Optimists Cricket Club News story

2nd X11's away trip to Antwerp Indians Cricket Club

27 Jun 2020

Building on the spirit and momentum from the win previous weekend, the OCC 2nd XI started for Antwerp with an intent to get 2 more wins. A customary breakfast coffee stop at Wanlin and cheerful conversations, the team looked motivated and charged up for the game.

A perfect cricketing weather at Wilrijk, the Optimist CC 2nd XI were sent in to bat starting with a new opening pair of Scott and Advyth. After a cautious start (10 off 3 overs), Advyth pulled a muscle and was struggling running singles. He took this opportunity to go big, finishing with 62 of 36, putting a 100 run opening partnership with Scott off 10 overs. The middle order then built on the start and everybody contributed and team finishing with 181/5 with Marcus closing the innings with a last ball six. 
After the 10 min break the team went in to defend the total with skipper Mohit opening the bowling with Shameek. It took 3.5 overs to break the opening partnership and AICC slipped from 31-1 to 50-5, thanks to some disciplined bowling from Raju, Pankaj and the spinners. The occasional drizzle disturbed the momentum and pace of the game and AICC were bundled out on the last ball of the innings.

After a “Scott approved spicy” curry break the OCC 2nd were sent in again to bat with Shiv walking in with Scott to open the innings. A watchful start and OCC 2nd found themselves 30-2 after 5. Advyth and Shiv then built a decent partnership, hitting the odd boundaries. Shiv departed in the 16th over trying to accelerate finishing on an impressive 45. Thomas and Mohit carried the momentum and the innings finished on a tricky 155. The bowlers started well and AICC were 36-3 in the first 7 overs. Chirag and Raj started to build a small partnership for AICC occasionally targeting the small(er) square boundaries. Few over later, the boundaries started flowing and AICC found themselves back in the game. Rain break at the end of 17 overs and AICC were 2 ahead on DLS. Concerned faces in the OCC 2nd dressing room. Uncertainty, will the rain subside? We will go back on the field again? This cannot end like this!

Luckily, the game restarted, the Lux boys gathered themselves, the supporters cheering the home team at the top of their voices. A tidy 18th over from Raju gave OCC a big confidence boost and a great chance. Pankaj walking up to his mark to bowl the 19th. First ball, 6, the cheers from the stand getting louder! Second ball, in the air, everybody up on their feet, straight in the hands of Raju at the square leg boundary. Chirag walking back after scoring 46 from 26. The next few balls over were tight with no more boundaries conceded. 
Right! 14 off the final over, Shameek marking his run up. Wet outfield, slippery pitch, the umps handing the towel after every delivery to dry the ball. First ball, batman misses, keeper couldn’t gather clean, a Bye. Second ball, single. Keep calm, all cool, under control. Third, ball slips out of Shameek’s hand, umpire stretch their arms horizontally, WIDE! Back to the mark again, third ball, single again. 10 needed of 3! We should get this! Fourth ball, Boundary!! This cannot be the Ben Stokes moment for Shameek. Fifth ball, 4! 2 needed off the last ball. Batsman hits it to deep point, runs hard, Marcus gathers the ball cleanly, an accurate throw in Advyth’s gloves, and the stumps are broken, Run Out! Its’s a Tie! 

It took a few minutes to soak all the drama and emotion's for the team. Packed up and ready to go the boys started their journey back home and stopped at Wanlin for a beers and post match discussion, laughter and analysis.