Sunday 14th July-2019, Gents CC arrived be hopeful of winning their away game in Optimists backyard to retain their Number 1 position in the Division IV league of BCF, whilst the host have different plans of stretching its unbeaten run in the league so far to displace the GENT CC and accomplish their objective of being promoted to next division due course. Hosting team skipper Girish Venkatesh lost the toss and indeed was at the receiving end the only time whole day.
Put in to field by the guests on what predicted to be a very good day for cricket, Optimists started their bowling with main stays Mohit and Pankaj. Mohit, also the Vice captain bowled economically by restricting runs from one end, whilst Pankaj was pushed to defense by some brilliant counter attack from the Gents Opener R Khan, aka “ANNA”, scoring boundaries at will. Girish wasted no time in introducing Maz Rahaman to seize the momentum they got, from the brute hitting by the southpaw. Maz encountered this fearless hitting with his fierce bouncers and serious in-swingers asking questions to the openers. He was successful in getting rid of ANNA with a sharp bouncer and their Skipper with a beautiful in-swinger in quick successions to put hosts in the driver seat. Then came pace linchpin Pankaj Malav, who in his comeback spell pushed the batting team into deeper trouble with his swing craftsmanship and scalped two wickets to his name.
With the scoreboard saying 67-4 in the 14th over, the hosts switched to mode consolidate and started playing cautiously and started pulling the control back from the Optimists. Then came the wily partnership breaker, none other than the captain himself, and broke the most promising partnership for the opponents. OCC slow bowlers lead by Vishwajeet Deshpande, know what needs to be done in a such situations. Along with Marcus Cope, Raj Ratnakar Akulwar and Anoop Orsu, Vishi squeezed the flow of runs and kept on taking wickets at regular intervals denting the possibility of competitive score for Gents CC. Vishi bowled brilliant second spell with an artful display of leg spin bowling and bagged price scalp of the opponents main stay Nangyalay in the 37th over. After that he produced the moment of brilliance on the field with a direct hit from the point region aiming the non strikers stumps and hitting with perfection. A special mention to the sharp catching skills from the birthday boy Marcus Cope who took 4 out of the 8 catches in the innings. Eventually, the visiting team were restricted to below par 173 in 38.3 overs.
Optimists started the second innings with their most consistent opener Praveen Kuruvalli and the promising new-bee Amit Halbhavi. The senior partner was unfortunately dismissed early when the score was just 12 adjudging leg before. Girish walked in to the middle at the crucial juncture to join Amit. Amit on the other side never looked like stoppable. ELEGANT!!!, can best describe his breezy innings of 37 in 33 balls embedded with few eye pleasing hits over point region. Girish took his time in the start and started milking the opposition bowlers for runs, as he did in this season so far (with scores of 127,72, 88 in his last three innings of BCF). Marcus Cope joined Girish after Amit was dismissed in the 9th over when the score was 60. Marcus continued his decent form with ball through his batting and supported Girish in playing freely from other end.
Girish reached his 50 in no time and continued his dominance by thrashing the bowlers all round the park. He scored 75 runs with a strike rate of tad above 120 which included 9 boundaries out of which 5 were towering sixes dispatched out of the ground. Marcus scored a well made 41 and remained not out at the end and made sure that he was accompanying the captain till the end. The unbeaten century stand between these two seen the team through, providing a thumping victory to the OCC 2nd XI.
Next fixture is a very crucial away game on Saturday the 20th July, 2019 with Exiles CC 2nds in OSTEND.
“Tournaments are not won at home, They are won Away” *
This is the motto with which team OCC is gearing up for this all important away fixture.
Gents CC : 173 all out in 38.3 Overs (Maz 28/2, Pankaj 48/2, Vishi 43/2, Girish 0/1, Anoop 13/1, Raj 13/1)
OCC 2nd XI Batting : 175/2 in 25.5 Overs (Girish V 75* , Marcus 41*, Amit 37, Praveen 1 )
(*Words by Sr. Cope , Coach OCC 2ND XI)