Japan Cup, Sharks vs MIB at Sano
14 Apr 2019 – By Yugandar Retharekar
Two weeks after the first Japan Cup match which the Sharks edged out in a nail-biting finish last-ball thriller, the Sharks, comprising of as many as 8 Under-19 boys, arrived at Sano 4 all set to go against 3-time East Kanto defending champions, the Men in Blue. On an overcast afternoon, the captains, M. Thurgate and V. Ranjan, decided to start early as there were chances of light showers towards the end of the match. The Sharks lost the toss and were put into field first, with D. Bedingfield, fresh after a ton in the previous weeks JCL1 clash, and A. Thurgate, both playing their first Japan Cup matches this season.
The Sharks got off to a great start as their opening bowler, M. Clements, was able to find his length from the get-go, forcing S. Petkar to edge behind to M. Thurgate, who held on to a good catch to his right. M. Thouseef was the next man to depart the very next ball after engaging in a horrific mix-up with his partner and running himself out. The Sharks could not have hoped for a more formidable start as MIB were 7-2 after 1.
L. Mehlig kept things very quiet from the other end as he constantly got the new ball to nip off the seam, which kept the batsman guessing. Although MIB had one opener back in the shed, their batsman kept dispatching the loose ball for a boundary which kept the scoreboard ticking as they ended up 48-2 after the powerplay, a solid 4th wicket partnership between H. Niazi, with his power and prowess, and A. Telang, with his classy technique, keeping the Sharks at bay.
Although the introduction of spin reaped rewards for the Sharks against Tsukuba, it was not to be against MIB as H. Niazi quickly took to the young offie Y. Retharekar to dispatch him for 16 runs off his first over. T. Takady met a similar fate, leaking 16 runs as well, which proved to be a costly 2 overs for the Sharks. However, Retharekar came back well to bowl 4 overs on the trot, picking up the prized scalp of opener A. Telang (34 from 27) to end up with figures of 2-32 off 4. D. Bedingfield bowled his 3 overs from the other end, keeping things relatively tight considering the short boundaries and batsmen in form at the crease.
As we entered the last 5 overs of the innings, the primary goal was to keep the ball out of the batsmen’s swinging zone, and N. Date followed just that. After first removing H. Niazi, who departed for a well-made 75 of 54, Date went on to wreck carnage, at one point dismissing 3 batsman in 1 over, all of whom were caught at long-off by T. Takada. Date then shattered the timber to pick up first 5-for this season and ending up with a well-deserved 5-42 off 4. Mehlig’s contribution must also not be ignored as although he went wicketless, his economy rate of 6.5, on a day when every other bowler went at 8 or more, justified his top-of-off bowling that kept the batsman on their toes at all times.
Although 191 seemed like a daunting ask, the short boundaries and good running between the wickets gave the Sharks every reason to believe that they would be able to chase this down. Bedingfield and M. Thurgate opened the innings as Thurgate quickly returned back to the shed for 2. Young gun I. Fartyal gave a simple catch to first slip which left the Sharks reeling at a paltry 25-2. However, in came Takady, who stitched up a crucial 4th wicket partnership of 49 runs before he himself departed for a solid 34 off 19 balls.
Although Bedingfield kept depositing the short balls with delightful cuts and pulls, MIB were beginning to creep into the Sharks middle order when the ever-reliable N. Date walked in, who put up a key partnership of 35 runs with D. Bedingfield. Date looked in good touch, even executing a scoop towards Fine Leg for 4 at one point, before he too had to depart for 23 off 14 balls.
The Sharks kept building up such small partnerships but MIB must have felt confident after getting the anchor of the innings, Bedingfield, out for a sublime 53 off only 32 balls. The last significant partnership of the innings between D. Sahoo and A. Thurgate failed to be enough as the Sharks were all out for 166 in 19 overs.
For MIB, H. Niazi was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up the big wicket of Bedingfield, collecting 3-24 from 3 overs, while H. Akbari went at 2-26 from 3 as well. All in all, it was a great effort from a young Sharks side who pushed MIB to their limits and forced them to work hard for the win. Although a few aspects of our game can be worked upon, there were plenty of positives to be taken away from this match, such as the impressive fielding at long-off by T. Takady, who grabbed 4 catches and let away none. Thank you to the Falcons for a well-adjudged game of cricket and MIB as well, who played in the right spirit throughout the match.