MIT resumed its American College Cricket (ACC) league campaign on Sept. 14 via back-to-back away games against Harvard University. In the previous semester, both teams had won a game each, with all to play for. Winning the toss, MIT elected to bowl first and immediately put Harvard under pressure.
Neev Wanvari G secured an early breakthrough in the second over, dismissing dangerous opener Vivek Jayaram of Harvard. Pace spearhead and new vice-captain Usman Ayyaz ’16 followed up with a ferocious opening spell, getting Harvard opening batsman Osman Siddiqui clean bowled in the third. Harvard captain Manik Kuchroo and debutante Ahmed Gondal then battled a disciplined MIT bowling arsenal led by Saad Shoukat ’15 and Jehangir Amjad G, adding a cautious 52 runs for the third wicket.
Manik perished to spinner Usman Naseer G while trying to accelerate the scoring. The Harvard middle order then capitulated to Mohit Kansal’s bowling G but a late run spree by Hummayun of Harvard, ensured they reached a highly competitive total of 161 in their allotted 20 overs.
In their batting reply, MIT lost opening batsmen Arsalan Adil G and Taranjit Singh ’18 early, followed by Usman Ayyaz ’16. MIT’s middle order, Vineet Agrawal G, Priyank Kumar G, and Koustuban Ravi G, showed resistance and put them in a good position for victory. However, tight bowling by Harvard prevented MIT’s lower order from completing the job. MIT fell 20 runs short of Harvard’s total.
In the second game, MIT was put into bat by Harvard after losing the toss. Openers Suyog Shukla G and Fahad Mahmood G started beautifully, stroking the ball to all corners of the ground. Fahad Mahmood soon perished, getting clean bowled to a delivery by Harvard captain Manik Kuchroo. Captain Priyank Kumar G was soon to follow, leaving MIT in an awkward position. Suyog Shukla G continued to bat brilliantly and was supported by Koustuban Ravi G for a brief resistance between overs 8 and 13.
At this point, Koustuban Ravi G was run out, leaving MIT once again in a precarious position. Suyog Shukla, supported by cameos from Samarth Mohan ’17 and Jehangir Amjad led MIT to a respectable 140 in their 20 overs.
In their batting reply, Harvard were edgy in the beginning but also scored quickly. Saad Shoukat ’15, bowling with serious venom, got opening batsman Osman Siddiqui out, caught by Fahad Mahmood. Harvard captain Manik Kuchroo and Vivek Jayaram then batted smartly and put Harvard on top. At a critical time, Savithru Jayasinghe G got Manik Kuchroo out, tilting the game back in MIT’s favour.
Harvard batters Vivek Jayaram and Ahmed Gondal then consolidated effectively, not losing any further wickets. In the end, MIT’s total did not pose a serious threat, as Harvard coasted to victory with two and a half overs to spare. The two victories put Harvard ahead in their head-to-head with MIT, leaving the engineers eager for the next battle.