Optimists Cricket Club News story

19 wicket thriller goes to Mechelen against Optimists 2nds

25 Jul 2021

Top of the table 2nds were confident of another strong performance going into the game against Mechelen Eagles. Skipper for the day Pankaj won the toss and in true Optimist’s fashion decided to bat. The rain had just cleared as the openers, Ady & Anshuman, strode to the crease. Having played in the LCF T20 beforehand and faced only one ball which he left for a “wide”, Ady had his eye in for a real innings. Anshuman fell early but a second wicket stand of 75 between Ady (25) and Joost (45) provided a strong platform for the innings. Joost was going well, hitting six 4’s in his fluent 45 before getting caught at mid-on. Ady fell soon after caught behind leaving the Optimists 97-3 off 28 overs which was decent given the damp outfield. Oscar had a day we will not dwell upon as two more quick wickets meant the 2nds were on the back foot. Marcus and Pankaj had to regroup and put on a rebuilding 50 run partnership. Some good running and disciplined batting stemmed the flow of wickets as the Optimists looked to post a challenging total on a difficult pitch to bat on. Pankaj then got caught out after wisely telling his partner to not take risks and another wicket fell soon after. This brought Vishi to the crease and Marcus (42) and Vishi (18) clawed back more runs for the seconds with some quick running and punishing of the rare bad balls. Marcus was run out in the 45th over and Hari was bowled soon after. Raju joined Vishi and confidently played as if he should have been higher in the order. Unfortunately, Vishi was caught out in the penultimate over. Optimists’ 2nd XI ended on 191 all out with everyone knowing that was possibly not enough.
After a short lunch break, the bowling attack got started well as Raju trapped the opener lbw before the rain came. The heavens then opened up and all fled for cover but Umpire Shiv was in control to work out all the required maths. After the short but fierce shower, 7 overs were lost and the reduced target was 180 off 43 overs. So real focus was needed and second ball after the break, Raju cleaned up the left-hander for his second duck in two trips to Walferdange. Long way to come for a season pair… The next partnership put on a useful 30 until Marcus trapped the newer batsmen lbw. Then a strong throw from Oscar ran out the new batsmen who was in left for dead as the opener stood statue-like at one end. The next batsman was in a hurry to get home and hit one in the air to Pankaj off his second ball. At this point the Optimists’ were on top at 70-5. Mechelen then fought back with a 50 run 6th wicket partnership before Thomas came onto bowl taking the wicket of their number 7. A couple overs past and the target was getting ever closer for Mechelen which skipper Pankaj getting the next wicket leaving the Eagles at 159-7 after 32.3 overs. The game seemed to be slipping away as the opener stood his ground and got his team within 5 runs from the adjusted total. Raju (7 overs, 4-24) then bowled a crucial over picking up two wickets. Both caught again by skipper Pankaj, his 4th of the game. This left the opposition needing 3 runs with one wicket left. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and the opposition crawled over the line in dramatic fashion.
It is always tough to lose a game like this, but it is a season-long campaign and the 5 bonus points could yet be crucial. The 2nds remain top of the league and now have extra motivation for next Sunday’s trip to meet the same opponents with a score to settle so this story has another chapter yet to unfold……