INDIAN SUMMER STUNNER- Indian Engineers vs Shizuoka (Friendly)

Sunday 17th October 1999 ACO

Mid-October and the Indian Summer rolls on. A few days ago the temperature was still hovering around 30oC, but thank goodness it had dropped to a breezy 22oC for the second visit of the Indian Engineers, and what a stunner of a game it was too.

The odds were all stacked against the Kytes. For starters there were only nine members who made it; on top of that were the injuries: Skippa (back), Slog (back), keeper (finger), v-c (finger), and Toddy (something akin to gout). The pre-match catching and throwing practice was nothing short of abysmal and, although the normal banter was in evidence, a general apathy seemed to pervade the air. Ready we were not.

The grass had been cut, conditions were good and, under cumulo nimbo cirro stratus skies, Paul Biju and his team must surely have relished batting against this excuse for a cricket team. Fifteen deliveries and two wickets later there was a whole new slant on the situation.

A superb run out from Takashi, hitting R-G M’s gloves in the perfect spot for him to break the stumps, removed dangerman Sriram, sparking off an incredible session of cricket from the Men in Whites. Bruce clean bowled the equally dangerous Rajkumar, and the Kytes were buzzing.

Sunil and Prasad tried to calm things for the Engineers but by this time the Kytes’ f-c was calling the shots. Field changes were made every few deliveries but, such was their speed and efficiency, the flow of the game was not affected. Robert A captured the third and fourth wickets with two c&b’s and, after 7 overs, the Engineers were struggling on 30/4.

Takashi pouched a catch to give Bruce his second wicket, and with Anton’s fluid field changes the Engineers were not allowed to settle, the Kytes looking far from a team who were fielding with two short. Takashi also gave little away from his bowling but it was Neil, making a welcome return, who took the bowling honours.

The batsmen were under pressure already, and Neil’s teasing deliveries made matters worse. Slog caught one, Skippa too, one was clean bowled, and an lbw left his figures on an amazing 4/2. Meanwhile Todd, gout or not, had made a surprisingly agile stop followed by one of his signature rifle-like throws to complete a second run out.

The result of all this was the earliest curry ever; in little more than an hour the Indian Engineers were all out for 48, sadly for them the lowest score ever recorded by Kytes’ opposition (except when overtaking some of our own hopeless totals). The fielding was expertly marshalled by Anton; it had gone like clockwork. Takashi made some good plays, Malcolm turned 2’s and 3’s into singles and 2’s, Neil stopped everything, and there was not a dropped catch in sight; superb execution.

With only 49 needed some of the Shizuokans got stuck into the lunch-time curry; Malcolm, Slog, Takashi and Robert were all seen tucking into seconds, obviously anticipating no further involvement. And when Bruce had smashed a 6 and a 4 from the first two deliveries, hacking 20% from the requirement, a 10 wicket victory was on the cards but, let’s not forget, this is the Kytes we’re talking about.

Todd made precisely zero, and was forced to cough up the only 100 yen fine of the day, but this only brought the v-c to the crease. Skippa continued on his merry way and, when he fell for 27 with the score on 32, the game was within the Kytes’ grasp.

Anton and Takashi kept the score ticking along even though poor Taka could be seen doubled up in great pain after every single, courtesy of that second helping of curry. Anton holed out with only five more needed, giving Neil the chance to walk out to the centre to get a nice close view of Takashi tonking the next two deliveries for 2 and 4, and the Men in White claimed victory by 7 wickets (though they really only had 5 in hand). Scorers: Hiroko H, Namy, MVP-Neil

It had been a stunning win for the depleted and injured Kytes and, since the match ended at the unprecedented time of 1.45pm, a second game of 20 overs was swiftly organised, with the teams mixed.

The teams were designated as Hiroko’s IX and Namy’s IX, and it was the former that batted first. In fact nearly twice as many runs were scored as in the proper game.

Hiroko’s team scored 98, underpinned by a flashing 48 from Sriram, showing his true form this time. Namy’s team made 80-odd in reply with Robert A just inches away from a hat-trick. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game which helped to cement the growing friendship between the two sides.

Well the Kytes are now on a winning streak…..of two. Form has been surprisingly good recently but a worrying trend is the failure to field a complete team in each of the last three games.

Source: Sky Times Issue 9