians and 1 Australian in the form of David Davies in our team. Play commenced at 11:30 AM and we started 2 guys short with 9 players. Ashok Sharma(SOS reached him late) and Sanjeeb Sahoo (who waiting for his love-seat to be delivered) were both slow to reach. Skipper tossed the new ball over to David who took charge from the Hospital end while Vimal Vikrant took over from River end. The Embassy started cautiously with David Envall and Andrew King opening the shop making the Engineers toil initially in the heat without any wickets for an hours period. The breakthrough came in the 9th over when Andrew fell trying to heave a delivery out of the ground. The score read 45/1. In walked Anton Winston with the utmost coolness. Biju took over the proceedings from David and was bowling well to beat Anton. In his 3rd over, after 5 dot balls and a difficult at chance at the covers which Santosh tried his best to hold on to, Anton picked him up and dispatched off for a massive 6 over the mid-wicket, which had the longest of the boundary. Undeterred, Biju came back in his 4th over with a certain strategy. With the fire burning in Biju’s eyes, your truly was sure that he would scalp Anton for the six he was put off in his 3rd but something strange happened. The clock stopped for Biju! The 1st ball was dispatched with absolute strength over the cover fence for another six! It came as a thunderbolt for our captain. Regaining his composure he again raced in to bowl a beauty and that was a perfect come back delivery. As the score sheet would record it thereon for history, the next 3 balls were dispatched with brutal force for 3 consecutive fours. Biju’s 4thover fetched the Embassy 18 runs and in total Anton milked Biju for 24 runs in 7 deliveries spanned across his 3rd and 4th over. This was the ONLY reprieve that the Embassy could ever get out of us. Thereon as always our players gently and surely tightened the noose around the neck of opponents and drained them out of their run fest. When Anton fell the score read 95/2 in 19 overs. In the 32nd over their score read 129 All out! Needless to say the Embassy batted with only 10 players. So one can imagine the manner in which our boys came back. To give credit to our bowlers here is some information on how Santosh stuck to the task. His bowling analysis read 7-1-28-4 (7w, 2nb) at the end of his spell. Had he controlled his extras the score would be lesser and his figures would have been better but then… he bowled exceptionally well. He moved the bowl all over the seam and the batsman were hunting in the dark. Sanjeeb rolled his arms with his gentle ones. Not able to play Santosh the batman made the usual mistake of trying to take Sanjeeb to the ropes and paid the penalty. His figures read 5-3-4-3 (1w). Remarkable indeed. Supported again with the spin was Sharmaji. His deliveries keeping low made it not only difficult but also impossible for the batsman to go for any adventurous shots. His analysis read 7-2-10- 1 (2w). The only person envious of Sanjeeb’s wicket tally may be Sharmaji, between whom there is a fierce competition, having bagged almost the same number of wickets this season. Vimal’s bowling was back to his old self with lots of variety in it. The last match against the Kytes made him think harder and he did his homework quite well. Also he sure didn’t disappoint his captain as the opening bowler. His records read 6-1-18-1 (2w). Chasing 130, the Engineers got down to business with the openers David and Vimal going in to bat. As David was guarding one end of the turf, Vimal on the other end blasted away. When the score read 38 David departed with his personal score on 3 bowled behind his legs by David Envall. He surely laid the foundation for Vimal to go berserk. Here on it was Sriram all the way. With his new wife Anupama cheering from the stands, Sri had couple of things to prove. One was his return to form in 2004 and secondly to prove to his wife why the rest of the cricketing community thought so highly about him in Japan. Not leaving a single stone unturned, he raced away and during drinks at the 17th over, his score read 43 while Vimal was positioned on 39 needing another 20 to win the match. One straight six off Chris need special mention. It had the following caption written all over “To Anupama With love from Sri” and it landed in the stands right at the feet of his beloved who didn’t have anything else but a “WOW” on her lips. Who said cricket doesn’t have language of its own! With 15 runs to win, Sri went after Chris and dispatched him for 2 consecutive sixes and raced to 56(37 balls, 6×4, 3×6) and Vimal stranded on 44 with 3 to win. Kamran was brought in late in the day with Indian needing just 2 more to win. Vimal didn’t loose any sweat and banged the ball to the boundary to end the match with his personal score standing at 48 not out (4×4, 2×6). The final comments about the ground by both teams… “we need to cut the grass and make it a bit more playable but over all it is great stuff”. If only the Ward Office had done something about it! Brief Scores: BECC 129 (32 overs). S Ghadge 4/28, S Sahoo 3/4. IECC 131/1 (19.3 overs). S Sampath 56*, V Vikrant 48*
All about a muscle pull !
