Round Six: Rampant Ravichandran Ravages Sharks
- One Short - Cricket Reports
“Probably the best innings I’ve seen played in Japan”, was how the opposition captain described it afterwards.
Chasing 149 to win against the Chiba Sharks, Tigers captain Sabaorish Ravichandran scored a scarcely believable 80.5% of his teams total as he made a sublime 120 in one of the most remarkable innings in JCL history.
Things had started well for the Sharks, captain Dhugal Bedingfield had dug deep to carry his bat for 81* but when a 45-run partnership with Tsuyoshi Takada (18) was ended the Tigers took seven Sharks wickets for just 31 runs. Piyush Kumbhare moved top of the wicket taking table with 3/26 and Ravichandran warmed up for his batting display with 4/29.
Early wickets for the Sharks had them in the hunt, but for every Ben Stokes there is always a Jack Leach and step forward Manoj Bhardwaj. In a 103-run partnership for the 5th wicket he contributed just 9 runs, but was there at the end to finish with a crucial 12* as the Tigers won by five wickets.
Although this Ravichandran special does not make the top ten highest JCL DIvision One scores, it is his 2nd century of the season (there has only been one other) and surely one of the best the league has seen. The Tigers booked their place in the semi finals with this win and will be thinking this could finally be their year. The Sharks however, need a bonus point win and other results to go their way to keep their title defence alive.
Chasing 200+ is a tough task in the JCL but MAX CC were indebted to two of their veterans to overcome Alpha Quashers Yokohama and leave the early season pace-setters now fearing for their own semi final place.
Vinay Iyer led the way for the Quashers against his former club, hitting a season’s best 81 before falling to Makoto Taniyama (3/57). Quashers would have been confident of defending a total of 222/8, but MAX have always had powerful batters and Hanif Khan (73) and Ali Raza (80) proved that Iyer is not being missed too much.
A partnership of 123 in 18 overs broke the back of the chase and although Raza fell shortly before the job was done to create a bit of a wobble, MAX edged home with an over and three wickets to spare to put themselves right on the cusp of the semi finals.
Quashers now face Wyverns in the final round and a defeat there, coupled with a Falcons win against bottom club Rising Stars, would see them miss out on the season finale in a desperately disappointing manner.
Wyverns know all about late season disappointment after narrowly falling short last year and are back with a fighting chance thanks to a dominant display against Sano CC. Unbeaten half centuries from Wataru Miyauchi (56*) and Buddika Nanayakkara (50* from 24 balls) helped them to a crucial bonus point win as they chased down 170 with eight wickets remaining.
The Tokyo Falcons have certainly been the surprise package of the year and having not registered a win at all in 2019 are now just one victory away from the semi finals after an incredibly tense, final over / one wicket victory against their old rivals the Men in Blue.
Tight bowling from their much improved attack had restricted MIB to just 114 all out with only Sarfraz Petkar (33) providing any real resistance; Navaeen Negi (3/18) was again the pick of the bowlers.
Ankur Mehrotra had also chipped in with 2/16 and then played the match defining innings from number five in the order, his 44* from 103 balls steered his team painstakingly towards the target, getting there with just one ball remaining and nine wickets down, despite 3/10 from Abhishek Telang.
MIB stay third in their group and now need a bonus point win against unbeaten Tigers to have any hope of making the semis.
Two teams definitely out of playoff contention are Tokyo Wombats and Rising Stars, but the former will be happy enough with their season after securing back to back wins in Rounds Five and Six against the two newly promoted teams.
Six different Wombat bowlers were in the wickets as they bowled the Rising Stars all out for 138 (a season best for them), before Alex Patmore (35) and Muhammad Ali (37*) put on 54 for the 2nd wicket to set up a win by seven wickets.
There is a long wait now until the final round can be played, with T20 taking the front seat for the next month and Round Seven beginning on October 4th and wrapping up on October 17th.