15th August, 2009, IISc Gymkhana Ground, Bangalore: Playing their first league match of this year’s KSCA Metro Shield IV Division League, IISc Gymkhana put up a polished performance to defeat YFA Sports Club by seven wickets with as many as fifteen overs to spare. This comprehensive victory was in stark contrast to the way they had meekly surrendered to the same team last year. The highlight of the match was a sterling century scored by the home team opener, Shimjith.
Winning the toss, the visiting captain boldly decided to bat under overcast skies. Pal and Vikram opened the bowling for IISc. Pal – much like the legendary Javagal Srinath – kept bowling well without any luck. He induced edges from the opposing batsmen on several occasions, but each time the ball managed to evade fielders in the slip cordon on its way to the boundary. Vikram was rusty to start with, bowling a few wides before he castled the opposite No.1 batsman, Raghavendra, giving the first breakthrough to IISc. After the initial trouble, Narendra and Aftab took advantage of the 6-3 offside field and stitched together a partnership that was starting to look ominous for IISc.
With the pressure back on the home team, they dropped a couple of catches that made matters worse. But much to their relief, Piyush – shortly after dropping a sitter at mid-on - came in first change and turned the match with a double-wicket over. IISc was now on top but their over-rate was dismal thus forcing skipper Harshan to resort to spin. Sounik and Lalit brought the over-rate back on track while bowling some tidy overs that tightened the noose on the visitors. Sounik bagged a three-for by nicely flighting the ball and enticing the YFA middle-order batsmen to play some reckless shots.
With six wickets down, Mithun and Lokesh defended stoutly and slowly but surely started rebuilding the innings. Noticing their relative comfort at playing spin, Harshan brought in the trusted medium pace of Debajit and Shimjith. The duo bowled well in tandem and finally cleaned up the tail with Debajit picking up three wickets. The YFA innings folded for an inadequate 199. Apart from the two dropped chances, IISc were clean on the field, with the captain himself setting the example. Taking up the novel responsibility of keeping, he conceded only a solitary bye in the entire innings.
Chasing a total of 200 can get tricky, especially when you have to play out half-an-hour before going into lunch. But Santonu and Shimjith did a commendable job and IISc were 35 for no-loss at lunch. Shortly after the break, Santonu perished while pulling one that climbed on to him. Shimjith was streaky to start with but soon settled into his groove. What followed was an exhibition of batting for the small audience that had gathered on the benches at the Gym-Café end. It was nothing short of a batting master-class with both Shimjith and Ashith producing some sumptuous drives, cuts and pulls. A couple of exquisite straight drives from Shimjith were a pleasure to watch. So were a couple of fierce pulls – one of them went well over the leg-side fence - from Ashith, who was playing his first league match for IISc. Amongst raucous cheers from his elated team-mates, Shimjith (104) reached a well deserved century, his first in a KSCA league match. With hardly fifteen runs to win, Shimjith was out stumped and then Harshan also lost his wicket in the closing stages of the game. However, Ashith (52*) stayed on to see his side through, hitting the winning runs as well as getting his half century with his final stroke.
This victory certainly puts IISc on the right course in this year’s league. But they do have a few areas to brush up before their next match. Traditionally, it has always been the second league match that has troubled IISc. It will be interesting to trace their progress. Stay tuned in for more updates.
YFA Sports Club - 199/10 in 41.4 overs
(Narendra 42, Aftab 36, Sounik 3/19, Debajit 3/32, Piyush 2/12)
IISc Gymkhana - 203/3 in 34.5 overs
(Shimjith 104, Ashith 52*)
Result - IISc Gymkhana won by seven wickets
Man-of-the-match - Shimjith M.
• Regular opener, Ganapathy could not play this match due to a freak accident that gave him a bruised knee and a few stitches on his chin. He is expected to be fit for the second match against New National Cricket Club to be played on 29th August, 2009
• Captain Harshan would not be available for the second league match owing to certain personal commitments. It would be interesting to see the team composition for that match
• Roy is back to bolster the IISc team after his assignment in the jungles
• Sounik, who was playing with stitches on a split webbing on his left hand, is expected to be 100% fit by the next match