Meanwhile the Engineers win over a depleted Kytes
|The muscle pull saga continued as Bobby ‘Muscles’ continued from where he left it last year. The offending muscle caused a stoppage of the play for about 10 minutes as Bobby laid on the ground for a while and then escorted out, retired hurt, when his personal score was at 33. As dramatic as the muscle pull was, his recovery was remarkable too . He later took the field with no signs, whatsoever, of pain and was in his usual self, running all around enthusiastically. To be fair to Bobby, the Engineers have won their match every time he pulled his muscle, so it comes as a sort of delight to the skipper these days! In the side lines, their friendly against the Nagoya CC turned out to be one against one of their friendliest enemies, the Shizuoka Kytes, as Nagoya could not gather more than 2 of their guys. The Kytes, on the other hand, had full team as at 9am but lost 2 in a small duration of 2 hours and played with 9. The day dawned slightly cloudy over Tokyo. A nice drive of 180 odd km to Shizuoka was covered in record time by the assigned drivers to to have an early start to the day at office for the Engineers. Interestingly, both the vehicles carrying the Engineers reached the ground at the same time. Not a frequent occurrence I guess;-). Skipper won the toss and elected to bat since we seem to be bad chasers (?). Yours truly (referred to a YTly from now on;-) and Nari Ram opened the batting for the Engineers. It was a cautious start with Matthew Sharpe getting significant swing in the slightly overcast conditions. At the other end new face Arbab Mohammad was bowling at a decent pace and bounce and varying the length to keep the batsmen guessing. Apart from a few shouts for LBW against Nari, one of which appeared to be very close, both batsmen were content in leaving what they could and defending what was on the stumps. YTly managed a boundary off an Arbab short pitcher. On the last ball of the 7th over Sharpe got YTly bowled with a slower off cutter that squeezed between bat and pad. A decent start goes down the drain. 14/1, but it was the 7th over and a base for others to work upon. Sanjeeb Sahoo walked in and seemed to be in good touch in the few balls that he played. Nari opened up at this point, having got a measure of the pitch and hit a couple of powerful shots square of the wicket for boundaries. One pull shot in particular was a beauty and seemed to have given the batsman some satisfaction as well (going by his own comments later on;-). Left-arm bowler Akagi, the Nagoya member, came in as the first change, bowling over the wicket. In his very first over he clean bowled Sanjeeb behind his legs for 3 as the batsman walked across too far to play play his favorite flick. Star batsman Sriram Sampath walked in after a long lay-off from cricket. But his stay at the wicket was over before it started, with first-ball LBW to Akagi, one that seemed to keep low and hit the pad in full. A bad start for him, but hopefully it is all upwards from now. Akagi was on a hat-trick, but Bobby Philips walked in and the going was smooth for a while for the batsmen. Akagi had a nightmare of an over after this with 3 wides and a six, conceding 15 runs totally in that over. He generally struggled to keep the line. Meanwhile, Bobby and Nari put on 22 in 3 overs. But against the run of play, Nari was out LBW to Arbab, playing across the line to a ball that seemed to keep a shade low, for a good opener’s knock of 23. The next man Bikash Mohanty seemed to be in a murderous mood. A boundary and a maximum followed from his willow and looked like there was no stopping him. The partnership seemed to be going well when in a rush of blood Bikash took a swing at a wide ball from skipper Neil Harrison and edged the ball to slip. Arbab took a nice catch there though the ball was deflected