On 18th May, 2013, Dartmouth CC arrived in Middletown, RI to challenge long-term cricketing colleagues and on-field rivals the St. Columba’s cricketing club in a 2-day test-type match. Beautiful conditions and a scenic location near the Newport beaches promised a great game of cricket. It was to be the last game of the season for Dartmouth CC, and also Captain Awais Malik’s farewell game.
Dartmouth won the toss and put in St. Columba’s to bat. Openers Sai and Vimal put together 52 runs in and were beginning to get settled when Sai played a low-full toss from Awais Malik to mid-off in the 18th over, where Pawan Dhakal completed a comfortable catch. The next batsman Francois was bowled by Chris Scholtz after scoring only 5 runs, and was shortly followed to the pavilion by Vimal who was caught and bowled by Awais. Batsmen Salman and Farrukh were dismissed by Prajeet Bajpai and Awais Malik respectively without having made significant contributions, and these quick dismissals meant that it was up to Chetu and Captain Abid to make something of the SCCC innings.
Benefitting from a few early missed opportunities, the two batsmen put together a remarkable partnership which lasted until Abid was bowled at 92 by Faizan Kanji. Although the SCCC captain narrowly missed out on a century, he nevertheless put up a first-rate contribution. Chetu kept the innings together for a little while longer and helped his team reach a total of 342, scoring 79 runs in the process. Dartmouth Captain Awais Malik took 5 wickets in a marathon bowling performance where he held up the bowling consistently from one end for almost the entirety of the St. Columba’s innings.
Dartmouth came in to bat with a little less than two hours of play left in the day. Openers Chris Scholtz and Rahul Khakurel attempted to play out the new ball but Rahul was caught off Vimal’s bowling and SCCC made an early dent in the Dartmouth side. Playing in unfamiliar conditions and under failing light, Dartmouth lost another three quick wickets. Hassan Kiani and Faizan Kanji got a partnership going and Hassan scored a couple of boundaries before closing the face of his bat early to bowler Santosh who took the resulting catch. The day ended with the fall of another wicket and Dartmouth hoping to recover from heavy losses at 42 for 6.
The next morning, another wicket brought Khizer Hussain to the crease. Taking off from his innings against Harvard, he raced to a half-century off 35 deliveries, hitting bowlers all around the park and picking up four sixes and four fours in the process. Faizan, who had reliably held up the innings while his partner broke loose from the other end, took the onus of improving upon the Dartmouth score after Khizer’s dismissal. Scoring crafty boundaries and a six over cover, he put together a last-wicket stand with Waleed to bring Dartmouth to a score of 130 all out. At this point, SCCC decided they would try to score some quick runs in a second innings and put further pressure on Dartmouth.
Dartmouth’s bowlers rose spectacularly to the challenge, however, and never allowed the opposing team a start in their second innings. Opening bowlers Awais and Prajeet took early wickets and a direct hit from Khizer meant St. Columba’s were three wickets down for 17 runs. Batsmen Stephen and Sreekanth came in trying to score as quickly as possible but pressure from the bowlers forced SCCC to declare with only 87 runs on the board. Awais and Khizer picked up the final wickets to convince their opponents that they couldn’t extract any further runs from a resurgent bowling side.
With little time left in the day, Dartmouth decided to play out for a draw. Although the side lost four wickets, a much more comfortable batting performance meant that Prajeet Bajpai and Pawan Dhakal were settled comfortably at the crease when rain halted play late on Sunday evening with about 2 hours left in the day. Shortly after, it became apparent that there was not much hope for a result and the captains decided to call the game a draw.
While forced to recover from early mistakes, Dartmouth saw its share of successes in the game— particularly during the side’s bowling performance in the second innings. Playing as a new team against the much more experienced St. Columba’s Cricket Club, Dartmouth players showed promise for a strong future for the club. The game in Rhode Island closed off a successful season with the team at its most active in years. Dartmouth Cricket Club certainly has much to thank Captain and President Awais Malik for as he graduates this year from the college, after having tirelessly spearheaded the club’s cause during his time as an undergraduate. An enthusiastic Dartmouth side now hopes to return for its next successful season beginning Fall 2013.
Today's date: Friday, February 24th 2017.