Super Kings Tame Lions in JPL Season Opener
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The South Kanto Super Kings survived a scare in their opening match in Sano on Sunday to maintain their unbeaten run since 2016 in the Japan Premier League T20.
In perfect conditions at the Sano River Grounds a new look North Kanto Lions team batted first against last year’s champions the South Kanto Super Kings.
It was a slow start for the Lions, new Super Kings signing Piyush Kumbhare (1/6 off 4) denying the batsmen many scoring opportunities.
The Lions began to accelerate in the second half of their innings, captain Prabath Sankalpa (28) and former Nepal international Raj Pradhan (18*) combining to lift their team to 112/6 after 20.
The Super Kings looked comfortable in their chase but when Pradhan chimed in with three quick wickets, suddenly panic started to set in.
Debutant off spinner Lahiru Chinthana claimed three wickets of his own and 14 year old Kazumasa Takahashi added another two.
It was left to the experienced Vinay Iyer and number 11 Kumbhare to carry their team over the line, which they did with four balls to spare.
“It was closer than we would’ve liked”, commented Lions captain Sabaorish Ravichandran. “I trusted Piyush and Vinay to do the job but to be honest I didn’t know if we would win.”
Game 2 ended up being a much more comfortable win for the Super Kings.
Batting first the Super Kings recorded 138 off their 20 overs, thanks in no small part to a brutal 38 by Richie Bracefield. The New Zealander’s innings came off just 22 balls and featured four sixes.
Vinay Iyer finished with figures of 3/17 while Tsuyoshi Takada and Ravichandran finished with two apiece.
The Lions finished 40 runs short of victory but won plenty of admirers in their first match of the season.
The JPL continues next Sunday June 3rd when the East Kanto Sunrisers travel to Akishima to take on the West Kanto Hurricanes.