of the keeper’s gloves. Bikash walked back, for a quick fire 16 (6×1, 4×1). Ashok Sharma got a promotion up the batting order given his recent good form with (surprise! surprise!) the bat. He and Bobby in a flurry of strokes and running between the wickets added 40 in 7 overs. Just as Sharmaji was out, caught in the slips by Arbab, to a ball that moved away a bit, destiny kept its appointment with Bobby! He suffered cramps – all the running and high humidity probably playing their part (or was there more to the story? ;-). He limped off the field with his score at 33(4×3, 6×2). Bobby’s exit brought in the skipper which meant that there are two new batsmen at the fall of one wicket. His partner, Anil Kumar, was welcomed at the crease by a Sharpe snorter. He managed to keep it out and then got down to whacking the ball with the full face of the bat for anything pitched up. Both the batsmen had some hard hits. Biju was bowled for 11 by Joel Chamberlain, as the batsman tried to play an unnecessary sweep to an over-pitched ball and playing all over it. In the very next ball Rahul was clean bowled, not coming into line of the ball. And this time Joel was on a hat trick. Yogesh walked in and managed to keep the next ball out to deny the hat-trick. Anil and Yogesh then swung their bats around, much to the chagrin of the opposition captain, who had brought in the fielders in the hope of a quick finish. Yogesh was out, bowled by the skipper himself, and just when the opposition thought it was all over, in walked Bobby. However, in an anti-climax, he gave a catch the first ball he played to finish the innings at 151 off 33 overs. Neil remained on a hat-trick. If only there were a second innings! A target of 152 in the small Shizuoka ground is dicey. It can be ridiculously easy sometimes, can be extremely tough other times. Nari and YTly opened the bowling and it looked like “tick-the-first-option” when the openers started hitting anything pitched up with ferocity. Bikash was the unlucky fielder who had to stop most of the rockets off Sharpe’s bat, off YTly’s bowling. Nari at the other end kept things tight not allowing any room to the batsmen. The batsmen survived a few close LBW calls off both bowlers but carried on at a good run rate. Joel survived when Sanjeeb dropped a difficult skier off the bowling of Nari. The captain brought himself on and in the 12th over, after a wide long hop dispatched for a boundary by Sharpe, got a perfect yorker the very next ball to get the danger man bowled for 28(4×2, 6×2), much to the cheer of the Engineers. Sanjeeb from the other side with his variable pace off-breaks caused the damage further scalping the wickets of Joel, the other opener and the next man, Nakamura, the Nagoya batsman, fantastically caught at short cover by the strategically placed Sharmaji. Sharmaji, who was fuming all this while, with Sanjeeb having over taken him in wickets tally this season, talked himself into bowling after convincing the skipper that everyone had seen enough of him. He, however, did not disappoint the skipper and got rid of the dangerous looking Arbab off the first ball, caught at deep cover, a fabulous running catch by Sanjeeb, in a return gesture to Sharmaji;-). Sanjeeb and Sharmaji cleaned up the rest of the opposition, Sanjeeb ending up with a fabulous 4/21 and Sharmaji at 2/6 to sink the depleted Kytes(9 souls on the field) for 82 runs in 25 overs. Neil, the captain, stayed not out on 6. A comprehensive victory in the end, but there is definite scope for the Engineers at the top of the order and in the middle overs. We rarely seem to use our quota of overs. Anyway, a nice outing and hope this gives us the confidence to take on the bigger challenges ahead this season. Brief scores: IECC 151(33 overs). B Philips 33, N Harrison 3/18, S Akagi 3/38. Kytes 82 (25 overs). S Sahoo 4/21.
