One Short - Cricket Reports

JCL Finals: Tigers At The Double Double!

  • 2023-11-15
  • One Short - Cricket Reports

After years of near misses, the Tigers can now justifiably claim to be the dominant force in Japan Cricket in what has become a golden era for the club. 

After retaining their Japan Cup title in October, they have now become the first club since Sano in 2012 to retain both the Japan Cup and the Japan Cricket League Division One title. Their next goal will surely be to emulate that Sano team, in doing the double three times in succession. 

After a big win against the 2022 Runners-Up Tokyo Rangers in the Semi-Final the day before, they came up against first time finalists Men In Blue. 

The victory was emphatic, bowling Men In Blue out for just 87, Puneet Kumar taking four for 21, all of them top-five batters. Only captain Abhipray Dewan displayed any defiance, battling to 29 from 50 deliveries, while youngster Manav Natarajan (18) was the only other player to register a double-figure score. 

The chase was a procession as Rajith Mouli (45*) cut loose from the off and captain Anil Kumar settled in to win by nine wickets with a whopping 23 overs remaining. 

For Men In Blue the result was tough to take, especially after a similar capitulation in the 2022 Semi-Final against the same opponents, but a first final represents progress for the club, along with the JCL T10 title they won earlier in the year. They must take great heart from an incredible run to get to the Final, winning their final three league matches with bonus points in each to scrape through on net run-rate, then overturning table toppers MAX CC in the Semi-Final. 

An early finish meant that the Tigers 1st XI could go and support their 2nd XI on the neighbouring ground, who were locked in a tense run chase against the only unbeaten team in the JCL, Kawasaki Knight Riders. 

After captain Vinay Iyer had made 57 to drag his team from 62 for five to a respectable total of 177 all out, KKR then looked set to wrap up an early finish of their own before Pauly Paul played the innings of his life. 

The game was as good as over at 119 for nine with less than seven overs to go but Paul (49*), batting at number eight, decided to go on a remarkable offensive, striking four sixes while number 11 Sanath Acharya (15*) kept him company.

An unbroken partnership of 59 from 33 balls ended with Acharya struck successive boundaries to take the Tigers to a one wicket victory and spark absolute mayhem at the Sano International Cricket Ground. Devastation for KKR, joy for Tigers who become only the third team to win both Division One and Two in the same year behind Sano CC in 2017, and the Tigers themselves in 2020

Earlier in the weekend it had looked like Tigers could win everything on offer, however their Third XI came unstuck in their Division Three Semi-Final against Sano 2nd XI, who would go on to win their first Division Three title. 

Defending a lowly 104, Sano were able to make it a weekend to forget for Men In Blue as five bowlers chipped in with wickets to earn a 24-run win and a first piece of silverware for the club since 2019. 

Another fantastic Japan Cricket League has drawn to a close, all that remains is for the gongs to be distributed at the Awards Night on 25th November (Registrations remain open until the 19th), and to thank to committee and all involved in making 2023 a great season.