JCL Round Six: Sharks Show Top Four Pedigree
- One Short - Cricket Reports
The Chiba Sharks have long waited for their youth policy to pay off and start delivering wins with outstanding individual performances, and in Tsuyoshi Takada they are starting to see the rewards.
The all round qualities that have shot Takada into the top ten leading run scorers and wicket takers this year were on display in a fine victory for the Sharks over a struggling Sano CC side who on another day might have got more reward.
Batting first another solid opening stand of 80 between Davian Johnson (28 against the side who turned him down) and Dhugal Bedingfield (35) laid the platform for an aggressive half century partnership between Takada and Arata Ueda (24).
Takada fell chasing quick runs at the end of the innings, but his 53 is reward for some promising form this year as Sharks finished 208 all out in the final over. For Sano Kazumasa Takahashi grabbed season’s best figures of 3/30 while Thulanidu Thirimanna collected 3/39.
Despite early wickets the chase looked on as a century stand between Thirimanna (60) and Thapa Bijaya (53) in quicktime looked like taking the game away. Pavethy Nath Velusamy (2/25) dismissed both of them and Takada (3/44) cleaned up the tail to complete a narrow 14-run win that was richly deserved but leaves the defending Champions struggling to make the playoffs.
Like Sano, fellow 2017 finalists Wyverns have failed to reach the heights of last season, but signs of improvement are coming and a surprise win over previously dominant Tigers CC has reignited their own top four hopes.
Batting first trouble was brewing as Sachin Thakur (3/38) ran amok with three quick wickets leaving Wyverns 18/3 in no time. A welcome return to form for Naotsune Miyaji (66) in a 130-run partnership with Wataru Miyauchi (61) rescued the side and a thumping 32 from 15 balls by Tomoki Ota propelled the Wyverns to 204 all out in the final over.
For Miyauchi this was a career best score a second half century of the season which makes him one of four Japanese batsmen in the top ten leading run scorers of the season so far and bodes well for Japan’s two tournaments approaching at the end of the year.
In the chase Tigers were always going to rely on Sabaorish Ravichandran, but when he was fourth to fall for 32, dismissed by Miyaji for his first score less than 50 this season, the rest of the side was unable to rally as Wyverns romped to a comfortable 51-run win. Oshantha Nanayakkara led the way with 3/19 and Takahiro Aoki 3/44 also chipped in. With their unbeaten start gone, everyone will watch with interest at how Tigers respond.
MAX CC of course lost their unbeaten record in Round Five so there was keen interest on how they would respond when Alpha Quashers came calling. The answer is not very well.
Only nine players showed up for their match against Alpha Quashers; who may argue that only one actually turned up with the bat. Masaomi Kobayashi’s 25 was the only score in double figures as Nandha Rangasamy took 4/7 in dismissing MAX for just 60 in 27.1 overs.
The chase lasted a meagre 13.1 overs, although MAX at least took five wickets through Makoto Taniyama (2/24) and Vinay Iyer (2/22) but plenty of contributions meant a bonus-point five-wicket win for Quashers which helps them fend off the chasing pack for fourth place.
Paddy Foleys storied history in the Top Division of the Japan Cricket League must surely be under threat now. Two wins in three seasons is bad enough, but Round Six finishes up with a forfeited match against Tokyo Wombats which leaves Paddys at the foot of the table with a score in the red. As more sides fight for a place at the top table in an expanding league it looks increasingly unlikely that relegation will be fended off for a third successive year.