OCC 1st XI marched onto their 6th successive win by defeating 12-Stars CC at the Antwerp Cricket Ground to remain undefeated in the BCF League and hold onto the top spot of the competition. Antwerp, the diamond capital, didn’t expect that there is an exhibition of some quality gems arriving from the Grand Duchy!
On a hot sunny day, the OCC arrived at the Antwerp Cricket ground, after a 2.5 hour drive from Luxembourg (depending on who is driving ), all motivated to carry on the winning momentum. All warmed up, stretched out, sunscreen on and ready for the toss. But wait… where is the umpire? After some hurried calls, we realized that the umpire is running late due to car breakdown. Substitute umpire quickly arranged, toss done and guess what? OCC skipper, Vik, rode his luck, won the toss and elected to bat first, much to the joy of the team.
Amit H. and Shiv Gill opened the batting on a tricky wicket and a heavy outfield. Both OCC openers started cautiously by smartly rotating the strike, however, 12-Stars bowlers kept on applying the pressure and got 3 quick wickets at the score of 49 with OCC in a spot of bother.
Cometh the hour, cometh the ‘Kiwi’! Tony looked supercharged as he pumped few push-ups before going to bat. He was welcomed by Belgian national player, Nemish Mehta (Nemo) by a loud appeal first ball, cheekily reminding that Tony was his first international wicket. As if Mr. Whiteman was going to ignore it, he bludgeoned the next ball for a monstrous six to remind that the lightening never strikes the same place twice. What followed after that was worth witnessing (unless you were the fielding side), as Tony smoked 7 more sixes all around the ground including some powerful hits over cover. The flamboyant exhibition was so overwhelming for the opposition team that even the birds stopped chirping. On the other side, OCC’s skipper, Vik, quietly accumulated and ‘milked’ runs that the Belgian cows went for a hiding. They both recorded a massive and critical 130 runs 4th wicket partnership in only 17 overs before Tony fell just 15 runs short, in the 30th over, of what would have been a royal ton. The opposition was already looking drained out in the heat, questioning whether there is more suffering to come. The answer was Yes!! Anoop joined the skipper to carry on the momentum with some crispy strokes, hitting 4 boundaries and a six; before the skipper got out trying to accelerate, for an extremely important 57 (including 5 boundaries and 3 sixes). When there is a ‘Will’, there is a way. 12-stars will remember it for a long time. Will Cope drove, swept, cut, pulled to make a quick-fire 55 that ensured OCC compiles a mammoth 310 runs.
12-stars knew that to stay in the game, they need a flying batting start. Atif, the A-train, steamed in, creating early pressure, however, remained extremely unlucky with wickets. If anything, he would have gotten a ticket for over-speeding! The 12-stars batsmen kept on fishing outside off as if they were out on River Scheldt. Will Cope from the other end, got the reward by picking 2 early wickets. The ‘Range Rover’, Ed Packard, cruised in with his disciplined bowling by picking up 3 quick wickets. At 56-5, it looked that the opposition had given up all hopes of chasing the target. They dead-batted and occasionally slogged their way to the 40th over and eventually getting all out for mere 140 runs, giving OCC full bonus points! Jatin supported well by picking up two good wickets, whereas Taha, Anoop and Vik finished the job by taking one wicket each. Wicketkeeper Joost and Atif showed safe hands by taking 3 catches each to compliment Tony’s 2 sharp grabs in the slips.
The team celebrated at the customary Wanlin stopover by eating delicious Indian snacks bought from Antwerp and cold beverages to wind down. It was a long day for the team but the memories created were all worth it. The fort of Luxembourg cricket still stays strong with both 1st and 2nd teams undefeated in the BCF league so far. Cheers to the success of Luxembourg cricket and we hope to continue that!
OCC 1st XI: 310 all out in 49.2 overs (Tony W: 85, Vikram V: 57, William C: 55, Anoop S: 38)
12-Stars CC: 140 all out in 40.5 overs (Edward P: 3-12, Jatin M: 2-14, William C: 2-17)