- Match Report
WOMBATS KICK-START JAPAN CUP CAMPAIGN WITH WIN
by Shahir Ahmed
Well, the Wombats (7/177 from 20 overs) beat the Indian Tigers (100 all out in 14 overs) by 77 runs in their opening game of the Japan Cup T20 competition at the YCAC ground on Sunday, May 4.
On a perfect afternoon for playing cricket, sunny with a cool breeze blowing across the oddly-shaped YCAC field, the Wombats welcomed back Alex Koolhof who had missed the first couple of league games following the birth of his son. As well, Jamie Payne returned for his first game since breaking his arm last summer returning a throw from the outfield (an incident that earned him the Golden Thong). Glad to have you back, boys!
Missing from the lineup of course – and in strong contention for Golden Thong winner 2014 – was Rony, who, wanting to maximise his playing opportunities, had turned out to play the previous night for the British Embassy team against the Chiba Sharks. Not realizing that you can’t play for two teams in the same competition! Fortunately for us there were enough people ready to play that we still had a full squad show up.
Gavin won the toss and elected to bat first. Having umpired the said Sharks’ game, he had a target of around 175 already in mind. Partnered with Alex Patmore up front, the two got off to a solid start, playing somewhat watchfully in the first few overs before Gavin started opening up and flaying the bowling to all parts.
The skipper reached 50 in quick time and it was shot-a-ball stuff after that, with the Tigers not helping their own cause by dropping him two or three times in quick succession. One lofted shot to long off had everybody excited as the catch was well taken. As it turned out the momentum had taken the fielder over the boundary. Confusion then reigned as the umpire first signaled a 6, then inexplicably a 4. Eventually after some vivid gesturing from Patmore at the non-striker’s end, the call was reversed back to a 6.
Gavin’s luck eventually ran out as he skied one to cover but not before a storming 81 off 33 balls. Meanwhile Patmore compiled a more sedate innings of 29 with several exquisitely timed cuts and square drives before he too perished on a catch to mid-wicket. By this time the score was around 130 odd after 12 overs, and it was left to the remaining batsmen to push on. Evan Hitchman showed glimpses of his fine touch with a screaming cover drive to the boundary. Jamie was unlucky to be bowled after the ball hit the bolt holding the wickets in place and dislodged a solitary bail. Nick and Jimmi chipped in with 15 and 11, respectively, and the Wombats ended up at 177 after 20.
Hilarity ensued at the changeover as while the rest of us came out to field, Frank kept his pads on, still thinking it to be a 40-over match. Eventually he took the field and play resumed.
The Tigers’ openers Abraham and Manish got off to a blazing start as the first three overs yielded 34 runs, with Jimmi and Nick struggling with their lines and field placement. Nick struck in the fourth over getting Abraham to play one on. But the Tigers stayed in control of the run rate and reached 50 after 5 overs.
At this point Koolfhof was introduced into the attack and struck with just his third delivery. Manish lofted one to deep cover where yours truly almost made a mess of a routine take, having walked in too far before quickly back-pedaling to take the catch. At the other end Kyal struck two big blows in his second over, first bowling the Tigers’ captain Bala – who had smashed a fifty against us in a pre-season friendly – and then trapping Pauly in front lbw, as the Tigers slipped to 4/62.
Koolhof took a wicket in each of his 4 overs to finish with a superb spell of 4/16. Perhaps helped by wearing proper cricket shoes for once as opposed to the Vibram FiveFingers, which may already have been shipped off for a refund?
The Wombats after the initial scare stayed firmly in control and Frank finished off the innings with 2 quick wickets to send the Tigers packing for exactly a 100 after 14 overs. After a convincing win, the boys hung around for some food and drink and chit-chat, as well as for the Golden Thong award ceremony for Jamie, who had been unable to attend the presentation night.
- Rony: Yeah, I can’t play tomorrow, I didn’t notice that I can’t play for two teams”.
- Any of Alex Koolhof’s “mein fuhrer” rants from Oktoberfest.
- Gavin Beath: “Wrong pronunciation?! I’ll show you wrong pronunciation!” – to the group of sheilas that gave him the big brush off when he didn’t pronounce funiki correctly!
- Shahir: For the almost walked in too far from the boundary and made it look far more difficult than it was.
- Jimmi: Solid catch on the boundary.
Great Moments in Sport
- Gavin’s fiery 81 of 33 balls. Another 19 within the next 12 balls would have had him somewhere in the list of the fastest 100s in T20 matches.
- Koolhof taking 4 wickets for just 16 runs. A great bowling effort.
- Rony rocking up to play for the British Embassy the night before. Now he cannot play for the Wombats this season in the Japan cup!