Engineers lose advantage
Chaos mark the start of the match
|The Engineers lost their second KCL match, against YC&AC, in the end, by a rather wide margin of 72 runs thus giving away their advantage in the run-rate section built up in the first match. But let’s start at the beginning as it is always good to do so :-). The day dawned wet and rainy in some parts of Tokyo, but the match was in Yokohama. After some confusion, chaos may be the right word, about the starting time of the match – apparently, the visiting team captain’s message that they possibly cannot start the match at 11:30am if the match was confirmed at or after 9am did not get through to his opposite number – the match eventually started at 11.45, with only 7 Engineers on the ground. The toss, before that, was forced on the five Engineers present at the ground(skipper was still on his way). The members present (yours truly included) were ignorant enough of the rules and bowed to the pressure, for what was thought to be in the best interests of the team. Who says ignorance is bliss. Anyway, after this hiccup (we lost the toss), the bowling proceedings were started by Bibhas Roy from the Ocean end. He started off with a couple of wides but came back to trap the opening bat Avinash Jadhav, with his pads in front of the stumps, rather than bat. This was on the fourth ball of the over, and Avinash was LBW for a duck. In walked Kamran Ali, one of the leading lights of the opposition. The author of this report started the bowling from the Pavilion end with a mixed first over which included a wide on one end and a yorker at the other. After the initial breakthrough, the batsmen settled down a bit and made slow but steady progress. Kamran in particular looked in decent touch, hitting anything outside the off with ferocity, but the thick grass prevented boundaries. In the meantime the missing members of the 10 (yeah, we did not have a 11 for the match) reached the ground and were ready for action. And the Engineers were finally “in the match”:-). Nari came in as first change in place of Bibhas and started off quite well. He had the other opener Sandeep caught at long on by Sanjeeb Sahoo, who took a nice catch, the first of the 4 fabulous catches that he took in the match. In walked Mark Ferris, who was seen as a big hitter. But except for a couple of big hits, he looked patchy in his innings of 28. The author finished his quota of 8 overs at one stretch for 28 runs (sadly including a six in his last over), helped to quite an extent with the excellent fielding on display. Nari in particular at short silly point made some amazing saves, though the state of his hands after the match is not known;-). It is probably fair to assume that the confusion prevailed at the start of the match and the altercation that ensued spilt into the ground. As the Engineers started celebrating the wicket of Robert Quinliven, caught in the third man region, leg umpire called a no-ball, which was fair enough(the ball bowled by this writer was above batsman’s wait level). The neutral umpire however thought otherwise and as the two umpires got into a discussion, the non-striking batsman also tried to get involved which the Engineers captain objected and asked him to let the umpires take the decision. Pat came the reply, “What the f*#$ are you talking”. Anyway, match continued with the verdict that the batsman was not out and no further incidents. Mukesh Kumar, who has a good record in the YC&AC ground took over the bowling and immediately settled into a very controlled line and length, with his slow off breaks and cramped the batsmen for room. Kamran wanted to break the shackles and had a swing at him which turned out to be an edge. Sanjeeb in the slip position threw himself toward gully, to latch onto an amazing one-handed catch, inches off the ground. Kamran had gone for a reasonably quick 36. This catch lifted the spirits of the Engineers and almost everything seemed to go according to plan from here on. The captain had 2 direct hits for 2 run outs, while Ashok Sharma and Mukesh kept a tight control on the run scoring picking up wickets at regular intervals. Mark got a couple of hits off Sharmaji, one of them a soaring straight six, but the bowler got his revenge when Mark was trapped plumb in front playing across to a straight one, for 28. Sanjeeb took a catch in the slips, high over his head off Mukesh and then a well-judged skier off the bowling of Sharma to wrap up the YC&AC innings at 120 in 33 overs. Only Kamran and Mark had reached double figures. The Engineers were in a buoyant