- Match Report
Enter the Wom-bat Clan
by James Samarji
It was a fine spring morning at Sano International Cricket Ground. The sun’s light beginning to diffuse its way through the morning haze amidst the backdrop of a verdant hillside. Rich greens filled the hillside speckled with the cherry pink of the blossom trees. The Wombats themselves looked surprisingly fresh and sprightly too, aside from Luke, whose gelatine glazed eyes revealed a grape-infused night. Amidst this luscious setting, the clean smell of fauna and new beginnings hung in the air and was that a faint scent of victory too?
In our path lay the Tokyo Tigers. Last year’s runner’s up in the league we knew it was going to be a strenuous test. The intelligence report fed back a strong batting and bowling attack set-up around one talismanic batsman. Being tipped for relegation by one JCL observer we hoped to prove the h8ers wrong and make a strong statement starting the season.
In a rallying cry akin to Leonidas from 300, Patmore lit the fires in every Wombat’s belly in a rousing speech before the game. The Wombats won the toss and elected to bat, Alex Patmore and Richie Bracefield prepared themselves for the game ahead. Armed with the finest willows, the two wombats strode out into the cauldron of Tigers.
The innings began strong, with Patmore finding his rhythm early on guiding an early four to the boundary. The Tigers’ bowling was accurate, not making it easy for the two openers but Richie soon found his rhythm too reaching the boundary early on. Like two ballet dancers, in perfect harmony with one another, Richie and Patmore accumulated runs effectively, rotating the strike with grace and hitting the occasional four.
Meanwhile, on the side-lines, Daniel Mee sat anxiously waiting to come in, fidgeting and expounding lots of nervous energy, he watched on as Richie was let off with a drop catch at cover and a fielding calamity, after skying one that dropped safe amidst confusion. With the Tigers’ heads down, Richie made them pay, bludgeoning a flat six over mid-wicket and another six over cover, his fifty was brought up in good time. Patmore was soon to follow as he reverse-swept to bring up his 50. The 100 run partnership was brought up and the innings was going strong at the half way point, losing no wickets.
Patmore found himself playing the supporting role as Richie pressed on with strong hitting and soon surpassed his previous high score of 73. Daniel Mee’s condition was growing progressively worse, having waited over 25 overs at this point, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself, a few other wombats casting worried glances at him as he grew ever more excited. Cheered on by the Wombat’s No.1 fangirl for the day, Achal, Richie continued his venture in territories unknown. A beacon of light, he charged through the 80s, yet, danger loomed as his forearms grew weary. An alarm bell rang as a signature Richie blast over long on didn’t quite reach the boundary and was fortunately dropped once more. On 96 with his team mates having put the bunting out and their phones recording to immortalise the milestone moment, Richie’s forearms failed him as he tried to go for another big one at long on but was caught in the deep. Richie’s dreams of his maiden century were swept away like ash from the palm of a hand. A fine innings that bodes well for the coming season in which signs of his maiden century are strong.
For Daniel Mee, he had finally escaped his tortuous time in limbo and buzzed ecstatically to the middle. Patmore, having been in for 30 overs and seeing the ball well was hoping to take the reins but once more, he now found himself playing second fiddle to Daniel Mee. Finally, able to release his energy, like a stick of dynamite, Mee exploded at the crease. The crash of the ball from Mee’s bat reverberated around the ground as he soon found himself reaching 50 in what seemed like no time at all.
The explosive batting brought with it collateral damage. A running mix-up left Patmore stranded, like a helpless seal in the middle of the ocean, before he was duly run-out. A selfless and beautifully crafted innings that facilitated those around him to blossom while shining bright himself Patmore finished with 71.
Aamir stood like a giant at the crease, his body looking as if it has been finely chiselled and painstakingly etched by Renassiance man Michelangelo. Aamir offered some sweet striking and more support for Mee whose fire continued to blaze strong. In a moment, Mee’s aura claimed its second victim.
In an event which will be sure to live on as mystical legend in the distant future. Tranquillity filled the air, birds stopped singing and the cycle of nature and life itself coalesced in Mee’s heart for a quote in which Shakespeare could only dream. With all the tenderness of a falling cherry blossom flower, delicately dancing through the air, caressed by a gentle wind, Mee called out – “Run you lazy bastard!!” Not knowing whether time existed, whether this moment lasted a second or a hundred years, whether Daniel Mee was a sage or an oracle, wounded deeply by a divine arrow which gave him pleasure, enchanted and exalted, overwhelmed by a feeling of great love of the most humble veneration, a single tear trickled down Aamir’s face as he walked back to the pavilion, run-out, bat in hand, changed forever.
In the final over, the Illustrious One fell himself, hitting 54 of few deliveries. Sent in with 5 balls remaining, James Samarji, on debut soon found himself walking off the pitch almost as soon as he walked on after a miss-guided tepid dab left his stumps exposed and duly knocked out the ground. Luke’s stumps tumbled too after coming in to face the final delivery to finish proceedings for the Wombats
Thanks to three great innings from the top three batsmen, the Wombats finished on 247 off their 40 overs. A very good score, the Wombats were confident as they stepped out onto the field.
