Dr Wheatgrass Highlights of the match: KB’s five wicket haul, Solid start by openers (Sankar’s 66), Max the debutant speedster, Elements of urgency and energy on the field
On a warm bright sunny day at Sano 3 the Shark’s captain, Neel, won the toss and elected to bat withoutg hesitation. The Sharks were one player short (for batting & bowling) but had Marcus as the 12th who could eventually keep wickets thanks to the new ICC regulation.
The openers Sankar & Molloy started slowly and looked watchful at the beginning and runs seemed to come through wides only. Kudou, the opening bowler for the Wyverns, with his somewhat unusual release technique looked a bit hard to pick up. Gradually Molloy started to hit the ball beautifully and collect singles & twos through the off side. Unfortunately several of his well timed off drives went straight to the fielders but they were lovely to watch. Sankar, on the other end, started picking up boundaries on the leg side from anything pitched short. Molloy (11) was out (c T Goka b j iwasaki) first and drinks were taken in the 15th over with scoreboard reading 48/1.
Neel, the captain, joined Sankar in the middle and soon the run rate spiked with lots of running between the wickets and the ball also found its way to the boundary more often. Sankar (66) was the next one to go (c T Shiratori b T Goka) after a 75 run stand with Neel. He played one shot too many in an over that had already yielded 24 runs. The scoreboard read 123/2 in the 22nd over.
In came the in-form Anton but it was not his day today as he was picked up by (c T Shiratori b M Kimura) Kimura for 5.
Takuma was the next to come in. He and Neel tried to consolidate and put up a 13 run partnership with Neel making the bulk of the scoring. Takuma was out (c M Shionoiri b M Kimura) for 1. Sharks were at 150/4 with about 15 more overs left in the innings.
Mairaj, the next man in, couldn’t stand his ground for long and was out (c K Takahashi b M Kimura) caught at short midwicket.
Neel was the next to go (c T Shiratori b M Kimura) when an off drive went wrong as Kimura picked up his fourth. A well made 29 to his name. Sharks were 159/6.
The next 3 Sharks wickets could only add 1 run to the score and perished without troubling the scorer too much. CT (c T Shimohira b T Kudou) and Max (b T Kudou) both were picked up in the 31st over and in the next over Koji surrendered (lbw b M Shionoiri) to a ball that had apparently hit well above the left knee. Unlucky!
KB was stranded at the non-striker’s end without facing a ball.
Sharks were all out for 160 with 8 overs to spare.
Although the batting innings didn’t end on a high the captain & the team, considering the bowling lineup that they had, were confident of being able to defend the total.
Neel started the proceedings with impeccable line & pace. The Wyverns’ opener Kawashima survived a knick from the very first delivery of the innings.
Koji opened the bowling from the other end. He went for some runs but picked up Shimohira (b K Watanabe) in his first and Matsuchika (c N Date* b K Watanabe) in his second over. Wyverns were two down with 22 on the board in 4 overs.
The new batsman Shionoiri partnered with Kawashima tried to steady the innings after two quick wickets.
Max was introduced from Koji’s (2/29 from 3) end. The debutant, may be a touch nervous, went for 10 in his first over but came back very strongly in later ones. He finished 20/0 from his 5. He looked more impressive than his stats suggest.
Sankar replacing Neel at the other end removed Shionoiri (b S Prodhan) on the very first delivery of his spell to put an end to a threatening 30 odd run partnership for the Wyverns. He picked up Kawashima (c A Lloyd-Williams b S Prodhan) in his third thanks to a super slow-mo catch from Anton at short widwicket.
Drinks were taken at the end of the 15th over with Wyverns having 64/4 on the board.
The post drink session saw some super display of spin bowling from both ends of the wicket. While Takuma just bowled an over, it was KB & Molloy all the way making the lives of Wyverns batsmen miserable.
While a partnership was about to form, KB trapped Iwasaki (lbw b K Bayne) & Uehara (lbw b K Bayne) plum in front on the second & third balls of his very first over. Although he missed a hat-trick he picked up his third – Takahashi (c & b K Bayne) – on the last ball of the same over.
All of a sudden Wyverns were tottering at 85/7 and had no clue how to move forward.
Molloy meanwhile kept the other end tight but was unlucky not to be able to pick up at least a couple of more wickets in addition to 21/1 from his 5. He clean bowled Shiratori (26) who showed some great resilience.
Then KB had to take care of the remaining job which he did with finesse by cleaning up Goka (b K Bayne) & Kudou (c N Date* b K Bayne). A well deserved fifer. Cheers!
Wyverns were all out for 128 in the 28th over.
A special thanks to Marcus for being the 12th and securing the area behind the stumps.
The Sharks 2nds have started the season quite well winning back to back matches and they can only go from strength to strength hereafter. The next encounter is against the Paddys at our favorite Sano 1. See you there.