Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI v Crescent on Sun 22 May 2011 at 14:00
Optimists Cricket Club Won by 6 runs

Match report On Sunday, the Optimists 1st XI played against the winners of last years BCF Premier League, Crescent in a must-win Twenty20 game.

If the Optimists were to win, then this would see them winning their group and through to the finals day on 12th June in Brussels.

Joost Mees won the toss and elected to bat first. Paul Monico and Mees opened the batting and both produced some fine hitting so when Mees was eventually caught the score was already 60 off the first 7 overs. Having looked so comfortable at the beginning of the innings, the Optimists started to wobble slightly with the experience of Richard Neale, Tony Whiteman, Nishith Gandhi and Iqbal Murad all going very cheaply and in quick succession.

Suresh Kalagara played a little cameo innings but when Monico was run out and the Optimists were on 105-7 off 14 overs, things were starting to look a little worrying. 150 was the target set at the beginning and the Optimists were looking as though they would get nowhere near this. Fortunately Tim Andrews and Pandian Ramalingum had other ideas and set about taking the attack to Crescent. Andrews anchored the final overs well with some excellent shots and powerful hitting and Pandian hit several lusty blows for a quick-fire and valuable 16. Andrews was out on the last ball of the innings but having scored 22 at a crucial time, all his hard work had been done. The Optimists had set a total of 146 which, on a large pitch was a good total but the Optimists were only half way there.

The Optimists took to the field with rapturous support from a good number of spectators and a steely determination to ensure victory.

Kalagara opened the bowling and bowled with good pace and was able to restrict the Crescent openers from scoring quickly. At the other end, Mees had made the tactical decision to open the bowling with spinner Iqbal again and once again was an excellent choice. Iqbal was soon in amongst with the wickets when he dismissed one of the opening batsman courtesy of a great slip catch from Whiteman. Iqbal bowled a tight line and length and put the Crescent batsman under real pressure and his 1-21 off 4 overs highlight this.

Crescent were never quite up with the run rate that was required, however with wickets to spare and several dangerous and big-hitting batsman ready to come in, the Optimists had to be disciplined in every department. Gandhi bowled well once into his rhythm and took two wickets as did Pandian. Youngster, James Barker was asked to bowl at a difficult time in the innings but once again was able to bowl a tight line and a good length.

Crescent skipper, Nadeem Khan was in full flow though and batted beautifully, hitting bad balls to the boundary and pinching singles and twos with every other ball. It was Cope who instigated the downfall of Khan when he decided to bravely stand-up to Gandhi. Khan tried to smash a slightly short of a length ball from Gandhi and doing so missed the ball and Cope was able to whip the bails off and had Khan out for a brilliant stumping!

With two overs to go Crescent needed 17 runs to win. Neale came in to bowl and bowled with lively pace and was able to restrict the Crescent batsman to only 3 runs. Therefore 14 runs were needed to win from the final over and opening bowling Kalagara was asked to step up and lead the side to victory. The first two balls were dots and the third was a three but surely with one ball to go and 11 runs needed it was all over. However, umpire Kumar decided to get involved; and not the first time in the match after he was struck on the leg by a powerful pull shot from Khan earlier in the innings thus preventing a boundary; and gave a wide! With 10 required off the last ball, Kalagara bowled again and although the Crescent batsman managed to score a boundary, it was too little too late!

A brilliant win for the Optimists 1st XI that ensures that they have now qualified for the finals day at Royal Brussels Cricket Ground on the 12th June. It was an excellent all round team performance and it would be great to see if the Optimists can continue this run all the way and win some silverware for the first time in well over a decade.

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 9 wickets
Tim Andrews Stumped  22
Graham Cope Not Out  4 1 1
Tony Whiteman Lbw  0 1
Suresh Kalagara Caught  13 1
Joost Mees Caught  35 1
Paul Monico Run out  38
Mohammed Iqbal Murad Caught  0
Richard Neale Caught  4
James Barker  
Rathinavel Pandian Ramalingam Caught  16
Nishith Gandhi Stumped  1

Crescent Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Crescent Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 5 wickets
141 (0.0 overs)

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Suresh Kalagara4.002400.006.00
Mohammed Iqbal Murad4.0021121.005.25
Nishith Gandhi4.0027213.506.75
Rathinavel Pandian Ramalingam4.0031215.507.75
James Barker2.001900.009.50
Richard Neale2.001500.007.50