mood at having restricted the reasonably strong batting lineup to such a low score. After all, 120 was gettable in 40 overs, provided we kept wickets in hand, wasn’t it? Sadly, the way things turned out, this score was ample for the YC&AC. The bowling proceedings were started off by Mark, who had a decent pace and nice control on the swing. He had Nari playing down the wrong line to only the second ball he faced, to see the stumps rearranged. Yours truly walked in much earlier than expected and did not last long falling LBW to one that swung from outside the legs onto the stumps. Might have pitched outside leg, but the umpire did not think so (Note: The author’s usual whine:-) 0/2 in the first over with one ball to go, which Mukesh played out safely. Bibhas Roy, the other opener, seemed to be doing okay getting bat to ball, but he too fell LBW, in the second over, to a ball that kept low. The Engineers were 3/3 in the second over. After this Mukesh and Sanjeeb stayed together for a while and were beginning to look assured. Mark finished his opening spell with dream figures of 6-4-3-3, the 4 maidens being his first 4 overs. The Engineers reached 27/3, when Mukesh patted a tame catch to short mid off, pretty much against the run of play and this further dented the Engineers’ hopes. Bobby Philips joined Sanjeeb and both of them again went about looking to rebuild again, Bobby hitting one boundary to deep midwicket with his usual nonchalance. But both fell in quick succession. Bobby fell hitting a tame shot for midwicket to take the catch. Sanjeeb was caught by Siddique of the leg spin of Richard. Bikash Mohanty, the hero of the previous match, walked in and the first ball he played, he hit it to short midwicket, who put it down. The next ball he faced he hit it again straight to another fielder who did not give a chance. The other batsmen continued the procession, Biju falling LBW playing across and Nissar Ahmed was the last man out, bowled to a jaffa from Mark who was brought in to clean up the tail. A miserable total of 48 and the 10 Engineers were back in the hut contemplating what might have been… Well, there is no way but up from here. And good that we hit the bottom at the beginning, so that we can peak at the right time:-) Hoping to see and do better next time. Brief scores: YC&AC 120 (33 overs). K Ali 36, A Sharma 3/22 IECC 48(34.1 overs). M Ferris 3/3. R Johnes 3/5 Click here for the match in picture.
Engineers open their KCL campaign with Champaign
Bikash Mohanty announces the arrival of a new star
|What more could have IECC asked for than a perfect start of its quest for the coveted KCL trophy! Sun shining high over the blue sky and a gentle breeze blowing across the picturesque ground of Fuji… It was a day of wishes come true for the Engineers. The Engineers heaved a sigh of relief when they learned that the umpires of the two matches, that were to take place in the two adjacent grounds at Fuji, have been inter-changed. Although delighted at the change itself the Captain was peeved at the authorities for not informing him of the change. Play commenced at 11:00 AM sharp. Captains of both teams moved on to the turf for calling their luck on the coin while Tim Lodge of the Ichihara as the “new umpire” watched over. Home(Fuji Far East) captain flipped the coin up in the air. Visiting captain called wrong and “Junior” Takahashi, his opposite number, inserted the Engineers, a decision that brought an ONIDA grin on our openers face. Makeshift opener Bobby Philips(this writer) joined the regular Bibhas Roy to open the account for the Engineers. Licking their lips, the openers waded into the middle but their plans were hit for a six when in the early stages yours truly gave a tame return catch back to the bowler. In came the man in form, Dinesh, who showed promise with each shots he played, hitting a huge six and a four but couldn’t last for long. Playing across to a spinning delivery, he was caught plumb in front for a brisk 17 giving no doubt for the umpire to raise his finger! The next wicket to fall was that of Bibhas, LBW (not again!). Contrary to his normal behavior of crying out foul and blaming everything but himself for his dismissal, all that he could do was to laugh out with desperation on the verdict. Bibhas played a perfect role of an opener and was going great guns and by the time he returned he had scored a solid 13. Then came the wonderful partnership between Sanjeeb Sahoo and Nissar Ahmed, the find of the season. 