WHILE Japan confirmed their superiority to remain unbeaten after five games and no runs against them, to qualify for the final of the 11th Men Softball Asian Cup, Kochi, 2022 (World Cup qualifier), and book their World Cup berth, it was a three-way battle for the other finalist and the second World Cup ticket.
Singapore made Japan work hard for the 7-0 win, but there was little doubt, Japan’s unblemished record was going to be spoilt by Singapore.
But credit must go to Singapore for not giving this victory on a silver platter, as Japan only led 2-0 from third inning, before their 5 runs in the sixth inning, for a 7-0 win on runs ahead after six innings
And it was Philippines, the runners-up in the preliminary round Group B, who made the cut to the final to play Japan, when they finally ended India’s dream run, when they downed them 8-1, after 6 innings for a runs ahead win
India had earlier continued their winning streak when they downed Singapore 17-12 in their opening Super round match in rain in the morning to place themselves for a place in the final.
India, who had defeated Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei in their Group A matches, to reach the Super Round as runner-up to Japan, needed to down Philippines to make the final.
But Philippines who went down to Singapore in a close battle 6-5 on Sunday in their final Group B match (result carried forward to Super round), had lost to Japan 0-7 in the morning and needed to beat India and their runs against which was the lowest as compared to India and Singapore, gave them the ticket to the final and the second World Cup berth.
Philippines results in the Super round were the carried forward result against Singapore (5-6) and lost to Japan (0-7) and beat India 8-1, while Singapore had win over Philippines (6-5), lost to India (12-17) and lost to Japan 0-7, while India’s results were – lost to Japan (0-14) beat Singapore (17-12) and lost to Philippines (1-8).
Singapore had the herculean task to defeat host Japan to make the final.
But while Singapore were trying to achieve the near impossible and held Japan to no runs in the first two innings, Philippines wrapped up their game in the adjacent pitch to dash Singapore’s hopes.
Philippines meant business from the start against India when they went to take two runs in the first inning, three in the second, one in the third for a 7-0 lead before India had their first run in 4th inning.
Philippines picked up another run in the sixth for 8 runs to end the game on runs ahead as India failed get any runs in the bottom inning for a final score of 8-1.
While Philippines in the final will try to avenge their 0-7 defeat by Japan in the Super round, Singapore will certainly want to take revenge against India in the third placing match, after the Indians had virtually denied the Singaporeans a place in the final.
On the other hand, Chinese Taipei had the dubious honour of finishing bottom ranked (7th) in the 11th Men Softball Asian Cup, Kochi, 2022 (World Cup qualifier) ranking match this afternoon at the Shimanto Stadium, when they went down to Thailand 9-16.
Thailand who had earlier finished third in their three team Group B, will now play Hong Kong (who finished third in their of Group A which had four teams) for the fifth and sixth ranking tomorrow.
Thailand started off on their right footing this afternoon with 5 runs in their first inning to Chinese Taipei’s nil.
While Hong Kong went on to extend their lead with another two runs for 7, Chinese Taipei had two runs for 7-2 score after two innings.
Hong Kong pulled away in the third inning with another 3 runs while Chinese Taipei wanting to stay in the game had one run for 10-3 score.
Chinese Taipei strong comeback in 4th inning with four runs while Hong Kong were shut out for one for a 10-7 score.
But Thailand wanting to end the waiting game for a victory came back strongly with 5 runs as compared to Chinese Taipei who replied with to runs for the score to stand at 15-9.
Hong Kong confirmed the victory and ended the game at the fifth inning with another run for a runs ahead win with the score at 16-9.
STANDINGS AFTER PRELIMINARY ROUND
- Hong Kong
- Chinese Taipei
SUPER ROUND AND PLACING MATCHES RESULTS AND SCHEDULE
Japan 7 Philippines 0 (Shimanto Stadium)
Singapore 12 India 17 (Yasumani Field)
Chinese Taipei 9 Thailand 16 (Shimanto Stadium) – placing match
Japan 7 Singapore 0 (Shimanto Stadium)
India 1 Philippines 8 (Yasumani Field)
FINAL DAY FIXTURES
10.00 am: India v Singapore (Bronze medal – 3/4th placing)
10.00am: Hong Kong v Thailand (5th/6th placing)
1.30pm: Japan v Philippines (Final)
3.30pm: Medal Awards Ceremony