TIGERS s Falcons Date 25 Oct 2020. Match report by Karthik Naig.
These 2 teams have reached the semifinals of all 3 divisions of the Japan cricket league. A day before in Divison 1 semifinal, Tigers had an upper hand over Falcons. But this was a division 3 game where the Falcons have their dominance. So the stage was set at Sano-1 for the other semi-final between Tokyo Falcons and Tigers.
On a perfect day for cricket, the Tigers won the toss and elected to bat first. Sano 1 has shorted boundaries amongst all venues. So expectations of high scoring game was there on the cards.
Divyashu Shrivastav (a Centurian in league game) and Rajeev Nair opened the batting and provided a cautious start. Rajeev was first to fall at 19/1 (4.2 ov) . When Nagarajan joined Divyanshu, there was an effort to build partnerships. In 14th over, Falcons introduced Shridhar Chaudhary. In this first over, he picked up Divyanshu to start the slide of Tigers..
Shridhar had one of the days of this season. He produced his personal best bowling figures of 5 for 22 in his 8 overs. Nagarajan (31), Pradhyumna Deshpande (21) both in middle had a good start but could not convert starts into a big score. Rajkamal at the other end did well picking 3 for 36 in his 8 overs. With Nimish Bhardwaj and Himanshu Singh chipping in with 1wicket each. The last wicket partnership of 38 runs between Nibu Thomas ( 22) and Sandeep Sharma put a respectable and fighting total of 147 on the board. Falcons gave away 39 extras. 38 were wides. So they might be looking at this area to tighten up before the final game. !
Falcon chase of 148 runs
The only way Tigers could win this game is by getting Falcons all out. In the 3rd ball of the 1st over, Pamal Uttam indued Sharma to play a false shot. 0/1 ( 0.3) and Tigers had the perfect start they were looking for. However, Naveen Gaur with a confidence of 100 in the last league game and a lot of net practice sessions in between, was quick to punish loose balls and looked very comfortable against the Tigers bowling. Chetan Bhangale(15) was 2nd wicket to fall down in the 9th over. With Karthik Naig (55*)joining in, the duo made steady progress towards the total. After the 15th over drinks break, Naveen celebrated this 50 with a boundary however he fell the very next ball. Karthik anchored the inning well and guided the team safely through with a watchfully compiled 50 and remained not-out.
Nibu Thomas and Pradhyumna Deshpande bowled impressive spells to create opportunities and made a game out this .
In the end, Falcons chased down the target in 27.1 overs with 12 overs and 5 wickets to spare.
While the Falcons seem to have got one back in Div-3, the focus for these 2 clubs now shifts to Division 2 Finals on 8th November at SICG 1. With a resurgent Falcons meeting the all-conquering Tigers in the Div-2 final, the stage is befittingly set for a clash of the club’s finale.