Dr. Wheatgrass ‘Play of the Day’: Terry ‘Tel’ Cooney’s Gibraltar-like knock
An under-manned Chiba Sharks T20 side were convincingly beaten in round 3 of the Japan Cup by a well-organised, tight-knit Nippon Tigers outfit in the first ever meeting between the two clubs.
An impressive spell of 4/10 by Nippon Tigers captain and Sharks’ leg-spinning nemesis Rony Taluqdar meant that the Sharks were never really in the hunt.
The Sharks started the day badly. Already down to 10 men due to availability issues, the task was made even harder by the mysterious disappearance of first year rookie Joshi Mahadev.
Skipper Bedingfield won the toss and fancied batting on the lush Sano-2 postage stamp. Teenage sensation Marcus Thurgate joined him at the crease and eased into his innings with four delicious boundaries. But when the young lad fell for 18 and Bedingfield was dislodged soon after, the wheels began to fall off.
Lloyd-Williams, Siddique and Date didn’t quite get going against some tight Tigers bowling and were all dismissed for single figures.
It was looking rather gloomy for the Sharks until 16 year old Max Clements strode to the crease at number six. The young man, who seems to be getting taller by the match, thumped not one, not two but three towering straight sixes to bring some respectability to the Sharks’ scoresheet and earn himself the Dr Wheatgrass highlight of the match.
Unfortunately, the Sharks lower order of Qureshi, Yamashita and Watanabe were bundled out by the wily Tigers captain, leaving young Clements stranded on an impressively compiled 24 off 19 balls.
Defending a modest 92, the Sharks would need to come out with all guns blazing and the pace duo of Siddique and Clements certainly caused plenty of problems for the Tigers openers. It wasn’t to be the Sharks day however, as every edge seemed to find its way through the slips cordon for four.
The off spin of Yamashita and Bedingfield picked up a couple of consolation wickets but the Nippon Tigers were largely untroubled on their way to knocking off the runs in the 14th over.
Credit must go to the unbeaten Nippon Tigers, who not only played the match in great spirit but even provided the Sharks with some excellent Curry afterwards. Marvellous stuff.
The loss puts the Sharks at 1-2 in the Japan Cup; still in the race for a top four semi-final berth but with a lot of work to do. With the likes of Takada, Matsumura, Velusamy, Ueda, Tomizawa and Wickrama-arachchige all taking their T20 services elsewhere the Sharks will need to dig deep to bounce back against Tsukuba on July 15th.