- Match Report
- Photos 1
- Photos 2
TEAM EFFORT PRODUCES 2ND CHAMPIONSHIP OF SEASON
by Prabhat Kumar
The Wombats’ season ended perfectly on Sunday in Shizuoka with a win in the Pacific Cup Finals against a good YCAC team. It was the team’s first win of the season over the rivals after having lost a friendly and a T20, both at the YCAC. YCAC were bowled out for 177 in 29 overs and the Wombats scored the winning runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
Everyone made a stellar effort to get to Harajuku on time by 7am. Even yours truly made it on time after a shameful late-appearance at the designated pickup spot the week prior.
YCAC won the toss and elected to bat, the decision obviously prompted by them not having a full team at the ground. Dino was overheard saying “it’s supposed to be a 10 am start time and their full team isn’t here yet”. Pup began the day’s proceedings on a dew heavy Flix pitch and delivered a couple of miserly overs.
Nick shared the new ball and his decision to keep off the drinking for a couple of days prior to the game paid off when he bowled his namesake from the other team in his first over. With the pitch tending to keep low, playing back on it was dangerous. Nick did and paid the price with the ball sneaking in between bat and pad.
That meant Prashant, the best batsman in Japan, bar a few others we’ve played against and with, walked out. Fielding in the circle on the on-side I was expecting to be treated to a display of textbook strokes. Instead, there were hoicks down the ground interspersed with a few good strokes.
The dew on the pitch hadn’t yet burnt off yet and Pup found it difficult to get a steady base so Stand-in Captain for the day Chuck, brought on Rosco to bowl his donkey drops in the fifth over.
That was a great move as Prashant was lulled into thinking he could go after him. He stepped out a few times to try and hit down the ground. A couple of hits barely eluded a beardless Trent fielding at deepish mid off. With the beard not weighing him down anymore Trent was even able to jump and get his fingertips to the hits. Eventually, Prashant’s luck ran out as Trent pulled off a great tumbling catch running in from long off and got his hands underneath the ball just a few inches off the ground.
The fall of the second wicket saw the YCAC captain Kamran walk out to the middle. His usual go to areas are cow corner, straight down the ground over the infield and a few flicks. This innings was no different. Kamran scored a quick 31 while opening batsman Rais struggled to pierce the field. Nick got his second wicket of the day when Kamran tried to flick a delivery over the infield and holed out in the infield.
Big-hitter Aamir was next in. He usually deposits balls bowled in line with the stumps somewhere in the V over the bowler and the ball stays hit. I had first hand experience of his hitting prowess in a T20 game played a few weeks ago. He repeated it here and scored a quick 50 which earned him player of the match for the YCAC. The next wicket to fall was of Rais when I ran in from mid wicket to take a low catch off Alex. Farhan was in next and out for only 6 but contributed to a 50 run partnership while Aamir scored boundaries at the other end. Aamir’s innings ended when he tried one slog too many and an outer edge flew high for a difficult running catch. YCAC’s last 6 wickets fell for only 10 runs. Shaxy ended up with a 4fer which earned him the player of the match for the Wombats.
The Wombats’ innings started off poorly when Pup was caught behind off the first legitimate ball of the innings by the keeper standing up. Jarrad was out LBW next. Two things stand out about Dino’s dismissal. The first being he predicted it earlier in the day. And second, he was heard fuming about it at least 5 hours later in the day on the van ride back home. All one had to say was plumb LBW which got him all wound up.
Rosco was out stumped cheaply when he jumped out to Kamran who was doing a good Abdul Qadir imitation. I must say the action was near perfect in all the weird contortions and wild swinging of the arms during his run up to bowl.
Nick and Chuck steadied the innings with a 70 run partnership. Nick played a few gorgeous shots, the stand out shot for me being a back foot square drive through the cover region. A rash shot that would have brought him his 50 was well caught by Aamir running to his right from long off.
Chuck and Beathy pulled the team over the finish line with minimum fuss and another 50 run partnership was accumulated in the process. The winning runs came off a bowler who needed a runner when he came out to bat during their innings.
The Esky was popped open in no time and Chuck later presented the awards. Trent and I picked up the highlight of the day award each for the catches we took. Shaxy’s award was his second in a row in the Pacific cup having won it in the semi-final as well for a 5fer.
The van ride back took all of 5 hours, but it was entertaining. A stop at the Shizutetsu meant we were loaded up on all the alcohol we could consume. Somebody also purchased a couple of Jinro bottles. You don’t have to guess how things turned out. The first couple of hours were pretty civil as we downed Beers and Chu-His. There was smut talk. Alex also talked about his showering habits which include the use of one of his finger tips to clean up. He was also heard asking “How do you cook your Pappadams?”
Nick had heard and read all about the van ride back after the grand finals. I can’t say whether he was dreading the ride back or was looking forward to it. And I’m sure he wasn’t disappointed either way. Ice was thrown around and People launched themselves. The van was in much better shape than it was after the Grand Finals. There were a couple of renditions of the Wombats song; one on the highway during a relief stop.
On a sad note for me, it was my last game for the Wombats. I head back home to Phoenix in December – yes Curly, it will happen. Memories of the van rides will stay with me. This is one of the better teams I’ve played in. Thanks guys.