58 runs flowed out of their willows during their stay in the middle with some lusty blows to the fence by both the batsman. Of course, needless to say by now that the umpire did play a crucial role in calling wide anything outside the skin of the batsman on the leg side. Runs flowed from the bats of our middle order and the individual scores read Sanjeeb 28 & Nissar 22 when Nissar departed first followed by Sanjeeb. That brought in Yogesh and Biju to the crease. But neither of them could capitalize on the sound start given by their predecessors. As fate would have it, Biju, in his own words, missed his regular partner in the middle order(yours truly!) for confidence building and went for a duck, clean bowled – his second consecutive dismissal in the same manner. While penning this down I wonder what a confidence that would have been :-). (Bobby, mark my words, I’ll be back with a bang!) In walked Santosh Ghadge and in the company of Bikash Mohanty slaughtered the attack of FFE mercilessly. In particular Bikash was finding the cricket ball to the size of a football, plundering runs all over the ground. After the initial explosive batting, Santosh had to leave the scene with his score reading 13. Luck for a few and unluck for others. In walked the man, the machine, in fact. Ashok Sharma. Who said practice over the weekend is futile? I bet that the best batsmen in our team would have been astonished by the range of strokes executed by Ashok and also the courage with which the fast bowlers were dealt with by this diminutive bowler. As yours truly watched intensely from the square leg umpire’s position, Bikash and the little man from the north spanked the FFE bowlers all over the ground. With just 4 balls to go Ashok went in for a wild hit and the Engineers’ innings folded up on 216 made off 39.2 overs. Bikash ended up not out with a well made 37 off 35 balls. The highlight of our team was the excellent confidence shown by the entire team to take on anything put to them by the opponents. The bowling of FFE was well below par and they ended up giving 59 wides, a KCL record of the sorts. We wondered at this moment if it was a fault of the umpire for these horrific readings on wide ball equation but we were proved wrong during the course of our turn of bowling. For FFE, T. Yamamoto put up a good bowling show with a figure of 3/28. After lunch we had just one thing to be careful about. Bowl stump to stump and do not let the umpire call you for a wide! Our team took on from there. The first ball by Biju was picked up well on the full by his counterpart and dispatched for a four over mid off. That was the only bad delivery off Biju. He came back very well after that to tie down the opponents. The other end was managed by Bibhas who bowled exceptionally well. He was almost unplayable throughout. Guys, practice over weekend is paying off quite well for the team. Such was the vigor that the captain persisted with him for a first spell of 6 overs and he surely didn’t disappoint his captain and came back with a tally that read out in bold 6-1-8-1. First change Santosh too bowled with great commitment giving just 7 runs in his 3 overs and taking 2 wickets but all the 7 runs came by way of wides. Our bowlers stuck to the basic plan of bowling straight and came out with flying colors. Dinesh , Ashok, Sanjeeb and Nissar too bowled well and the result is here for us to see. For FFE, the only person who could make any impact was surprisingly, Kei Imamura. He was the 2nd last batsman to be out but not before becoming the only batsman in FFE to cross double figures. Imamura made 23 runs and did frustrate us a bit. A couple of decisions went against the FFE but over all it was IECC all the way and we must feel happy to say that we have matured into a wonderful team. FFE inning wrapped up after 34.1 overs for 88 runs. Brief scores: IECC 216(39.2 overs). B Mohanty 37*, T Yamamoto 3/28. FFE 88(34.1 overs). Full Scorecard
Engineers kick-start the new season with an upset victory
Nari and Dinesh rock the KCL Champions
