Japan Cup – Chiba Sharks vs Indian Tigers
Japan Cup – Chiba Sharks vs British Embassy
YC&AC, July 13, 2013
By Kris Bayne
It was a massive day of cricket and nostalgia as Chiba Sharks squared off against firstly Indian Tigers and then a revived British Embassy team. With the venue being historic Yokohama Country & Athletic Club, which recently hosted the memorial games recognizing the 150th year anniversary of cricket played on Japanese soil, it might seem like we faced a resurgence of the British Empire!
In a further walk down memory lane we welcomed Ichihara/Chiba Shark legend, Dhugal Bedingfield, back to the Sharks fold for one game, and founding member, club music guru and stalwart, Iain Lambert, graced not the DJ chair but the scorer’s. Reflecting how healthy the club is we got games into seventeen players across the day and to say we need them is an understatement.
Episode I: The Tigers Strike Back
Dave Lollback captained us for our first T20 against Indian Tigers, a team of mainly KCL-based players who have seen a lot of cricket and dinners. Our team for this game was (in batting order):
Murad, Anton, Prashant, Vicky, Dave, Navin, Sumon, Kris B, Sagar, Awal and Mairaj. Sumon took up the ‘keeper gloves for the game. Adit was on hand to act as 12th man.
When players from India, Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka say, ‘It’s hot’, then you know it is BLOODY WELL hot. Overhead and underfoot on a synthetic/rubbery YCAC field that has been baking in 30+C heat for a week. And it was only 10:00 am… Dave won the toss and invited the Tigers to take the field while we retired to the relative cool of the shade… quite a few us only left our seats only briefly, say, to face a handful of balls…
Chiba Sharks 7-101 off 20 overs
Murad and Anton set us on our way and if reports and eyes were to be believed the deliveries sent down by the Tigers were nothing assembled by the hand of man, rather resembling swinging, swerving, balled, spitting cobras with a liking for wooden stumps. With six completed scores of under six runs including four bullet holes we managed to find ourselves 6-39 after 12 overs. Murad stuck around for a bit but for little return, then a classic Shark procession ensured.
At the best of times at YCAC front foot batting is required. But with the plastic pitch heating to lava temperatures the ball could either shoot or stick so getting forward, behind the ball and playing through the line was essential. Fair to say most of our dismissals were cross-bat shots to balls on the stumps – usually ends in tears. Among this dismantling by the Indian Tigers, Prashant stood firm and unfazed. His fifth ball disappeared high into the fence and when he could get on strike he kept the score ticking along with ones and fours.
Kris B joined him with six gone. With a sense of de je vu their mantra was ‘Prashant scores, Kris supports, look for runs, stay til 20 overs, try not to have a heart attack’. They did it very well. There were a lot of open spaces and the field, until they realized the situation, did not seem so inclined to, well, run, whereas Prashant and Kris did. With competent nudges, timely strike rotations and multiple-scoring shots from the bat of Kale the pair made it look surprisingly easy, taking the score from 39 to 96 before Prashant top edged a hook to depart for a inning foundation of 64 runs. Another Kale-Bayne partnership forged, again almost literally. A deft shot pushed past the ‘keeper from Sagar saw us fall into three figures off our 20 overs.
|Kris B||NOT OUT||–||16||7|
|Awal & Mairaj||DNB||–||–||–|
Indian Tigers 3-102 off 12.1 overs
Not a huge target, but defendable if we were good enough and more than we had expected at one stage. Bowlers and fielders would have to be at the top of their games to pull this one out of the fire. We had quite a potent attack on paper but when the score was 0-35 after three overs we could expect an early lunch. A very tough chance to diving ‘keeper Sumon went begging and Dave could not hold a very low hard drive at mid-on but mostly balls kept sailing toward the fence with unseemly monotony.
Sagar’s introduction applied the brakes to the runaway Indian Tigers train. Lollback did not let a second chase get by – in fact it was a great catch moving to his left and plucking a missile overhead off Sagar. Sagar followed up next over to bowl the remaining opener. Dave came on and got some personal revenge after a couple of loose balls to take a return catch. We were much better with our wides and made the Tigers work a bit after the fall of their first wicket, but the inevitable came in the13th over. Sagar finishing with great figures considering.
Not much to say about the fielding. We got sore necks, not only from the sun but watching the ball whizz past or over us. Not many chances came our way. Sumon’s would have been spectacular, going away between him and slip from Awal. Dave’s was very low and hard. He made up for it though. The Tigers were content to blast away and distained taking singles quite often.
|Dave L||latched on to a well-struck drive at deep mid-on. It looked six-bound but his leap was perfect and he made it look easy||Sagar|
|Dave L||Simple take off his own bowling as the ball was popped back up the pitch (previous two balls went 4 and no-ball 6 so he was quite happy)||self|
One of those games. We got nothing from most of our batsman so we were up against it from the start. The late partnership saved us from total embarrassment. Magnificent effort from Prashant (64 of 101) and he batted 19 of 20 overs in the hottest conditions I have ever batted in. His feet were just about cooked at the end. An early wicket might have helped us even so but 101 on this ground against experienced hitters is insufficient. A bit short and wide at times, too. Defeat is hard. It gave us more time for self-reflection and lunch until the next game.
