Chiba Sharks 1st XI vs Men in Blue 1st XI
Sano International Cricket Ground – 1
April 3, 2021
by Debashish Sahoo
The first outing of the 2021 season! The Sharks looked up and about, excited to start the season off with a bang. Debutant Tanmoy Mookherjee was presented with his Sharks cap, making his way into the 1st XI. Batting first, today’s XI featured Dhugal (C), Marcus (WK), Neel, Tanmoy, Deba, Ibrahim, Muneeb, Rui, Yugi, Mahesh, and Hamid.
As usual, Doogs opened the bat with Marcus “the Stoin”. After a slow and steady start, the pair managed to put on an opening partnership of 75, before Marcus departed for 29 just before the first drinks break.
Skipper Doogs posted a good-looking knock of 70(75), before Neel and Tanmoy also managed to chip in with some runs. Neel racked up a handy 38(49) at No. 3, while Tanmoy scored 29(31) on debut. The Sharks scorecard looked very handsome around the halfway stage, finding ourselves 157/2 after 27.2 overs. This took a rather ugly turn as the middle order departed very cheaply, while the lower order scampered around for runs, featuring an elegantly launched six each from Hamid and Rui, which finally brought the Sharks to a total of 227 – way short of the score we were initially looking for.
Nevertheless, with a long and hefty bowling attack, we walked out very positively to defend our total. Ibby opened the bowling alongside Disco Siddique, while second-change Hamid “Freddie” Bacha picked up the first wicket, knocking the stumps out with a beautiful cutter. Our bowlers had done a decent job until the first drinks break, as MIB found themselves 37/1 after 15. Yugi picked up the second scalp as the set opener lofted the ball straight into the hands of Deba at long-on. However, MIB’s No.3 and 4 slowly started building up a very good partnership, piling up on the runs, which had the Sharks scratching their heads a little bit at the second drinks break. 161/2 after 30. MIB needed 67 off 60 balls.
The drinks break looked to have worked for the Sharkies as we picked up the wickets of the two half-centurions in back-to-back overs. The game seemed to fall back into our hands, but it was going to be a tight finish either way. At one stage, MIB needed 41 in 4 overs. The following over was arguably the turning point of the game, which went for a mammoth 26 runs! The Sharks fought hard, but at this point, everything seemed to go the batsmen’s way. A couple more boundaries did the job as MIB chased the target down in 39 overs.
Hamid Bacha finished with 3/45 in his eight overs, the pick of the bowlers today. It was quite a disappointing loss at the start of the season. However, there were a lot of positives to take away from the day, and we will definitely look to bounce back strong!
A big thanks to Chris Thurgate and Mihindu Perera for umpiring a long match on the day!