Japan Cup R3 – Sharks vs Wyverns
13.10.13 By Chris Molloy
Day Two of the three-day tournament saw Chiba Sharks take on the wily Wyverns. Still smarting from a fairly narrow defeat to the same opposition in our recent 40-over match, the Sharks had every reason to be motivated for this encounter. For one thing, this match loomed as a potential decider for the remaining spot in the tournament final, against the mighty Sano. With one win and one defeat under our belts, we at least had the advantage of a favorable and formidable net run rate following our thrashing of Tohoku on the opening day.
For that to be of any importance, though, we would first need to overcome a talent-laden Wyverns side that had slyly smuggled in one national coach of the Japanese men’s team and one Alex Patmore—the man boasting about a million (technically 1,366) JCA points for 2013—to complement their base of top-class Japanese players. The Sharks had a slightly different look for Day 2: Kris B (C), Sumon (W), Dave L, Nick, Prashant, Vicky, Chris M, Sagar, Takady, Mairaj, Adit.
The weather certainly played its part, with bright sunshine, a mere handful of clouds, and wind that was mercifully a touch lighter than on the previous day. The 1:30 p.m. start allowed players to ease their way to the ground, with one even taking the chance to relax at home for 20 minutes as others waited outside by his car. Nonetheless, all arrived at the ground on time, much to the delight of a certain Mr. Lollback.
Captain Kris B. maintained his perfect record as a coin tosser and opted to field first, potentially leaving Wyverns to contend with the low afternoon sun. Sharks’ leading wicket-taker for 2013, Adit, was first up to tackle Wyverns’ imposing opening pair of Japan National opener, Patmore, and national team coach, Scott McNaughton of Australia. The first over set an ominous tone, with McNaughton disdainfully smashing a couple of boundaries straight down the ground, and immediately looking to be middling and timing the ball effortlessly. One over down, and Wyverns had already raced to 11 without loss.
Dave L. took over from the other end, and settled into a groove straight away. After playing out two dot balls, McNaughton hit one crisply to mid-off and set off for a tight single, only to end up a good foot short of his ground as Sagar scooped the ball up and threw down the stumps at considerable speed and distance. Even at this early stage, the Sharks sensed this could be a turning point in the match. A lid was kept firmly down on celebrations, however.
Dave and Adit maintained pressure through tight bowling, the field was up and about and soon enough the wickets began to fall at regular intervals. In his second over, Dave sent back the dangerous Ogawa, castled when looking to break the shackles with a mow across the line. Both bowlers claimed a wicket in their third over, with Nick taking a brilliant reflex catch (with a hint of self preservation) high to his left at slip off Dave and Sumon snapping up Ohta off Adit. At the end of the sixth over, Wyverns were reeling at 24 for 4. We were obviously enjoying this but there were six more scalps to claim.
Boundaries were proving elusive, and so too were extras. In fact, the Sharks failed to deliver even a single wide in the first 12 overs. With momentum stuttering and almost half the batting lineup gone, Wyverns’ opener Patmore faced the conundrum of whether to consolidate or look to up the run rate. Kris B capitalized on this by pushing fielders back on the ring for him, and moving them in when the new batsman was on strike. Patmore and Mamenari formed a reasonable partnership of 26, but never threatened to take the game away.
Bowling brisk off-spinners, Takady struck in his third over as Adit held on to a huge skier on the circle at cover to remove Mamenari. Three wickets then fell with the score on 54. First, Takahashi became the second run-out victim when found short of his ground by an accurate throw to wicketkeeper Sumon from Kris B. at backward point. Then, Takady claimed two more wickets in his final over, including the prized scalp of Patmore to another stunning catch by Nick, who this time pocketed a well-struck late cut at gully – a strategy discussed over some morning coffees that eventually paid off.
With Wyverns in dire straits at 54 for 8, it seemed all the Sharks needed to do was close out the innings—something that had proven frustratingly difficult several times earlier in the season. We urged each other to play it right through to the end. A few wides crept in, along with a couple of boundary balls, but running between the wickets had been an area of danger so far due to the constant pressure, and it remained as a potential source of breakthroughs. Indeed, the final two wickets fell to run-outs. First, Molloy returned to the stumps at the bowlers’ end and took a bounced throw from Takady at mid-on to dismiss non-striker Masubuchi, who was caught halfway down the pitch seeking a suicidal single. And finally, Adit removed No. 10 Sano with a direct hit off his own bowling, with the non-striker again caught too far down the pitch.
And with that, Wyverns were all out for 76 after 14.4 overs. If not quite flawless, this certainly had to rank as one of the best fielding performances—quite possibly the best performance—by a Sharks outfit this year and some previous. We dropped no catches and took a couple of stunners, conceded few wides, bowled in the right areas, and affected four run-outs (which could well be a team record, at least when fielding). The pressure was intense.
All that was left now was to overhaul a target of 77 off 20 overs, which seemed well within our reach. A solid start from the opening pair of Dave and Nick would help ease any nerves for those watching from the sidelines.
The early signs were good, with Dave hitting his first ball for four, and the pair seeing us through to 10 without loss after two overs. Sparks of hope emerged for Wyverns, though, as Dave was out stumped off the left-arm spin of McNaughton in the third over, and his wicket was followed next over by that of Sumon, who was caught short when called through by Nick after the latter played a firm cut to point.
Any such sparks were soon extinguished, however, by a wonderful partnership between Nick and Takady. The two played within themselves initially, pushing the score through to 28 for 2 after six overs, before suddenly switching gears. Nick remained in imperious form and was particularly harsh on anything short, picking up several boundaries from pull shots. Takady, meanwhile, showed superb footwork with a couple of delightful square drives against Wyverns’ pace bowlers. Copybook form, all the way along the ground and never looked like not being four. Glorious.
A flurry of fours saw our score race from 28 off six to the required 77 off just ten for the loss of two wickets. Nick finished unbeaten on 33, and Takady on 23 (great pressure knock considering it followed two ducks on Saturday and a Sunday afternoon Bayne rev-up), with both batsmen’s strike rates well over 100.
What had loomed as a fierce encounter actually ended up a bit of a thrashing…in our favor! Coupled with our earlier pasting of Tohoku, it seemed this victory just might see us through to the tournament final. However, we knew not to take anything for granted, especially given our proven knack for clutching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Those of us who hung around in Sano for Day Three were left to ponder the various permutations and scenarios under which we could fail to qualify, along with, apparently, the various pros and cons of Ishant Sharma’s flowing locks.topodраскруткараскрутка сайтавзломать одноклассников скачатьmacbook pro 13 чехолальфа кредитная карта онлайн заявкаgratis casino automatenspiele ohne anmeldungoriental escortsgirne merit parkBlackjack calculatorтуры на килиманджаро ценаалексфитнес братиславская