To end the 2020 season, the seconds played at home against the Liege Cricket Club. On a clear summer day, the optimists won the toss and decided to bat first.
The innings was opened by James “The-Watchful” Barker and Scott “will-mud-wrestle-for-a-good-curry” Browne. After watching the first few overs carefully to settle in, the opening pair tried to up the tempo. However, apart from a ginormous six by Scotty, the duo found themselves gasping for runs against the airtight bowling by the opposition. As the runs dried up, pressure mounted and led to Scotty's dismissal in the 9th over. Now under run rate pressure, James was joined by Shiv “The Wall” Gill at the other end. Together the batsmen could only add 10 odd runs before James was caught out. Anshuman “Will-do-anything-to-avoid-running” Singh was promoted to number four, in hope of building a partnership and doing what he does best, “Smash!”. With Shiv holding one end steady and Anshuman, well … not-running, the seconds managed to race from 40 odd to 120 with plenty of 4s and 6s with Anshuman’s 50 of 27 balls. The crucial partnership between Shiv and Anshuman came to an end in the 17th over and Mazy joined Shiv on the crease. To finish it off, Shiv and Mazy added another 28 valuable runs taking the team total to a competitive score of 148.
The second’s skipper Mohit “rock-solid” Dixit and Raju “It-was-a-good-ball” Akulwar kicked off the bowling attack. Mohit cut his spell short, to bring Maz “could-kill-someone-with-a-punch” Rehman to knock some blocks off. Liege was off to a decent start with 35 at the end of the powerplay, without loss of any wickets. However, the optimists roared back, when Mazy broke through the batsmen’s defense with an amazing inswinging ball combined with very disciplined bowling spells from Raju and Pankaj “corona-hair-style-icon” Malav. In the next brilliant spell by Marcus “beer:)beer:))beer:)))coke:(” Cope took 4 wickets for only 17 runs and put the opposition under tremendous pressure. Vishy “will-keep-the-match-entertaining” Deshpande, forced the batsmen to take the aerial route several times but remained unlucky with wickets. Finally, in the death overs, Raju almost took a hattrick, with his brilliant you-miss-I-hit bowling, and Pankaj got a well-deserved wicket to get the optimists a 17 run victory.
After a well-deserved break, optimists were sent into the field first. Vishy was given a rest and Will Cope with his debut match of the season.
Liege got off to a flying start in classic Belgian T20 style, thanks to their very good opening batsman. They managed to gather 42 runs without any loss of wickets at the end of 4 overs. In the meantime, a complaint was filed by the fishes of the Alzette river, claiming their swimming session was interrupted because of a cricket ball that came out of the Pierre Werner cricket ground. In the next spell, Liege lost a couple of wickets to Pankaj’s disciplined bowling. Will made his presence felt in the field with his athletic fielding, quick bowling, and dismissing opposition’s hard-hitting opener. Then, the Copes bowled a magnificent spell, where Junior bagged another 2 wickets continuing his good form this season. In the later part of the innings, Raju made up for what he lost in the beginning, good stats, by giving only 6 runs in the final 2 overs and taking 2 wickets. One wicket each was shared by both Pankaj and skipper Mohit. Finally, the optimists were given a very competitive score of 165 to chase.
The hour hand struck 4, umpires and fielders began to take their positions. Our opening batsmen got one clear instruction, Dominate. What followed will go down as one of the greatest chases in the history of Pierre Werner Cricket Ground. As James “The Watchful” Barker observed from the sidelines, James “The Destroyer” took control in the center. He smashed, he drove, he slogged, he cut, he played every shot from the cricket handbook and some more, with a clear intent to score quickly. James was very well supported by Scott with his calm and composed 47 of 42. They batted together for 14 overs adding 119 runs in optimists account. When everyone was convinced that this could be the first 10 wicket win for optimists, James was dismissed while trying to slog one over the ropes. The boy who went in to bat, came back as a man. To finish off the matters, Shiv joined Scotty on the crease. But as often happens in batting partnerships, when one falls, another one follows. Scotty was caught attempting a big shot. Finally, Anshuman partnered with Shiv to score the final 40 needed off the last 5 overs comfortably, without any glory shots. And that concluded 2nds season with a round of drinks offered by the senior Cope.