After a delayed start, Skipper Joost Mees got his choice and Optimists batted first. James Barker fell early to the new ball, while the top 4 failed to contribute significantly. Girish Venkatesh steadied the ship to take the score to 135-6 off 23 Overs, which he scored 44 of. Wickets fell again untilAanand Pandey and Atif Kamal had a 50 run partnership with some fine sweep shots performed by the tall man Atif Kamal. The tail then went fairly quickly but not before Mohit Dixit nailed a one bounce four over the covers. Extras topped scored with 57, with many being 5 wides. Optimists finished with 227 all out.
The home team took to the field to defend a slightly below par total withWilliam Cope and Atif Kamal taking the new ball. Tight bowling restricted the opening pair to 34-0 off 9 overs but as it proved wickets would be key. Newly recalled Christopher Evans was brought into the attack and bowled 5 straight overs at 1-9. Mohit Dixit and Vikram Vijh restricted the other end with some clever bowling and backed up by courageous fielding by the whole team, not least the aggressive and positive wicket-keeping ofBichitrananda Sahoo. Afghan CC were now 102-3 off 25 overs but skipperJoost Mees knew Optimists needed to bowl the opposition out. So Atif Kamal returned to the attacked and dismissed their opener who was on 48. This was followed by an outstanding catch by Joost Mees off the bowling ofSaransh Kulshrestha. Now 136-5 off 29 overs meant that the numerous supporters led by Michael West started to be heard. Unfortunately Afghan's number 7 then took the game away from the home side by scoring 85 not out with some quite incredible boundary hitting. The away side reached the target in the 36th over and won by 3 wickets in the end.
The scorecard doesn't do justice to the effort and performance of the Optimists who fought continuously throughout the day. Now with the return fixture in 2 weeks, everyone is eager to defend the league title in front of the home crowd.