It has been a topsy-turvy season so far on the field for the Sharks. Natural disasters and other ‘acts of gods’ have been matched by batting disasters and rash acts. Off field, though, we have welcomed some new talent to the club and also finalised some pressing goals. Today we took the field decked out in our new livery (cap soon to follow) in a T20 double-header in Tatebayashi:
Sharks vs Max
Sharks vs local boys & girls Sano
Sharks Win A Nail-Biter Against Max
JC: Chiba Sharks vs Max. 6 July 2011.
by Kris Bayne
With Dave (12th man) handing out the still cellophane-wrapped shirts there was a schoolboy buzz at the Shark camp and we set out for some warm-up catching with a spring in our step. The good mood was further set when one senior Shark, who shall remain n/shameless, moved well to cover a northbound skier only to have his trousers head south on route. But as a true cricketer, he kept his eye on the small descending ball while we were treated to a much, much broader vista.
The squad for the game was, in alphabetical order: Charles, Chris T, Dave L (12th), Keiichi, Koji, Kris B, Navin (vc), Pat (c), Rasib, Sagar, Sumon and Varun.
Pat (cpt) maintained a recent tradition by losing the toss and we were put in to bat.
Navin opened with Varun against the very swift Hagiwara. Navin took the first ball on the pads and was soon on his way for 2. Charles, promoted to No. 3, saw out the rest of the over with patience. At the other end Vicky soon found his range and the boundary, but after some meaty blows was gone for a rapid 24. Sumon entered the fray and with Hagiwara proving very difficult to get away the batsman remained watchful. Sumon nudged for ones and two into the rainforest-lush outfield and Charles, after absorbing many of Hagiwara’s best, departed for 2. Once the Max ace was rested the Sharks started to get on top. Sumon pushed on to a steadying 22 and each batsman/pair added partnerships without being dominant. Max helped keep the score ticking over with frequent wides and extras (27 all up). Ace Hagiwara returned for the final over and cleaned up a plucky Koji (3). Rasib and new batsman, Kris, saw out the over, adding what would be a valuable six with the aid of some wides. Sharks 9/122 off 20 overs.
With a smidgen over a run-a-ball to defend we were in with a good show. We bowled deeply and the deep outfield was like the Sargasso Sea. Navin and Vicky also opened the bowling, and before the end of the first over Navin had his man, caught Sumon. This brought dangerman, Kobayashi, to the crease. Vicky as usual proved hard to hit but Pat reaped the reward of bowling and fielding pressure, clean bowling Takami after a largely fruitless innings and grabbing another, caught Vicky. The one we wanted was Kobayashi. He started rather slowly and was given a number of lives. Kris almost latched on to one driving low and forward at gully, he went on the disgrace himself and his lineage by later grassing a skier off Sagar, and Pat couldn’t get enough on a hard chance to his left. Buoyed by these lives, Kobayashi, with support from Tsutsumi, chanced his arm and (in this writer’s view) defiled the purities of batsmanship with reverse sweeps, lap shots, over the shoulder dross and other such behind-the-wicket abominations. Many for four. We were able to steadily pick off his support, including a good run out, but the score crept worryingly closer and closer. With two overs to go there were 15 to get with Kobayashi still pulling tricks out of the hat with wickets to spare. Vicky to bowl at the death. We had to try to keep Kobayashi off strike. He fairly laced one toward mid-off that looked all the world bound for four but Charles in the deep was more than up to the task, whipping around to cut it off and get it back to the ‘keeper to make it a single. Great work! The final ball. Six runs needed. The ball was delivered on quite a full length. The broad-shouldered Hagiwara wound up. He hit cleanly up and through the line. Twenty-five pairs of eyes followed as the ball curved in a glorious trajectory toward the deep long on rope. Max were rising expectantly to their little feet. Shark hands were going despairingly to heads. One pair of feet did not need to move – Pat’s – but his hands did as he took the catch, chest high, on the boundary.
Shark’s win by five runs!
