- Match Report
Wombats Neuralyze Men in Blue
by Dean Dowey
The match began before we even departed Tokyo. There had been a mix up with the car bookings and some stern words and idle threats from Richie were not enough to resolve the situation. The idea of squeezing 7 into the one available 5-seater so that least we could get the game underway on time was pondered but quickly abandoned due to the wombat-like physiques of the playing group. So players were split between car and train, and the race was on to get at least 7 guys to the ground by as close to 11am as possible in order to prevent a severe over penalty that would cripple our chances of winning before a ball had even been bowled.
By all accounts, the train crew had a smooth, more or less uneventful journey to their destination, bar a bit of a scene caused by certain players lingering in the onboard lavatory for rather longer than generally required to change attire and take a dump, leading to a few anxious moments for a young Japanese lad who was busting for the loo.
The car crew, although seemingly progressing smoothly, had in fact been lulled into a false sense of security (which took the form of a deep sleep in the case of the back-seat passengers) by the monotony of the freeway drive. However, when the question “How we doing for time?” was met with a “how the fuck do you think we’re doing, Grandma” stare from the captain, the pedal was put to the metal. Progress from this point was far swifter, bar a short delay caused by a geriatric ex-rally driver attempting the freeway version of a cock block. In hindsight, this short burst of borderline road rage was exactly what the doctor ordered, simultaneously jolting the sleeping beauties in the back from their slumber, and providing them with the rush of adrenalin required for battle.
The car group reached the ground in one piece and with time to spare, but at least half of the train group was also required to be present to get underway and time was running out. Another spurt of Hamilton-esque driving ensued; delivering the required number of players to the ground at twelve minutes after the official start timing, meaning a 3-over penalty was imposed on the Wombats. Although, this was probably the best case scenario we had envisaged when setting out from Tokyo, even so, advantage MIB.
Our captain, despite the full team not being present at the time, had made the bold decision to bowl first. This would prove to be the first of many inspired tactical moves for the day.
The opening bowlers, Achal and Vig, took to their task with great Vigour. Vig’s opening spell in particular was particularly Vigourous; with sharp, well-directed missiles tearing a hole in MIB’s top order. Achal, although not rewarded with wickets, was building pressure at the other end with his tight line and subtle variations.
The fielders were also holding up their end of the bargain. The pre-game pep talk given via Line imploring players to stay switched on in the field had seemingly had the desired effect, with several sharp chances taken to back up the imperious bowling.
When a change in bowling came, MIB were on the ropes, but their best batsman was still at the crease. A period no wickets led to a slight lull in the field and it briefly appeared that the MIB batsmen were gaining the ascendancy. Enter, He-Man. Although unaccompanied by his trusty sidekick Battlecat and struggling for control at times, one moment of brilliance was all it took to send their best batman (aka. Skeletor) packing and tip the scales back in favor of the Wombats.
The new batsmen, although not particularly convincing, rode their luck and pushed the score beyond 100 with plenty of overs left to rack up an imposing total. But, the return of “Vig the Rig” brought a couple of quick wickets and stopped the MIB momentum in its tracks. A cheeky run-out by the deceptively smooth moving Malith, a well-deserved wicket for Achal, and an LBW for Pramod followed, and the MIB were all out for 142 with 5 of their allotted overs still to bat. The pick of the Wombats bowling was undoubtedly Vig, with figure of 6 wickets for 11 runs (of which half were extras) off his 8 overs. But, it had truly been a team effort with the ball, ably support by some inVigorated fielding and shrewd captaincy.
Wombat openers, Patmore and Richie, made a cautious start in the run chase. Good balls were left or met with solid defense, while the few poor balls on offer were invariably punished. Once settled, the scoring became easier for both batsmen and the run rate rose to over 4 per over. Just when things looked well in control, Richie stumps were uprooted, and he was followed back to the pavilion shortly after by Patmore, who was adjudged LBW to a ball that was closer to hitting his own middle stump than the wooden ones behind him.
This poor umpiring decision was undoubtedly influenced by the overzealous appealing of the MIB players, and had the effect of encouraging even more ridiculous MIB appeals in an attempt to sway the umpires. This in turn led to some heated exchanges between the two sides. Game on.
Raji and Achal were the next two batsmen, and while both made solid starts, neither could go on with it. Still at the fall of the fourth wicket, 10 overs still remained, with only 31 required for victory.
Hearts fluttered slightly when Vig, the star with the ball was deemed LBW after just two balls at the crease, but the consistently consistent AJ and Santosh came together to stabilize the innings and see the team through to the brink of victory.
