In the Japan Cup Division 1 Finals match held on September 23rd at at Kaizuka Cricket Field, Kobe Hawks defeated Osaka Lions to lift the trophy for the second year in a row. Congratulations.
Kobe Hawks T20 emerged victorious against Osaka Lions T20 in an exhilarating final in the Japan Cup Kansai Division 1. After winning the toss, Kobe Hawks elected to bat first and set a competitive target of 152 runs for the Lions.
The Hawks got off to a solid start with Subhanabbasi Arshad providing the early fireworks. He played a quickfire knock of 28 runs off just 20 balls, including three boundaries and a six. However, the Lions struck back with the wickets of Arain Nazar and Umair Zulfiqar to put the Hawks on the backfoot.
Omi Malik and Abdullah Khan struggled to find their rhythm and fell cheaply, but Dawood Khan played a crucial innings to stabilize the Hawks’ innings. He scored 20 runs off 16 deliveries, smashing three huge sixes. However, the Lions’ bowlers, especially Suminda Sanjaya, kept the pressure on and restricted the Hawks’ total to 151 runs for the loss of nine wickets.
In response, the Lions got off to a shaky start, losing Chamara Cooray and Sanath Fernando early in the chase. Chanaka Dushmantha, however, held the innings together with a brilliant knock of 37 runs off 33 balls. He struck four boundaries and a six to keep the Lions’ hopes alive.
Bandula Wijebandara also contributed with a valuable 27 runs, but the Hawks’ bowlers kept picking up crucial wickets at regular intervals, not allowing the Lions to build a solid partnership. Safi Luqman was the pick of the bowlers for Kobe Hawks, taking two wickets and putting pressure on the Lions’ middle order.
Despite some resistance from Madara Dolawatta, who scored 25 runs, the Lions fell short of the target by 20 runs. They finished their innings at 131 runs for the loss of six wickets, handing the Hawks a well-deserved victory to end the 2021 season.
Overall, it was a thrilling contest between two competitive teams. The Kobe Hawks displayed excellent teamwork, with both the batsmen and bowlers contributing effectively to secure the championship win. The Lions fought hard but couldn’t quite chase down the target set by the Hawks. The match showcased the growing popularity of cricket in Japan and highlighted the talent and potential of the players in the Kansai region.