Boston University proved to be good sports coming to Hanover with a team of 10 to take on Dartmouth who were eager to get off the losing track and secure a win in a 35 over game. Scorecards from the last time the two teams clashed in 2004, spoke volumes about what might be possible this time given that a 300+ innings was racked up against BU three years ago.
Dartmouth’s captain, Rahul, lost the toss and BU promptly sent their opening batsmen to the crease, the loss not being too costly as Dartmouth’s plan that morning would be to bowl first, anyway. Opening the bowling attack was Jay who initially hit the mark at a good line and length to test BU’s Pavan and Kanishk. On the other end was Omar who also started nicely, keeping the runs at a low. Jay quickly struck in his 2nd and 3rd overs, bowling Kanishk (1) and having a successful lbw appeal against Ali (0). Dartmouth could not have asked for a better start. A small recovery between the lefty Pavan and right-handed #4 Harsh, saw the Dartmouth bowlers struggle to maintain their line, leaking as many runs in the form of wides as we have all now disappointingly come to expect.
Just as the batsmen seemed set, Praveen effected a run out from cover to get Pavan out on 19, to have the BU score reading 32/3 in the 10th over. Enter Gaurav who looked much like a slogger, and who obviously thought himself as such, taking full advantage of a short ball to hit a six over point. The ball was lost in the high grass over the fence which would hamper Dartmouth’s efforts of extracting what little swing they could with the semi-new ball. The replacement ball was one used in practice – old and worn - and Rahul had little choice but to try his hand with Vijayasri, the older ball theoretically being best for a slower bowler. The legbreaker, unable to find his usually consistent rhythm, disastrously bowled short, gifting the opposition 45 runs in 2 overs.
Harsh was lucky to survive 3 dropped chances by Vinay at mid on and mid off from Praveen’s and Vibhor’s bowling, who at least for their bowling efforts were rewarded one a piece by rattling the furniture behind Gaurav (32) and then Shrenik (38), respectively. Ravi also chipped in with one wicket. Some hyperactive throwing at the stumps from the outfield, and poor backing up by the Dartmouth fielders aided BU’s push for ones and twos that propelled their total ever upward. Further dropped chances by Vinay and Amitavo at long off, as well as clear evidence of miscommunication at point between Omar and Govind resulting in another dropped catch, meant that the opportunities of containing the 10-man team were quickly out the window. Unable to stem the flow of runs between Harsh who got to his century and Prashant who was closing in on 50, Dartmouth’s frustration in the field rapidly mounted.
After finally wrapping his hands around an easy catch to get Harsh out on Vibhor’s bowling (109), Vinay vented his frustrations against the captain, openly swearing in a scene that was entirely uncalled for. Rahul then left the field for some time, and the team wondered whether they would be leaderless for the rest of the game. Play resumed after some five minutes with Jay now assuming captaincy and with the last few overs of the BU innings to go. BU ended on a mammoth score of 324/8, a daunting task for the Dartmouth team to now chase. Although this would be a challenging chase in any given case, the gloomy atmosphere in the Dartmouth camp regarding the incident that occurred would only add to the insurmountable feeling of pressure.
Jay and Amitavo decided to open the Dartmouth innings and went steadily along in their inimitable Scully-playing fashion, to neatly drive, flick and cut loose balls, accumulating boundaries and garnering singles. Although arguably not pushing hard enough for runs, the score ticked over until Amitavo was undone by a quicker straight ball from Shrenik who bowled him, middle stump for 35 (38). Jay was joined by Omar, whose role it was to take the attack to the bowling. He scored 16(19), bowled by Gaurav.
Rahul wasted little time at #4, immediately getting off the mark, attacking the bowling in an aggressive nature that would be necessary should Dartmouth have a chance at reaching 325. Jay required a runner (for a very short time Omar, and then for the rest of his innings, Amitavo), and between Rahul and Amitavo, they took the singles and stole twos. Surviving a dropped chance at long on, Rahul executed a flurry of boundaries and three sixes which rocketed his score to 58. Should the onslaught continue in this way, 325 would not be an impossible feat. Trying to clear the ground once again proved to be his undoing when a mistimed shot had him caught at long on, ending Rahul’s cameo on 58 (28), the Dartmouth score 258/3 in the 30th over.
Vibhor ably supported Jay for some time, as Jay got to his second century for Dartmouth scoring 110 (101) before being bowled by Ali. Congrats go out to him for reaching this milestone again. Both Vibhor (11) and Govind (3) were run out, while Vinay was bowled (11), leaving the Tuck reps in Ravi and Praveen to try to finish up things in a cause that was all but lost. They played well for their 13* and 9* respectively to take Dartmouth to 307/7 at the close of the innings, falling short of victory by a meager 18 runs.
BU was buoyantly overjoyed to secure a win with 10 players, while Dartmouth was left with a lot to think about. Not only had they lost today, but they lost in a big way having put the good name of Dartmouth College on the line with their indiscipline and histrionics on the field. It is imperative for Dartmouth College cricket players to adhere to the fact that above all, Cricket is a Gentleman’s game.
Today's date: Sunday, February 26th 2017.