A day before, Tigers 1st XI were proudly crowned Champions, and On Sunday, 2nd XI arrived on the field similar zeal. Equally, Falcons too were looking to get their first major title in JCL competition, and certainly, this team was much more capable of doing so. The presence of both team first XI players & friends as supporters for this game certainly portrayed good sign of cultures within both clubs. As a result, this game pulled quite a bit of spectator on the field later on in the day.
In the Semifinals, Tigers demolished AQCC and Falcons neutralized Rangers threat with clinical performance. Tigers Captain Anuraj Singh won the toss and elected to bat first as they have done throughout the competition. Falcons captain Dev Mishra seemed confident as the team has chased down the target with ease in the league phases.
Aggressive pair Anuraj Singh and Pranjal Thapiyal opened the batting. And Jagdish Rana took the responsibility of containing these two. Anuraj thumped the first ball back past the bowler and followed up with push through the square to the boundary line sounded alarms.
But on the last ball, Anuraj tried to loft over the mid on fielder but could not. and Tigers were 1 or 8 after 1st over.
Promoted up the order, Ankit Thakur looked in fluent touch till he edged a overpitch delivery. Soon after, Pranjal pyrotechnics came to an end to a delivery of Yogesh Yadav that kept low.
Then came the anchors. Shahid Shamin (33), Vijayakumar Babu(43) supported by Bharat Chugh ( 23) batted patiently and played as many balls as possible. Vijayakumar babu looked the most impressive of the lot with fluent and positive footwork. In addition, the contribution from Balu Ramamurthy (12) and Vikas Kumar Jha (18) pushed total past 200.
Team hattrick brought Falcons back in the game.
While sensing momentum shifting in Tigers camp, Dev Mishra returned for a final spell, provided the breakthrough with two quicks wickets on consecutive deliveries. On the first ball of next over, Jagdish picked one more to complete a Team Hattrick. It was exactly the inspiration team was looking for.
At one stage, Tigers looked to post 230+ runs on the board, but Falcon’s death over bowling effort restricted to 214 runs. Amongst Falcons, Dev Mishra, 4/38 was the most successful bowler.
As long as Falcons keep their positive approach on the wicket, chasing 215 runs was very much possible. However, when Falcons lost Anil in first over, it was puzzling to see Falcon’s defensive approach on the field in batting. At first, it was Saneesh Kumar, Vikas Kumar and later on Ankit Thakur who completely tide down batsman to the extent that usually aggressive Sagar Kamble 7 (44) failed to free his arms. There were no demons in the pitch. It was only the mindset that made the difference between the two teams. None of the top 5 batsmen could counterattack. Due to that, first 20overs yielded only 33/5 runs.
In the middle order, Susheel Chanakya 29 (26) looked comfortable and played positively. In 33rd over, Ankit bagged two wickets to complete comprehensive win over Falcons by a huge margin of 111 runs. Celebration toward the end shows how much it meant to the team that played fearless cricket throughout the season.
This game had it all. From the first ball thumped to the boundary with disdain to the last wicket celebration that looked like a team that never won before. .
These teams are certainly building a reputation and rivalries which will be carried over to the next season. Tigers and Falcons all 3 teams done well this season. Tokyo Falcons Club as overall should feel proud to be in semifinals of all 3 leagues and in finals of 2. Lot of work needs to be done if they want to hold that champion trophy.
Ability and mindset to play fearless cricket was the factor that won the game for Tigers. As every team is looking to improve and win titles, this trait will soon be picked by other teams and overall it will improve cricket in all league competitions. In this season, division 2 had many memorable games, and as players are improving the gap between Division 1 and 2 completely surely will start to narrow down. Both teams had an excellent season and 2021 is set to bring new competitiveness skills to the forefront.