Nigel threw their batsman an assortment of spices to fend off, the most prominent being chilli, after some fierce short bowling. AJ backed him up well at the other end, consistently hitting good areas and ensuring their batsman had to play. However, their openers weathered the storm and after 6 overs, found their rhythm and began to work the field.
AJ got the breakthrough after their opener was caught on the boundary by Rasika. At 34-1 the Wombats were growing more confident of causing an upset. There was a long way to go and the Tigers were scoring fast but the game was even.
The Tigers stabilised and began working the scoreboard, a variety of Wombats bowlers took to the crease but none could seem to stem the flow of runs. A breakthrough was badly needed. On came Aamir, feeling the unity of Samsara, he wielded their batsman to sky one high in the air towards deep square leg. As the ball swirled in the air towards James Samarji, he felt he had been waiting for this moment the whole game. A chance to atone for the duck, wipe the slate clean on his Wombats debut and propel his new team to victory. Alas, it was not be. Terribly misjudged, he made a sprawling dive in an attempt for a last-second spectacular catch, but the ball slipped through his hands and agonisingly trickled over the boundary along with, most likely, the dying embers of a Wombats victory.
Yet, there was still life in this Wombats team. Soon after, Aamir got his man after a simple catch to Luke, whose eyes, thankfully had finally lost their gelatine veneer. This was then followed by a sublime bowling spell by Rasika, whose economical bowling applied pressure to the Tigers and also rekindled the hope of a Wombats victory. Despite Rasika’s best efforts, the final embers were finally put out as Chandu dropped one at mid-wicket off Luke’s bowling. Some power hitting ensued from the Tigers and they reached their total with 12 overs to spare.
In the end, it was a comfortable victory for the Tokyo Tigers that may have turned out different if a few moments went the other way in the field. The loss was not without some brilliant performances and plenty of good signs moving forward. The top three were exceptional and there were some solid bowling performances from Nigel, AJ, Aamir, and most impressively Rasika. A valiant display by the worldly Wombats who will be encouraged in their pursuit for a golden season.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Tigers CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2019 (Div. 1), SICG 1, Tochigi, April 6, 2019|
|Toss||Tokyo Wombats CC|
|Result||Tigers CC won by 8 wickets|
|TWCC MoM||R Bracefield|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 247/6 (40.0 overs)|
|A Patmore*†||run out (R Koul†)||71||112||9||0||63.39|
|R Bracefield||c S Ravichandran* b J George||96||80||9||4||120.00|
|D Mee||c S Ravichandran* b R Mouli||54||40||7||1||135.00|
|A Syed||run out (J George / R Kouli†)||6||6||0||0||100.00|
|J Samarji||b R Mouli||0||1||0||0||100.00|
|A Jacob||not out||0||0||0||0||-|
|L Eyes||b R Mouli||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 11 w 8, nb 0)||20|
|Fall of wickets|
|172-1 R Bracefield, 217-2 A Patmore*†, 241-3 A Syed, 244-4 J Samarji, 247-5 D Mee, 247-6 L Eyes|
|Tigers CC Innings: 250/2 (28.4 overs)|
|R Mouli||c R Ethugala b A Jacob||22||19||2||1||115.79|
|R Kouli†||not out||105||83||9||6||126.51|
|N Nagarajan||c L Eyes b A Syed||46||51||6||0||90.20|
|S Ravichandran*||not out||40||22||5||1||181.82|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 1, w 25, nb 11)||37|
|Fall of wickets|
|34-1 R Mouli, 159-2 N Nagarajan|
- Rasika taking a skier on the boundary, caught it like a rugby ball in the chest!
- Luke catching a spinning one at cover.
- James: A skier hit by the the set batsman to deep square leg of Amir. James who is usually very quick, misjudged it. Samarji could have been the game changer and I would have sponsored a customized massage had he taken that.
- Chandru: A straight forward catch to Chandru at short midwicket by the Saborish early in his innings.
- “Run ya bastard!” – Fireboy to Aamir mid-pitch as they were running a very ambitious second run.
Great Moments in Sport
- Fireboy’s rapid 50, only came in to bat during the 31st over
- Rasika’s spell of offspin/right arm fast – a rare moment of control and pressure in a pretty brutal Tigers innings. No wickets but the most economical Wombat bowler and looked threatening every over. Welcome back Rasi!
- Richie’s career best of 96 coming in his first game as prez
- An opening stand of 172 for Richie and Patmore, and all top 3 scoring 50s.
- Dan Mee (arguably one of the shortest Wombat) screaming at Aamir (unreservedly the largest Wombat) to run (see above) – leading to Aamir’s dismissal.
Golden Thong Nominations
- Luke “Yellow” eyes – looked like death warmed up at Kuki station at 9am. He needed a new liver half way to Tanuma after a big one the night before.