One Short - Cricket Reports

JCL Grand Final: Tigers Claim 2nd JCL Title

  • 2022-11-17
  • One Short - Cricket Reports

Tigers Cricket Club won their second Japan Cricket League title in three years after holding their nerve against a Tokyo Rangers side who came into the Final unbeaten in 2022. 

The eventual margin of victory was just six runs, but this was a see-sawing match that kept viewers guessing right up to the final over. 

Batting first the Rangers made early inroads and after two overs they already had two Tigers wickets for just seven runs, and were making plenty of noise in the field. 

That noise was subdued by an 85-run partnership in 123 balls between the semi-final centurion Ranjith Mouli (47), and captain Sabaorish Ravichandran (25), which laid a platform for the Tigers to up the scoring rate in the second part of the innings. 

Anas Mohamed took on that role, striking 48 in 39 balls which propelled his team to 191 for eight from their 40 overs with Malith Neranjan (two for 39) and Milinda Sanjaya (two for 45) the pick of the bowlers for the Rangers. 

In a mirror image of the first innings the Tigers then had two wickets of their own when the Rangers had just seven runs on the board, after only 13 deliveries. 

The Tigers continued to chip away at the Rangers batters, and at 96 for six in the 29th over the game looked like it would meander to a tame conclusion, but the Rangers would not give up their unbeaten season lightly and the fireworks that came next took them right to the brink of victory. 

A partnership of 76 in 57 deliveries between Vinoth Takoor (49) and Milinda Sanjaya (59*) had people taking shelter in the crowd as sixes suddenly began flying to all parts. 

The 38th over was perhaps the most dramatic of all, as Ravichandran was hit for six then four by Sanjaya to bring up his half century in 31 balls, before a no-ball threatened further damage to the Tigers hopes. 

However, Ravichandran had the last laugh, taking a sharp caught and bowled to remove Takoor and burst the Rangers bubble on the last ball of the over. Before that wicket the equation was down to 20 runs needed from 13 balls and with two men in total command in the middle, the title looked there for the taking. 

Rangers managed a further eight runs in the 39th over, but lost wickets off the final two balls to mortally damage their chances as Ravichandran kept his composure to tie Sanjaya down in the final over to seal a victory that was wildly celebrated by the Tigers supporters.

That completed a tough day for the Rangers, as their 2nd XI also came off second best in the Division Two Final, meaning the club are still without a JCL title despite playing three finals in two seasons. 

The Tokyo Falcons 2nd XI  were made to work for their title however, after bowling Rangers 2nd XI all out for just 115 in the first innings. Just like in the semi final the Falcons were indebted to the cool head of Prem Keswani, whose 38 runs from number eight guided the chase as Rangers threatened to claim a stunning victory. 

Keswani came in with the score at 55 for six, which soon became 56 for seven, and was dismissed with nine balls remaining and just two more runs required. A word for Sagar Kamble, who returned to bat at number 11 after having to leave the ground earlier in the day to deal with a family emergency, but returned to get his team over the line by just one wicket.

There was no such drama in the Division Three Final, Alpha Quashers Yokohama 3rd XI claiming their first ever JCL title thanks to a 46-run win over the Tigers 3rd XI thanks to 43 from Rajesh Kumar which anchored the team to 160 for nine, before Naveen Venkatraj took four for 29 to bowl the TIgers all out for 114 despite 57* from 37 balls from Pauly Pauly batting at number nine. 

Congratulations to all the winners, and all those who participated in a much welcome uninterrupted season following the challenges of 2020 and 2021. Thanks also to all the umpires who stood in matches across the three divisions, especially the JCL Umpire Panel members, and lastly to the JCL Committee for all their work behind the scenes.