Category: 2013

Engineers defend paltry total

After a successful chase of 200+ runs in the previous KCL outing, the Engineers had all the confidence in the world to do anything they wanted – bat first and put up a huge score, or chase any big total. So when the skipper won the toss, he had no doubt to elect to bat first so that all the batsmen get a chance to swing their arms. Everyone indeed got a chance and swung their arms but not probably the way their skipper would have liked.

The Engineers indeed were aware of Alpha Q’s(why did they name their team like that?) bowling prowess, but what they got was more than what they expected. Alpha Q almost lived up to their club’s name and pha Qd up Engineers chances but for the partnership of final two wickets.

Engineers were jolted when former skipper and opener, Sanjeeb Sahoo, who was successful in the previous match, was the first to return caught behind for duck in the 5th ball of the innings. His opening partner, Sanman Koyande, returned in the 5th ball of the next over, again for a duck. So we have 2 new batsmen, in the name of Yogesh Chandwadkar the vice captain, and M Karthik, the all rounder, at the crease in the 2nd over of the innings but with their reputation as fine players, the Engineers hoped that the early loss of two wickets was just a fluke, the result of an uneven Flicx pitch. The hope, however, was short lived as the vice captain was judged LBW, in the 5th ball (not again!) of the 4th over by AQ skipper Mohan. That brought another all rounder, Mohubul Hassan, to the crease. With two all rounders, both with a reputation of hard hitting at the crease, the Engineers again hoped that batting collapse was just a flash in the pan. As no wickets fell in the 5th ball of the next few overs and the Engineers began to heave a sigh of relief, a sudden rush of blood overcame Karthik, he stepped out and heaved at a delivery only to be caught by the bowler himself in his follow through. Karthik out for 4. It was the 2nd ball of the 9th over and the beginning of another strange pattern. That brought the daring Prashant Manvi to the crease. He indeed relieved the pressure by hitting a boundary right away but was clean bowled by Venu in the 2nd ball of the 10th over. In the 2nd ball of the 11th over, Mohibul Hassan was caught in the middle of the wicket by Dinesh. Next batsman was Rajaneesh Shukla, who normally doesn’t play aggressive shots but hangs around to make his 20s and and 30s. He too fell to a strange pattern,  caught at mid-wicket in the 2nd ball of the 13th over making the score line look a precarious 7/41 in 13.2 overs. Old timer Jagan too returned in the 15th over with the score at 44 and the Engineers batting lineup that looked so marvelous just a few weeks ago looked like they are not going to cross 50. With the score looking 44/8 your writer walked in to give company to debutant Vinay Mohan who was batting solidly at the other end. The pair didn’t exactly set the the stage on fire but showed some sensibility in batting and took the score to 76 before Vinay slogged at delivery but was brilliantly caught at deep mid-wicket, the fielder having had to cover quite a long distance and the catch was taken with fielder still running. That brought the last man, Taka Morimoto, to the crease and Taka provided a good support to this writer. What pleased the eyes of yours truly was the opposition spreading the field wide and deep after two boundaries were hit 🙂 Soon the innings wound up when Nanda clean bowled this writer but the score at that was 97, not exactly a defendable total but a far cry from 44/8.

In the pre-fielding briefing, skipper encouraged everyone to do their best and Jagan reminded the team of successfully defending a score of 48 against the British Embassy a few years ago. With only confidence in their hands and a pride to defend, the Engineers set about their task. Rajaneesh opened the bowling with a tight line and length. Yours truly made the first break-through in the 3rd ball of his over by clean bowling the opener, Anirudh, the bastsman missing his off stump. New batsman, Shafiq was also sent back the next ball, again the batsman missing the offstump. A hat trick was denied when an edge fell agonisingly fell short of gully. With their tail up, the Engineers continued to attack the AQ and their batting line-up could not withstand the sustained attack although there were patches short partnerships(details in the scorebook are sparce). The last wicket partnership did do their best and came close to 10 runs of victory but Mohibul had Dinesh caught plumb in front of the wicket and the Engineers won by 10 runs.

Brief scores:
IECC: 97 (29 ov). Dinesh Kumar 3/17, Nanda Kumar 3/17
Alpha Q: 87(26.5 ov). Mohibul Hassa 4/14.

