Engineers were not good enough to last the pressure
By Silvester Pereira
Rains had almost threatened to spoil another day of cricket; this time a friendly between IECC and Serendib played in a soccer field in Kashiwa, Chiba (close to Moriya). Indian engineers were the first to arrive at the ground and setup the flex pitch while waiting for the opponents. Serendib won the toss and elected to bat in a 30 overs per side game.
The Serendib openers (Sachinat and Sameera) batted cautiously in the early stages before the Engineers opening bowler Rajneesh got the first wicket (lbw) with the score reading 25 for 1 at the end of 5 overs. Biju was the other opening bowler followed by Dinesh, Sanjeeb, Vehzy etc. The ball was keeping very low, sometimes almost skidding. Our bowlers at times had kept a good line but almost all our bowlers bowled at least 30+ wides with grand total of 40+ extras. The Serendib batsmen had a hard time scoring under these conditions and the opener Sachinta even offered two straight forward catches but we failed to gab on those opportunities.(Unlucky Bowler being Dinesh). At one stage, Serendib were 51/5. We dropped few more catches along the way, Sachinta, riding his luck, gradually began to solidify his batting with some good strokes/boundaries while the rest of Serendib batsmen hardly scored, got out mostly bowled or lbw to some good bowling especially from Sanjeeb who ended up with 4 wickets haul for 13 runs. Serendib finished their innings with a low score of 139 of which the opener Sachinta remained not out on 53.
The Engineers opened the innings with Yogesh and skipper Sanjeeb but lost Yogesh early on lbw to the opening bowler. Dinesh came in with the score at 5/1 and started to attack the bowling. He hit some splendid boundaries (4 fours and a six) in just 15 balls before he tried to go for another big hit and was brilliantly caught of the bowling of the first change bowler. While Dinesh was at the crease it appeared the match would be over quickly as we were scoring at an average of 8~10 runs per over and at one stage we were 46/2 in 5 overs. The middle order batsmen tried to hang in there scoring at an average of 4 runs per over but with some good bowling from the Sri Lankans and some sloppy shots from our batsmen, we kept loosing wickets at periodic interval. By the end of 20 overs, the score was xx, still needing another 30+ runs in 10 overs and 3 wickets in hand, it was still anybody’s game. Around 25 overs with 2 wickets in hand and 30 odd runs required, Raju, our main hope, who was still at the crease but yet to get runs, started to open the face of his bat going for some hits. He managed to score some boundaries including a six (six coming off a fielder who failed to take the catch at the fence and the ball popping out of his hands and over the line. With the six in the 29th over, the match was now evenly poised and full of nerves with about 6 runs required in 8 balls and one wicket in hand. Raju went for another big hit (possibly to score a six and finish the match) but failed to hit it cleanly and was caught by the fielder at mid-on. Serendib won the friendly match by 5 runs. Though the engineers lost the match, it was a good close game with lots of fireworks and excitement and good sportsmanship and team spirit by both teams. We gave more wides (36) compared to Serendib (20). Overall the wides and the dropped catches in our fielding has cost us the game.
Brief scores: Serendip: 140. S Sahoo 4/13 IECC: 136(28.2 ov). D Singh 23, S Raju 29