Chiba Sharks served up one of their more forgettable performances today against a very committed and occasionally hospitalised Wyverns at Sano. The day started with “Heads!” and went down hill from there. Sharks lost the toss and were asked to melt.
Tatebayashi turned on another hot one with temperatures well in excess of 30 degrees. It was a ‘stinker’ in more than one meaning of the word. If you do not believe me, here is the dictionary:
Main Entry: stink·er
Pronunciation: stiŋ-kər (Am.) stiŋ-kAH (Aust.)
1 a : an offensive or contemptible person b : one that stinks c : something of very poor quality <the innings was a stinker> 2 : any of several large petrels (tube-nosed seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes for you ornithologists) that have an offensive odor (think flying groin protectors, used) 3 slang : something extremely difficult <the ball was a real stinker> 4 Aust. slang : an extremely hot day <Tatebayashi is famous for its stinkers>
Imagine a postage stamp-sized cricket field and eleven strategically placed fried eggs. There you have the Chiba Sharks field setting. Pat opened from the Oven Road End and generated real pace, bounce and more heat. It looked likely there would be carnage – there was. Word from StatNav had it that if we cracked the Wyverns opening pair we would expose the soft, juicy underbelly of the Wyvern. Hmmm. Wyvern ace, Chino, probably should have been cooling his heels for 1 as a chance went begging, and we would rue that one that got away. He ended up having more than his feet cooled after a mammoth 131 not out…. Anyway, while Pat was always threatening, from the Barbeque Road End Varun and Dave struggled with their lines in the sapping heat, which eased the pressure on the openers. Dave has seen better days with the ball, as well as the English language. Prashant put the smoking brakes on somewhat, but the batsmen were looking more comfortable (quite an achievement in those helmets). At 10 overs and a welcome drinks break we had yielded 24 wides: the Sharks put new meaning into the expression “toast of the town”.
After the drinks break we did settle down a bit, but by then the batsmen started to find the gaps and the ropes on the small ground. We, meanwhile, were tripping over our tongues. New player, Ankit, attracted the ball like a magnet. What catches that did come to hand also went to ground. We grassed at least four. Others fell tantalizingly short or in gaps. One bright light – not that we needed anymore light in that blinding furnace – was the bowling change that saw Navin have his chance. The young man did not disappoint. He has been threatening a good spell all season and this was it. A good first over by Navin ‘.com’ Jinasena (a.k.a ‘StatNav’) was followed by six wonderful .coms for a well-deserved maiden in his best spell of bowling for the Chibas Sharks. He then promptly got on the mobile at drinks to tell his maiden about his maiden – all very confusing really. Chris tried nine bowlers, all but himself and first-game, Ankit, but we could not even buy a wicket. Fittingly it was Navin who finally saved us from total disgrace by having Kobayashi caught skying a ball to the ever-safe Pat, gone for 97 in the 37th over. Silly bloody shot. It could have been even sillier for Chino. Given the info that he was on 99 by two giggling team-mates, Chris brought in the field only to see him dropped off his gloves at short fine leg… This really was a stinker of a day. The first wicket fell at… ready?… 264. Wyverns eventually made it to 297 for 1. Enough said. In fact, we were speechless.
|Kobayashi||c. Giles-Jones||b. Jinasena||97||95||8||3|
|Extras||>>>||6nb 40w 5b 2lb||53||>>>||>>>||>>>|
|Total||>>>||For 1||297||>>>||(40 overs)|
There was quite some drama as Wyverns captain, ‘keeper and hero did his best Dean Jones impersonation after his fantastic effort (well, he didn’t wet himself while batting) by collapsing and eventually being taken to hospital. I think some Sharks also considered this option. But it was still hot and it was still cricket, mad dogs and all. Umpire Miyaji needed to attend to Chino so main umpiring duties were taken for some part by Chris, Kris and Nick – we even gave some outs.