Spectacular Batting Collapse

It was the occasion of the big clash in KCL between the top 2 teams in the competition at Ageo. Early morning rain had made the ground wet and soggy. Nonetheless, the toss was done with both teams uncertain about having a full game. Trouble started immediately after Engineers captain Biju Paul had, apparently, won the toss after calling Heads to the home team captain’s spin of the coin. As the coin landed on the ground with the flower side of the 500 yen coin facing up, Lalazar skipper declared he won the toss saying the flower side is the Tail and number side of the coin, Heads. Thinking that the opposition captain was trying to play a prank, skipper laughed off the claim but soon it became apparent that opposition skipper was serious to the shock of Biju and the entire Engineers. Having played all his cricket regarding number side of a coin as Tail and the other side Head, a stunned skipper almost walked out of the ground but his team mates persuaded him for a re-toss, this time deciding to call the actual image on the side of the coin instead of Head or Tail. Skipper called Flowers this time and indeed it was Flowers but as the coin fell hard on the soggy ground, the ground was so soft that a small part of the coin went inside the ground making it standing at a slight angle(probably about 5 or 10 degrees) but with the Flowers clearly and fully visible. Jokingly, or may be half seriously, the opposition captain tried for a re-toss but Engineers skipper controlled his tongue to keep it to himself what he was about to mouth off and brushed off the second claim. Anyways, the Engineers chose to bowl first on a wet ground and uneven Flicx pitch relying on the forecast of the sunny weather later in the day.

The decision of bowling first seemed to be correct initially. With a wet outfield and a slippery pitch and trying conditions Rajneesh and Biju broke the top order of LaLazar in the initial opening burst with the score reading at 8/3. Hard hitting opener Barqat was clean bowled by Rajaneesh and Ashiq Hussain, the other opener was caught at square leg by Ashok Kumar off Biju. Ibrar, the centurion in their previous match, with skipper Gulzar did try to stabilize the innings but Ibrar fell before the score reached 50, clean bowled by Rajaneesh. Even though the top 4 were back in the pavilion in less than 10 overs and half the side was sent back by the time score reached in the 90s, the Engineers had a big task in their hands. As the Engineers entertained the thoughts of finishing off Lalazar’s innings quickly, Adil and Noman had other ideas and their partnership for the sixth wicket brought some respectability to the total and with some late big hitting from the low order saw Lalazar reach 226. Rajneesh bowled his heart out to earn 4 wickets. Engineers bowled well in patches but the fielding was below par, which can be partially blamed on the wet outfield.

226 was a good score but not a impossible total to chase at Ageo where the engineers have already chased down a similar total this season against Nagoya. Skipper assigned Abdul as opening partner to regular opener Sanjeeb and boy, did they provide a wonderful opening stand. Abdul’s aggressiveness sent shock waves through Lalazar camp as he dispatched the opening bowlers to all part of the ground. Abdul was very severe on Lalazar spearhead Mubashar hitting 17 runs in one over. But against the run of the play, Engineers lost Sanjeeb when he attempted a suicidal run and an accurate throw from mid-off hitting the batsman’s wicket as Sanjeeb tried to got back to his crease. But 30/1 in 3 overs is not a bad score and the Engineer kept up the scoring rate till the 12th over with the score was 94/3, well above the asking rate. However, the introduction of spin on both ends resulted in a batting collapse. The pitch, which until then looked like a batsman’s paradise suddenly became a devil’s den for the Engineers. Wickets started tumbling every over and the Engineers yet again witnessed a spectacular collapse as they lost the next 7 wickets to the spin of Gulzar and medium pace of Barqat. Their innings folded up quickly and the journey from 94/3 to 110 all out didn’t take very long. 5 overs, to be precise. That, my dear friends, is the story of a spectacular collapse! The Engineers lost the match from a winning position – not the first time – by a margin of 126 runs. Gulzar was pick of the bowlers taking 6 wickets as he had a perfect game as caption(except for the controversy over the toss) with an all around display with bat and bowl.

Lalazar are well placed in the competition as they are yet to be defeated this season. The Indian Engineers needs to find a solution quickly for its repeated batting failures. Even though they are in second spot but they should win the last game to confirm their place in the semis without being subject to complex calculations of run rate.

Brief scores:
Lalazar: 226 (33.2 ov). Adeel 80, Nomnan 41. Rajneesh 4/37
IECC: 110 (17 ov). Abdul 27, Gulzar 6/15, Barqat 3/28