|The Engineers had a dream start to their season on Sunday, March 28 when they won a friendly match by 6 wickets against the two-time KCL champions and the erstwhile Kanto Cup (prior to the inception of the KCL) champions. As far the memory goes, this is their first defeat by any team in the last two years, if not three. Mumtaz Khan, the Giants captain, won the toss and asked this writer to do what he would have done anyway had he won it – bowl first. Having granted the wish, the seemingly under strength Engineers took to the field with only confidence in their heart but lacking in match practice. Just like the match turned out to be in the end, Nari Ram too had a dream start to his season as the Giants’ opener, Jehangir, was caught at mid-off by Sunil off the very first ball of the match. Nothing sets up a match than a wicket in the very first ball or a hat-trick. Although Jagan Panda at the other end received some stick in the first couple of overs, he came back strongly with a wicket conceding only one run in his third. By the 7th over, the Giants were struggling with 25/3, though Asad Ali, the other opener was motoring along. Aamir Ali, Asad’s brother, joined him in the 12th over when the 4th wicket fell at 51. From then on, the two brothers harassed this writer with field placements as they scored freely. Asad was more elegant of the two, by cutting and driving the balls. His cover-drives were elegant to anyone but the fielders. There was a time when the Engineers had just 2 fielders on the on side to curtail Asad’s free stroke play. On the contrary, Aamir, as usual, was in his inimitable style – simply brutal. Although he was jolted by the sheer pace and bounce of Sunil – he brought his helmet to face Sunil on a Flicx pitch – and played and missed many times, he was sever on others. Ashok Sharma, probably first time in his career, was forced out of the attack as Aamir took 23 runs(1×4 and 3 consecutive 6s) off his 2nd over, to end up with figures of 0/26 off 2 overs. Aamir’s pyrotechnics ended when Nari was brought in for his second spell and the lonely over left for him. Nari clean bowled Aamir but not before the batsman had scored his 50. The only real chance Aamir offered was when Sunil could not hold on to a caught and bowled chance when the batsman’s score was in teens. The bowler in that process injured himself and was taken off for a brief while. Meanwhile, Asad kept scoring at a brisk pace and was instrumental in getting the run rate above 6 in the last 8 overs of the innings, which was hovering around 5 until then. The batsman was unlucky not to have scored his century as he remained not out on 94 but was lucky to get that far. He offered one of the easiest catches of the day when he was on 12, as he went for his favourite cut shot but the unnamed fielder, probably in his ecstasy of getting a wicket off the very first ball of the innings, comfortably dropped it, thus denying Vimal a wicket. Asad’s 94, in a total of 185 for the Giants, included 12 boundaries and 3 sixes. Sunil in his thin frame impressed everybody with his sheer pace and the bounce he extracted off a Flicx pitch. The usually aggressive Aamir was forced on his back foot and was beaten time and again by balls that whistled past his nose. Although his figures of 0/44 off 6 overs actually gives a different impression, the deliveries that found the boundary were to be credited to the bowler for its pace, not to the batsmen who executed it. For any other bowler, it would probably have resulted only in a single or two. Chasing the stiff target of 186 in 30 overs, the Engineers didn’t have the most ideal start. They lost both the openers by the 9th over for 39 runs. But a 3rd wicket stand of 60 runs in just 7 overs between Dinesh Singh and Vimal Vikrant kept the Engineers well on chase. The stand was broken when Dinesh was caught at point, when the batsman went for a square cut, off the beefy spinner, Sohail, for a personal score of 41(3×4, 2×6) off only 37 deliveries. The fall of Dinesh brought in the new comer Sunil. Unlike any of the previous batsmen, he didn’t muck around and got off the mark in style by dispatching the third ball he faced to the boundary. With 68 runs needed for victory in 10 overs, it could have been anybody’s game. But Vimal and Sunil kept the scoreboard ticking at the required rate. The partnership was broken only when Mumtaz came in for his second spell as Vimal was caught behind. Their stand was worth 51 runs in 7 overs. 38 runs required in 7 overs. It is still anybody’s game. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Enter Bobby Philips. He played a perfect foil to Sunil who was going great guns at the other end. They together scored 32 runs in 3.4 overs. Bobby’s undefeated 20 runs(3×4) came off only 15 deliveries while Sunil in that process messed up Aamir’s bowling figures as he took 18 runs, including a six and two fours of his 4th over. Sunil was run out in the 27th over for a personal score of 33(4×4, 1×6) while attempting a 2nd run when only 4 runs were needed for an upset victory. Brief scores: Tokyo Giants 185/7(30 overs). Asad Ali 94*, Aamir Ali 50, N Ram 3/24. IECC 186/4(27.3 overs). D Singh 41, Sunil 33.