We finally cracked a win in T20 and did our new uniforms proud. We definitely made harder work of it than we should have, with the two stand out performances of the day by Max players. However, we had some very good all-round cricket performance by Sumon and Pat, and Charles deserves credit for holding out the best bowler and his fielding, but there was no better than Varun ‘The Italian Job’ Sancheti: 24 runs, 1/22, 2 catches and a runout.
A nail-biter and cool captain’s catch on literally the last line. (It saved my sorry arse.)
Next stop – Sano.
See the full Sharks vs Max scorecard at http://www.cricket.or.jp/new_jca/score_view.php?game_id=885
Sharks Win Comfortably Against Sano
JC: Chiba Sharks vs Sano. 6 July 2011.
The squad for the game was, in representative national groups:
Australia: Dave L., Chris T., Kris B., Pat (12th)
India: Varun, Sagar, Rasib
Japan: Keiichi, Koji
Sri Lanka: Navin
United States of America: Charles
Pat sat out as 12th man and Chris captained and , dare I even bother to say it, losing the toss and we were put in to the field. It was a bad one to lose after fielding second in our first game, and it was not getting any cooler.
Keiichi and the spinning Sumon opened the bowling. Keiichi unfortunately managed to do a hammy which put an end to his bowling of the day, but Sumon troubled the batsmen from the start. He was probably a bit stiff not to have a couple of LBWs go his way, but we finally saw the umpire’s finger go skyward and Sumon then celebrated by clean bowling the other opener. Vicky and Navin got into the act when their chance came. Sagar snapped up a great catch at point to give Vicky a wicket. Vicky also just strangled the middle order, sending down two maidens and only giving up 3 runs in total. Dave was also not far off, sending down 4 overs for 12 and a wicket. Sagar and Navin also rearranged the batters’ furniture. It was clear that Sano was sending in it’s lesser lights but at every fall of a wicket we expected to see one of the Khans stride purposefully to the crease… it took a while, and by then Sano were in a bit of strife at 7-for. Sano’s Kanoh soaked up 28 balls for his 9, which was as valuable as a wicket or two. There was a late flurry as F. Khan, when he finally arrived, and Emma Kuribayashi discovered the boundary (only four fours struck in the whole innings). We were also making life more difficult for ourselves by dropping catches (I’d put my hand up as the main offender, but I know that if I did, I’d drop something….) and sending down wides. We did not want to let this one get away so Chris resorted to our secret bowling weapon – himself. One mighty effort, thundering in off an inexplicitly long run up, had us fearing both for his health and his modesty. And while the elastic gratefully held, the line didn’t and Kuribayashi dispatched the ball to fine leg. He had the last word, however, as Sumon held a catch later to end her defiant innings. Khan took to a couple of bowlers but ran out of any meaningful time. All the bowlers (except the unlucky Keiichi) got into the wickets. Sano 7/111 off 20 overs.
Dave opened with Kris. The latter capped off his very forgettable day in the field by screeching his second ball almost down the throat of cover, who avoided an indelicate tonsillectomy by catching it. Charles replaced and quickly had Sano wishing he hadn’t. After a sighter of one ball he then launched the next four to or over the boundary. After such an incendiary start he calmed down and supported Dave with good running and backing up and a good share of a 64-run partnership. Charles was eventually both out and educated by leg spin for a run-a-ball 29. Navin fell immediately LBW and Vicky remained undefeated on 7. The innings belonged to the Ginger Typhoon, however. Dave, as usual, started carefully, but he is developing into the ‘Shane Watson of the Sharks’. It was a sight to behold as he hooked, drove and generally pulverised four 4s and five 6s in a 42-ball match-winning 62 not out. He was particularly severe on bowler Kobayashi, hoicking 18 off his only juicy over – this writer feels this gave Dave much unbridled pleasure… Chiba Sharks 3/112 off 15 overs.
For some players it was their first win in Shark colours and a great relief for others. Considering we were missing or resting some regulars it was a good effort by the team and a sign of the strength of our club. There were obviously stand out performers during the day, but everyone did something of use. Let’s hope this sees us put ourselves in line for some finals action!
See the full Sharks vs Sano scorecard at http://www.cricket.or.jp/new_jca/score_view.php?game_id=886
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