With the OCC 1 st XI playing away on Sunday 11 June 2021, we saw the OCC 2nd XI coming up against Liege CC 1st XI at home at the PWCG.
As per usual covid tests were done, setting up of the chairs and preparing the scorers corner, while the Optimists were waiting for the opposition to arrive. Captain Mohit Dixit won the toss and with no doubt, decided to bat 1st . (I do not think Mohit has ever decided to bowl 1st ), but why change a winning recipe?
Opening the batting for Optimists 2nd XI were Ady Manepalli & Thomas Martin. Weathering a storm of good length on the dot pace bowling from the oppo, saw Ady & Thomas ticking away the odd single and trying to see through the opening spell of bowlers. Unfortunately, Thomas missed a straight one and the 1 st wicket fell with OCC 12-1 after 5 overs. In came Girish Venkateswaran to the crease and looked solid to score a few runs. Girish was given out LBW (10 runs of 17 balls) with the OCC score at 30-2 after 11 overs. Anshuman Bhadauria came in to join Ady and they steadily started building a partnership. Ady soaking up the good balls and Anshuman (who looked very good) punishing the loose ones. Anshuman fell caught for 22 runs of 29 balls, trying to flick the ball to the leg side and soon after we saw Ady caught at slip edging the oppo leg spinner for 16 of 51 balls. OCC 72-4 after 19 overs.
This saw two new batsmen in Pankaj Malav & Oscar Whiteman at the crease. Pankaj also fell soon after which brought Reinhardt Heyns to the crease. Reinhardt especially enjoying full outside off balls from the oppo leg spinner, saw him off to a flyer with the fours over extra cover. Both batsman leaving good short balls and Oscar playing nice straight defensive shots, the two were starting to build a small partnership. Constantly reminding each other that it is a 50 over game, so it is ok to leave a few balls. Soon after, Reinhardt was deceived with a quicker one and caught at backward point, scoring 15 of 23 balls and the OCC score at 97-6 after 27 overs. Oscar was caught soon after (14 of 29 balls) as well as Hari (0 of 5 balls) edged and caught behind. This brought in Vishy, who looked really focused with skipper Mohit at the other end. Both started their innings very sensibly showing respect for the good balls, nudging the odd 1 and 2 runs and Mohit sweeping the balls in his strong area. Mohit fell for a well batted 20 of 37 with the OCC score at 155-9 after 40 overs.
In came Raju Akulwar to join Vishy at the crease. A lot of patience was shown by both to try and bat out the remaining 9 overs. As usual, Vishy looking solid facing the short balls and nudging the good balls for one’s and two’s. Keeping Raju on his toes, the two battled until the 49th over and scored a well-needed 33 run partnership. Raju ending on 17 from 29 balls, and the little master not out on 32 of 52 balls. The tail definitely did more than what was expected.
OCC scoring 188-10 after 49.3 overs. A par score on a slow outfield? A defendable total?
The team started with Hari C. and Raju A. and the opposition batsman seemed in a hurry in powerplay trying to hit everything out of the park. There were chances being created every ball and Hari C. had a fifer within his first 4 overs thanks to some excellent catching and tight bowling. Raju A. didn't want to be left behind and got a wicket as well. Oppo were 39-6 in 7.1 overs leading to belief in optimists that we can wrap it up well before the drinks break after 17 overs. The opposition captain Adnaan along with Danish Aziz had other ideas and played sensibly to take the game deep. Mohit, Pankaj, Vishy were bowling in tandem with the good economy but the opposition played some risk-free cricket. With the required run-rate climbing, the opposition skipper got caught by Pankaj off Mohit's bowling. Vishy got a wicket from the other end as well. However, Danish Aziz again started with a partnership that threatened to take the game away. With only 22 needed off 5 overs, Hari came back and got the well-set batsman out. However, it had to go to the last over and it did before Girish wrapped it up with his tight line and got the last batsman out caught by Hari and 2nd X1 winning by the barest margin of 2 runs. Hari finished with 6 wickets with other bowlers sharing the remaining with good economies.
It was a hard-fought win where the team had to grind it out for the whole and earn the win. Big thanks to Phil B. for umpiring the game even though he just came to the ground as a scorer. Thanks to Jason W. as well for coming as 12th man on an urgent call. Thanks to the spectators and the ground staff. Next weekend is busy as well where the 2nd travels on Saturday to Antwerp to play AICC-2 and then playing at home on Sunday against Mechelen Eagles CC-2.