The inaugural East Asia Cup contest between Japan and China saw a rare instance of the batsman being given out ‘retired’ as he left the field of play for a change of bat without seeking prior approval from the on-field umpires Alan Curr nor Mihindu Perera. Call it a lack of understanding of the game or mere ignorance, the umpires didn’t take the incident lightly as they ruled the batsman out after a brief consultation.
The match, played at the Sano International Cricket Ground was the opening one of the quadrangular tournament which also features Korea and Hong Kong and it did manage to capture the attention of the cricket world as the peculiar mode of dismissal, usually witnessed only in practice matches on a voluntary basis, raising eyebrows. The player in question was Japan’s opening batsman Makoto Taniyama who left the field of play after the opening delivery of the third over of Japan’s innings.
Sri Lankan pair Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene have been the only batsmen to be dismissed in a similar fashion at the Test level, with their decision or more aptly, the team management’s decision, to call back the batsmen who were batting at 201 and 150 respectively in their match against Bangladesh in 2001 which they eventually won by an innings and 137 runs, often looked down as a lack of respect.
Today’s incident, however, had no intent in place as the batsman found himself in a tight spot with his ignorance. Taniyama’s dismissal after he had made 7 runs from 12 balls would have generated much more debate had Japan gone on to lose the Twenty20 contest and so it seemed at one stage with the hosts reduced to 16/3 at the end of three overs.
Skipper Masaomi Kobayashi, however, held the Japan innings together with an unbeaten 29 off 35 balls as they chased down the target of 80 runs with 5 wickets in hand and 43 balls to spare. Japan's cause was helped very much by 27 extras which included 18 wides and 4 no-balls bowled by the Chinese bowlers.
The Man-of-the-Match award was claimed by Chinese batsmen Zhang Yu Fei who fought a lone battle with an unbeaten knock of 53 as he was left helpless at one end with wickets falling in a heap at the other end. The match will no doubt be remembered for how one of the rarest mode of dismissals in cricket made an appearance on the field in the battle between two minnows of the game.