JCL Division 1 – Chiba Sharks v Paddy Foley’s Tanuma July 29, 2017 – by Krishna Bhatia
Dr Wheatgrass Highlight of the Match A strong 37 from Pave puts a bit of bite into an otherwise gummy Sharks innings
An overcast day greeted us while the Sharks got ready to take on the Thundering MAX CC, a team we only narrowly beat in our previous encounter. With the forecast not looking too good and a continuous light drizzle accompanying us for about an hour before the start, both teams looked to field first anticipating an unpredictable pitch and the potential of a reduced overs game. MAX captain M. Taniyama won the toss and opted to field first.
Sharks choose to open with 2 young guns, technically sound and calm Kavin along with a smashing Tomizawa. Kavin takes the strike to the well-experienced left-arm pacer Sankalpa. Starts off with a wide and Kav gracefully leaves it. Sankalpa takes his time with the next one and fires in a beautiful outswinger to the young left-hander who nicks it cleanly with the outside edge and thumps it straight to 1st slip, Sharks 1-1 in 0.1. Pave walks in at No. 3 to settle some nerves, but before he gets going Sharks lose Tommy to a questionable LBW decision for a duck!! The left-arm bowler scalps another one of the shark’s openers and gets all the Sharks worried for another ‘Sharks collapse’ at 6-2…
Sharks captain Takada walks in but gets cleaned up beautifully with a sharp Inswinger 3 balls later in the same over!! Sankalpa nabs 3 wickets for himself in just his 3rd over!!! Getting the Sharks to a struggling score of 8-3. Next in line is our young wicketkeeper-batsmen, Marcus Thurgate. Keen to find his form back he takes the defensive route and is looking sharp until a juicy half volley gets chucked just outside his off stump for him to drive straight to short extra cover for a catch! Sharks lose another and watch Marcus’s return with a heavy heart at 9-4… A shattered pavilion watch the next batsmen Navin Jinasena walk in to the crease.
Nav went in determined to give the sharks a fighting chance And support the surviving Pave at the other end. Both show incredible girt and class and very slowly push the sharks along. Soon Pav gets into his rhythm and cuts one behind point for 4 and follows it up with a powerful pull shot in the next over for 6!!!
Things were starting to look good with Pave finding his touch and Nav playing a classy ‘Test match’ like innings to slowly keep giving Pave the strike. But unfortunately, this didn’t convert into a big enough partnership as we would have hoped as a horrible mix up in the calls gets Nav run-out at the bowlers end for 6(32) and Sharks are still struggling at 31-5. Asala, probably the only one who was still optimistic in the dressing room, went in at No.7 and decided to swing the bat as hard as possible, a method which got him one six! And a few dodgy singles to give Pave the strike during which he capitalized with 2 more boundaries!! But once again the MAX CC found a way to break through by getting both Asala 10 (24) and Pave 37(75) in the same over. Both batsmen gone by a top edge created by the bowling of none other than Max captain M.Taniyama. Sharks 65-7.
The Sharks tail-enders tried slashing away to get a few more runs but the slow outfield cut off any boundary chances and Max eventually got through the tail and cleaned the Sharks up at 79-10 in 33 overs.
The Sharks took to the field with lots of hope and intensity, and with only 79 to defend in 40 overs against a powerful batting line up we were certain we had to bring out our A-game. Rui opens the bowing and gets the ball to swing sharply away from the infamous left hander Chula Rodrigo, and gets in with a maiden to start the innings. Aditya takes the shiny cherry from the other end and starts to fire it in to Salman who is now forced to defend or duck for his life!! After a lucky top edge for 2 runs Aditya squares him up on the final ball of his 1st over with an inswinging Yorker, Max CC 2-1 after 2 overs.
The Sharks were fired up and the aggression continued to increase rapidly as Rui follows up with a beautiful over giving just a couple of runs (all edges…). Aditya continues from the other end where the now settling Chula takes him for a few boundaries until finally on the last ball he falls into Aditya’s trap to get him to pull the ball leaving him flat and straight to deep backward square… but the wet ball was hit a bit too hard for our fielder, Rui, to control and results in it popping right out of his hands, upward, aaaaaannnddddd, over the ropes for a SIX! Sharks a bit rattled, tried to fire up again but the confidence of Chula overpowered our diminishing flair and showered the next over with a few boundaries.
Our captain Takada, desperate to break Chula’s rhythm, brings in the young swing bowler Neel Date. A good first 2 balls to Chula forced him off strike and now Neel got the chance to bowl to the new batsmen Vinay, who had so far only blocked a few deliveries and a handful of singles. A few wides followed and then Vinay took the aggressive aerial route against Neel once again resulting in 2 fours.
Pave was brought in to replace Rui and did a splendid job restricting the batsmen to just a run a ball! Aditya comes back from the other end for one final burst of pace, but Chula continues to show us his class as a batsman as he skillfully fends off the good deliveries and gives a good meat of the bat to the loose ones. One more from Pave from the other end and he keeps the batsmen on thin ice with his tight lines. The 11th over comes along and the Sharks only have 11 runs to defend.
Captain Takada takes up the ball. Chula on strike. 2 dots followed by a cover drive for 4 which is followed by an incredibly smooth reverse sweep!! Max now only require 3 to win and on the last ball Chula advances down the track and thumps one over mid on for 4 to finish the game… Max CC takes the tally to one all for this season with a final score of 81/1, with the opener Chula Rodrigo ending with 53 of 34 balls. In the end, a good day of cricket in not the best of all conditions.