Optimists Cricket Club News story

WOCC 1st XI v Knights 1st XI 23 June 2024 Match Report - The Showman delights

23 Jun 2024

With the ground still drying out and plenty of humidity in the air, WOCC won the toss and decided to bowl first.

Restored to opening bowling duties, Mohit (1-18 from 2) took a wicket first ball thanks to a sharp one handed catch from Yama behind the stumps, and senior-pro Atif (pick of the bowlers with 1-21 from 4) was on the money from the other end. Knights consolidated and then began to counter-attack in the powerplay, with Nitish striking the ball cleanly as Anirban began compiling a composed 61 from 59 balls. These two were well set at 54-1 in the seventh over before Yama again reacted quickly during a free hit to run out Nitish.

Anirban continued to hold the Knights innings together as WOCC rotated their strong bowling attack and wickets began to fall regularly. Having asked the team to up their standards in the field, Ed led by example with a couple of excellent catches, including a full-stretch one-hander at point. The pressure WOCC were able to exert in the field began to tell, and led to two calmly effected run outs. Izhar (1-15 from 3) bowled with excellent control at the death, including picking up the wicket of Anirban, which allowed WOCC to keep Knights under 140.

Atif made it clear that this was a proper test of whether WOCC were a team or bunch of individuals in the half-time team talk. This test began early when WOCC stumbled at the start of the chase as Ben E was deceived by one from Navieen that skidded on. Ed and Oves consolidated and kept the scoreboard ticking over before Oves was caught neatly at point leaving WOCC 34-2 in the seventh over. Ed (23 from 38, one 4) continued to rotate the strike as he and Asghar built a 50-run partnership that began to turn the tide of the game in WOCC’s favour. Asghar did not allow Knight’s medium pacers to settle with some clean hitting that explains why they call him “The Showman”. This was particularly evident after Ed fell trying to up the tempo, as Asghar took the game away from Knights with three 6s in an over, including a classy straight drive. Asghar (64 from 33, two 4s and six 6s) and Mohit (24* from 11, five 4s) cut loose before Eliyas joined Mohit to finish the game off in 17 overs.  

This was a well-executed run chase that will have left Atif satisfied as he mopped the pavilion floor. However, WOCC’s bowling attack will need to be more clinical with the ball, and will need everyone’s full support and commitment in the field if they want to challenge for the league title this year. Every game will be crucial (including the return fixture against Knights next up) with WOCC, Star, and Heritage all on 6 points at the top of the table.