With two runs required, a rush of blood saw Satosh lose his wicket to a mistimed swipe across the line, but AJ and Malith kept their heads and saw the team home for a spirited and memorable victory.
Man of the Match: Vig the Rig.
Honorable mentions: everyone else.
Apologies for the obscure He-Man reference.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Men in Blue CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2019 (Div. 1), SICG 2, Tochigi, August 25, 2019|
|Toss||Tokyo Wombats CC|
|Umpires||Chiba Sharks CC|
|Result||TWCC won by 4 wickets|
|TWCC MoM||V Bandi|
|Men in Blue CC Innings: 142 (35.0 overs)|
|M Thouseef†||c R Bracefield b V Bandi||3||19||0||0||15.79|
|D Sapra||c A Patmore*† b V Bandi||0||12||0||0||0.00|
|S Pandhari||c A Patmore*† b V Bandi||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|S Petkar||c & b H Bugalia||33||22||4||1||150.00|
|G Dua*||c A Jacob b V Bandi||1||12||0||0||8.33|
|P Manvi||c M Rathnasena b V Bandi||43||63||4||0||68.25|
|V Ranjan||run out (M Rathnasena / A Patmore*†)||14||23||1||0||60.87|
|V Rajendran||c A Patmore*† b V Bandi||3||13||0||0||23.08|
|H Akabari||not out||7||31||0||0||22.58|
|A Jaiswal||c H Bugalia b A Gurnani||9||22||1||0||40.91|
|C Pandey||lbw b P Singh||2||3||0||0||66.67|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 3, w 23, nb 1)||27|
|Fall of wickets|
|4-1 D Sapra, 4-2 S Pandhari, 6-3 M Thouseef†, 9-4 G Dua*, 51-5 S Petkar, 86-6 V Ranjan, 114-7 V Rajendran, 117-8 P Manvi, 135-9 A Jaiswal, 142-10 C Pandey|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 143/6 (34.0 overs)|
|A Patmore*†||lbw b C Pandey||30||45||2||0||66.67|
|R Bracefield||b H Akabari||33||39||4||1||84.62|
|R Kunkunkar||c S Pandhari b H Akabari||20||43||1||0||46.51|
|A Gurnani||c M Thouseef† b S Petkar||15||21||1||1||71.43|
|A Jacob||not out||20||32||1||0||62.50|
|V Bandi||lbw b H Akabari||0||2||0||0||0.00|
|S Pagire||b A Jaiswal||13||20||2||0||65.00|
|M Rathnasena||not out||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 2, w 9, nb 0)||11|
|Fall of wickets|
|61-1 R Bracefield, 69-2 A Patmore*†, 95-3 A Gurnani, 112-4 R Kunkunkar, 113-5 V Bandi, 141-6 S Pagire|
- Patmore’s catches behind the wickets.
- AJ at slip off Vig’s bowling
- Malith catch at cover off Vig to end Manvi’s long innings.
- Himan catch off his own bowling. Batsmen got tired of hitting the full toss balls Himan was throwing down that he eventually hit a full toss straight back to him that could have ripped Himan’s hand off.
- Richie dropped a difficult one at first slip off Dean’s bowling.
Great Moments in Sport
- Vig – 6/11 off 8 with 4 maidens to smash the previous best bowling figures record for the club.
- Vig and Achal’s bowling partnership.
- Dowey’s bowling to keep the pressure on.
- Himan getting the important wicket of in-form Sarfraz.
- Great fielding effort by all.
- Alex and Richie’s opening partnership.
- Achal smacking a 6 and looking to stay positive.
- AJ/Raja & AJ Satosh batting partnership that frustrated the MIBs.
- Malith, with a sore knee, pulled off a stunning run out from point to break a developing partership. Jonty Rhodes like.
- Patmore’s 20 ball suggestions to all the batsmen. Only Santosh followed his suggestion by playing exactly 20 balls!
- Patmore was talking about bowling partnerships and how to put pressure on the opposition by not only taking wickets but bowling dot balls and everyone followed the same!
- Dean Dowey – yelling profanities at no one in particular after getting hit for 3 consecutive singles through cover (despite the obvious plan to leave cover open to feed the 3-1 slip cordon).
- Patmore – “Thigh Pad!!” A frustrated yell while walking off after getting fired for a poor lbw call from a ball that hit him very high indeed.
- All Wombats – telling MiB to get real whenever they appealed (they outrageously appealed for everything…)
Golden Thong Nominations
- Vig – For his watertight email filter…