It was Optimists CC (2nd XI) v/s Antwerp CC (2nd XI).
the 6th of August, Saturday at noon, perfectly sunny at 21 degrees - It was a perfect day to play cricket at the Pierre Werner Cricket Ground, Walferdange, Luxembourg. And Sahil arrived late at the ground and the long story continues below...
*Milad Khan received his cap from Graham Cope at his debut OCC 2nd XI match.
Antwerp CC (ACC) won the toss and elected to bat first. ACC started their innings with batters - Wahidullah Jabarkhel and Mirwais Sherzad. OCC opened the bowling attack with Raju Akulwar. It was not too late before OCC had their 1st taste of the victory with Raju striking on the last delivery of the 1st over, Wahidullah (0) was bowled. ACC were at 2 runs at the end of the 1st over. Aamad Ali Rahman entered the crease. From the other end, OCC had the Rawalpindi Express of Luxembourg - Milad Khan to welcome the Mirwais with some well directed bullet speed balls. Milad was hit for a FOUR by Mirwais [1st boundary of the inning]. Milad took his 1st wicket Aamad (0). It was a brilliant catch by Jigyasu Pant at covers, a nicely timed jump. Now, ACC were at 18 runs for the loss of 2 wickets at the end of 4 overs.
There was a decent partnership between Mirwais (18) and Tanai Manzur (12) until the 10th over. OCC got both out in the 10th over. An easy run-out of Tanai , completed by the fielder - Girish & the bowler - Pankaj on the 3rd ball and a good catch of Mirwais by Raju on the last ball of the over. End of 10 overs, ACC were at 42/4. Their top 4 batters were back in the pavillon and the OCC smelled an easy victory here. To add to OCC's confidence, ACC's no: 6 batsman - Bilal Mamundzai (1) got out cheaply. It was another good catch by Girish on Mohit's bowling. Now, after 12.1 overs, ACC were at 44/5. With half of the team back in the pavillon, the ACC batters started the test match and played a couple of maiden overs. OCC had to wait until the 20th over to fetch the 6th wicket. The score was 52 at 19.3 overs, when Shaheer Ali Abdul gave a catch to Sri Kolla at the backward square on Jalal Tariq's bowling. Yes, the scoreboard moved only by 8 runs in between. With the fall of the 6th wicket, OCC fielders hoped for a quick wrap-up! However, ACC batters Shafiullah Zakhel (lefty) and Zulqarnain Raja had a proper test match plan for the OCC bowling attack. Both made a much needed partnership of 65 runs for the 7th wicket. Shafiullah (28 runs off 71 balls) caught behind by Advyth (Ady) on Raju's bowling in 41st over.
It was 117/7 after 41 overs. Fall of this wicket, invited the star batsman of the ACC team - Tayyab Ali to the crease. Soon after 2 overs, Raju got his 3rd wicket in the form of Zulqarnain Raja, who made 31 runs off 82 balls with the help of 4 boundaries before getting out. He was caught in the deep by Scott Browne, a very well judged catch. It was 131/8 after 43 overs. Tayyab took most of the strike after this, along with tailenders Sadullah & Wafiullah. Tayyab was run-out by Milad in the penultimate over of the 1st inning. Team ACC, reached a fightable total of 177/10 in 48.2 overs. With Tayyab Ali making quick 48 runs off 30 balls with the help of 6 Fours and 2 massive Sixes!
OCC used 8 bowlers, with only 3 bowlers finishing their quota of 10 overs: - Raju 39/3 (10) ; Mohit 21/2 (10) ; Pankaj 29/1 (10); Milad 22/1 (4.4) ; Jalal 25/1 (4) ; Girish 11/0 (5) ; Jigyasu 10/0 (3) ; Sri 18/0 (2.2).
Innings break: - Captain Mohit gives a motivational talk to the teammates, who looked a bit tired after fielding for nearly 50 overs. At one moment, OCC thought of wrapping up ACC for a cheap total within 35 overs and going back home early.
Lunch by Kohinoor: - Thanks to Jigyasu for bringing the Lunch boxes from Kohinoor Restaurant, Howald to the PWCG. Pema cooked well for the players. The spicy garlic sauce was the hit of the menu. Sri wanted some more of it!
Start of 2nd Innings: - Target of 178 runs in 50 overs looked like a cake walk! It was pretty straight forward for OCC batters.
OCC openers - Ady and Scott
To everyone's surprise ACC started with a spinner (Shafiallah) in the 1st over. Ady opens the innings with a double on the 1st ball. In the 2nd over, Scott got out on a wider delivery by Tayyab Ali but an extra-ordinary one hand catch by the wicket keeper - Mirwais Sherzad. It was definitely the best catch of the match. Well, Scott (0) was unlucky. Girish arrived on the crease with a motive of going home early. He started his innings with a Six! Girish and Ady made a quick partnership of 55 runs. To everyone's surprise in OCC pavillon, Girish scored quickly at a strike rate of 130.77 - 34 runs in 26 balls with the help of 7 fours and 1 six. Girish was caught by Shaheer Ali Abdul off Wafiullah Niazi's bowling. Everyone wished Girish to stay a little more as he would have finished the game earlier. Vice Captain, Pankaj Malav joined Ady to the crease in 10th over. OCC were 57/2. Now, it was Pankaj's turn to show compassion with Ady to do another good partnership. And he did the same with a 62 runs partnership. Pankaj made 26 runs with 3 fours. All 3 fours came after the 1st drinks break, when captain Mohit told Pankaj not to hit boundaries just stay with Ady with singles & doubles. So, we know what message to send in the next innings when Pankaj is batting. Pankaj was caught by wicket keeper Mirwais Sherzad off Tayyab Ali's bowling. Sri Kolla was the next batsman to join Ady on the crease. In the next 10 overs, we saw another good partnership of 59 runs to reach the target score of 178 in the 33rd over. Sri and Ady stayed not out. Sri made 25 runs with 4 fours and Ady, the pillar of the innings, made 63 runs with 7 fours and 1 six! We can say that OCC 2nd XI won the match without much trouble!
PS: - The day started with the warmup ritual led by Ady. Warmup included the famous "Vishy" movement. And Captain Mohit is a.k.a "Momo". Sahil will never come late to the ground for the match. We lost a couple of balls in this match.