Episode II: Return of the Bed-i
A long time ago, In a batting line up far, far away…
Having put our hot feet up, watered, farewelled some and welcomed others, we got set for our game against the British Embassy. Chris T captained and ‘kept and here is the team in batting order:
Chris T, Dhugal, Alwin, Charles, Navin, Moto, Anton, Kris B, Chris M, Aditya and Sagar.
Obviously one name sticks out there and we were looking forward to Dhugal’s return to the Shark line-up after a number of years, even if only for today’s game. Chris won the toss and we batted in much more pleasant overcast conditions.
Chiba Sharks 5-179 in 20 overs
A sight not seen for a while was Chris T and Dhugal striding out face an unsuspecting British Embassy. It was a rollicking start. Chris belted his way to 17 and was out caught superbly in the blink of an eye. Incoming Alwin took runs off 10 of his first eleven balls, usually a single giving the strike to Dhugal. After time to assess the unfamiliar pitch Dhugal then unleashed his full range of shots on the stunned Brits and the YCAC neighbourhood may well have feared for their roofing tiles! Dhugal already owns seven Shark hundreds and now has the trophy to prove it. The pair took us to 98 after 10 overs.
The fall of a steady Alwin had Charles join Dhugal – the contrast in styles was as wide as several galaxies end to end, but the results were the same. Charles gave BE a respite of one ball before wading in and with Dhugal still blazing away from the hip we might have felt sorry for the thoroughly confused diplomats. Sadly one of the few balls not out of the middle of the Bedingfield bat found safe hands. Nav joined Charles with no slackening of the scoring or juxtaposition of techniques, one of effortless elegancy, the other of energetic efficiency. The pair collected ones and two with ease – Nav even collected one from Charles in the Crown Jewels standing at the bowler’s end (welcome to the club, Navin) that brought the big fella to his knees.
After some more carnage, with just one ball remaining (to the innings, not Nav), Navin had his revenge for his NNE (Near Neutering Experience) by running Charles out (welcome to the club, Charles). Moto demolished his own stumps for the second time (we will work on that) to close the innings. It was a very healthy scoresheet compared to our first effort and including a generous supply of wides we gave the Brits a hill to climb.
|Anton, Kris B, Chris M, Adit & Sagar||DNB|
British Embassy 7-133 off 20 overs…Under lights!
Again we fairly burst with bowlers and it seemed the beer was not far away. By 4th over BE were 2-16, Adit holding down one end, Chris M with two wickets at the other. One was a slick stumping (!) by quick thinking-handed Chris T and the other a great running catch by Alwin. The next pair then added 90…. BE opener Sciver was proving very difficult and strong through the V and he got good support.
Chris T threw the ball to a variety of players who had not batted and although they had their good balls, the set batsmen dealt severely with anything loose. Pick of the part-timers was Moto who was unlucky not to bag a wicket. Still, we had a wealth of main bowlers to come back and we knew one wicket would crack it open. It was a weird over from Alwin that did the trick. Second ball a second catch-assist of the season saw Charles, lurking somewhat mysteriously at a deepish 3rd slip, catch a rebound (see below). Alwin then could barely find the pitch; when he did he got hammered. He then comprehensively bowled Sciver with the last ball of the over to claim 2-16 off 11 balls! Those Nepalese have a sense of the dramatic!
After that it was both a formality and an anti-climax. Dhugal and newly spinning Navin cut down runs, with Nav bagging an LBW victim in a wicket-maiden. Adit returned and just cut down batsmen to quickly wrap up the innings and the points with a rocket bowled and a nice C & B.
Our fielding was up and down then up again under the lights. We got a little lax in the middle overs. There were some good efforts to cut off runs by Moto and Anton and a number of players chased down balls to cut a certain 4 to 2.
|Alwin||Great over the shoulder catch running with the flight at backward square||Chris M|
|Charles||Thick edge to Chris T was parried to a quite startled Charles||Alwin|
|Adit||Low struck return ball taken very cleanly||self|
We were well set up by a very solid batting performance led by Dhugal and supported by the other batsmen. Another signature Charles innings was all the better for watching a team unfamiliar with his ‘style’ try to work out what the hell to do. Only the Laws of Cricket prevented them from a 9-man leg-side field (in front of square…). The Laws of Charles made any effort doomed to hair-pulling failure. Chris T ensured everyone got involved with bat or ball. Our main bowlers took us home but there were encouraging signs from every bowler.
The showers and beers were really good afterwards and the company exceptional. We finished even on the day to put us 2-1 in the Japan Cup. Thanks to Dhugal for kitting up again and for his sage and practical advice at training and on the field. It was great to meet someone we had heard so much about. Thanks to Iain for coming down and scoring books rather than vinyls. Thanks to the WAGs who came along to enjoy/experience cricket, try the food and ogle at Brad Pitt (or was it John Travolta?).
Welcome back British Embassy and thanks umpires on the day.
A great Sharky day out!
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