We were woeful in the field, but this was not a score beyond us on this ground against this team. We would need one or two batsmen to score very big, with support. We welcomed Nick back to the line-up and we had some in-form batsmen to make a run at this total. Kris opened with Nick. Kris found it hard to get the accurate Futatsugi away, but at the other end Nick got straight back into the groove with some effortless clips off his pads over midwicket. Eager to make some impression, Kris almost made the wrong one on Nick. The call was as ‘safe’ and ‘run’ is to ‘Frisbee’ and ‘mine field’. Only the fact that the main ‘keeper was at that moment in hospital on intravenous drip saved Nick from beating Kris to a bloody pulp, and being runout. Lucky mio. Having seen off the opening bowlers Kris (8) departed caught to a brainless, overzealous drive, which brought Prashant to the crease with Creece – all very confusing really. Just as we settled back to watch some fireworks Nick got a shooter that rearranged his pegs, sadly gone for a brisk 34 in 26 that included 7 boundaries. Still, the entertainment would continue with the ‘Pat ‘n’ Prash’ show… but, no, as after one stunning drive Prashant (6) coughed up a C & B. With that probably went our chance of hauling in this total so the next thought was to damage control.
Some background: The winner of this match would have a bearing on the final top JCL order. Either team needed to win within 32 overs to get a bonus point to see they finish top. A straight win would see them finish 2nd and 3rd, to again play each other in the finals. Our ‘magic number’ was 32 overs. We needed to make that to ensure we played Wyverns again in the finals (leaving the Wombats to face Paddy Foley’s).
With this in mind, Pat as the senior batsman was more circumspect in his approach, with number of balls used up meaning more than runs. Dave (8) was looking solid until his fine, very fine, leg glance ended up in the surprised ‘keeper’s gloves. Navin (4) kept slips quite cool as he fanned at more than a few balls, but hung around for a while before nicking one, guiltily, behind. At 5/115 off 24 overs we were skating close the edge. Chris joined Pat, who was taking great care as batsmen came and went around him. After a few sighters the Captain (7) entertained with one all-mighty six, but on entertaining another fell LBW. Varun, newly returned from ferrying Chino to hospital, walked out to a precarious situation. He himself would be first to admit his approach is ‘hit first ask questions later’, but on this occasion he put his head down to the task. Picking off ones and two, Pat and Vicky carefully pushed to the 32-over mark. Vicky eventually was caught for a very valuable 26 off 43 balls, and Pat, ever-reliable, retired, really-exhausted, on 57 off 71 balls, once we safely passed the over target. He completed yet another half century for the year. Gurjinder (n.o. 2) and Anshul (n.o. 1) batted out the final few overs with excitment. Little bit of trivia: of the six completed games (JCL & KCL) this year the Sharks have failed to bat out our total overs (40 & 35 respectively) only once (38.1 overs vs Paddy Foley’s).
|Bayne||c. fielder||b. Nakano||8||35||0||0|
|Kale||c. fielder||b. Nakano||6||13||1||0|
|Lollback||c. keeper||b. Ogawa||8||12||1||0|
|Jinasena||c. keeper||b. Hanada||4||17||0||0|
|Sancheti||c. fielder||b. Ota||26||43||1||0|
|Extras||>>>||3nb 24w 5b 3lb||35||>>>||>>>||>>>|
|Total||>>>||For 8||191||>>>||(40 overs)|
So, what could be said. It was quite horrible and quite unbelievable in the field. The absolute highlight was Navin’s spell of accuracy and growing maturity. We must hold our catches and our line. The saving grace is Wyverns surely could not do that again, and neither would we. Also, I guess, on such a hot day, we didn’t have to run in much each time we got a wicket…. Batting, Pat and Vicky ensured we have a chance at the Wyverns again in the semis and, in the whole context of the innings, the contrasting styles of the openers, Nick ball-tearing, the other bloke ball-proding, helped. Pat, again, was the pick of the batsmen.
It was a stinker, both climatically-speaking and cricketly-speaking. What I want to know is – “Who let the petrels out!”
Anonymous quotes of the day:
“Chaffed balls, anyone?”
“Oh, fer &#$%”@ sake!”
“&#$%”@! No, &#$%”@! off”
“Nick, I’m sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”
“When I say, ‘Yes’, it means ‘you run’.” (unrelated to the above)
“Why do I DO things like that!?”
“Too bad I won’t be taking any.” (In response to, “There are lots of singles around”)
“It was a no-ball – just kidding!”
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