T20 Finals Day v Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI on Sun 12 Jun 2011 at tbd
Optimists Cricket Club Lost by 6 wickets

Match report Slightly bleary eyed, the Optimists 1st XI met at the Glacis on Sunday at 7am ready to depart for the finals day of the Belgian Cricket League Twenty20 Cup.

The venue was Royal Brussels and the Optimists were in the first semi-final against favourites for the tournament, Ostend.

The Optimists skipper, Joost Mees won the toss and elected to bat first on what was a dry and warm day with both teams buoyed for the match.
Paul Monico and Mees opened the innings but immediately there was a drama! Monico, facing the first ball pushed it to cover. Shouts of "Wait" and "Yes" were heard and Monico ended up stranded and eventually run out. 0-1 off 0.1 overs was not the start that was envisaged!
Richard Neale came in next and he and Mees quickly set about scoring runs getting things back in the Optimists favour. Mees looked in good touch again and hit some lusty blows before eventually being bowled by an in-swinging yorker. The scoreboard was looking very healthy though and the run-rate was just under 10 an over. Ex-Skipper, William Heath was next to join the party and looked to dominate the opposition from ball one with some powerful hitting combined with a little banter in what was the battle of the mind-games! Heath tried to pull a ball that was short and unfortunately played on which left the Optimists after 9 overs 71-3.
Tony Whiteman came in just as Ostend's No.1 fast bowler, Rehman was starting to get into his rhythm. Rehman bowled a bouncer to Whiteman who played a brilliant up and under cut shot that looked to be a boundary until, the third man fielder sprinted round and took a catch that matched the shot from Whiteman in its brilliance.
Taral Desai replaced Whitman at the crease and looked to rotate the strike to let Neale face and try and score the runs. At this stage though the run-rate was slowly dropping and although Desai hit a huge straight six he was caught the next ball.
Unfortunately the collapse started here. When Desai departed, the Optimists were on 106-5 off 15 overs. Neale was batting well and brought up his 50 off 40 balls. However, with the wickets of Suresh Kalagara, Pandian and Iqbal Murad all falling quickly, Neale was quickly running out of partners.
A target score of 145 was the aim when Seb Finch joined Neale, however, trying to pinch a quick single and the strike, Neale was eventually run out for 53. Graham Cope came in and departed in the next over which left the Optimists total at 128 all out off 18.5 overs.

After a quick interval, the Optimists took to the field in a confident and upbeat manner. Kalagara took the new ball and quickly realised that the Ostend batsman were in an attacking mood and looking to take full advantage of the fielding restrictions during the first 6 overs. Murad bowled well though and was able to contain them brilliantly and only had 14 scored off his 3 overs. As Desai was introduced into the attack, Ostend were slowly falling behind the run-rate. However, wickets were needed and when Pandian was introduced to attack he immediately struck dismissing one of the Ostend openers to a good catch from Kalagara. Desai then trapped the other opening batsman LBW and the score was 67-2 off 12 overs - the game was on. The next over saw another wicket when the Ostend tried to pinch a single but Neale was quick to pick up the ball and with a direct hit saw the batsman only centimeters out, but out nonetheless!
This brought Rehman into bat and he immediately opened up his shoulders and unfortunately the final over from Pandian and the only over from Neale saw the full brunt with 16 and 19 being hit off them respectively. Kalagara was re-introduced to the attack and immediately made an impact when he dismissed the Ostend wicket-keeper, Shafqat for 16. The experience of Whiteman's "offies" were then called upon in what was to the final push to get the all important wickets. Rehman was facing though and although he tried to nurdle a few which he missed, he soon found the middle of the bat again and the neighbouring field.
Ostend eventually overtook the Optimists total in the 17th over and were the worthy winners.

It was a good performance from the Optimists but in the end they were just 30 runs short in what they should have scored and this could have made all the difference.

Many positives have been taken out of this competition though and to reach the semi-finals was an excellent achievement. Time now to concentrate on promotion in the longer format of the game, 45 over matches but in the meantime, best of luck to the Luxembourg national side who are competing in the ICC European Division II Twenty20 competition in Belgium next week.

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 10 wickets
Graham Cope Caught  3
Taral Desai Caught  14
Sebastian Finch Not Out  3
Suresh Kalagara Caught  4 1
Joost Mees Bowled  26
William Heath Bowled  10
Paul Monico Run out  0
Mohammed Iqbal Murad Lbw  0 1
Rathinavel Pandian Ramalingam Bowled  0
Tony Whiteman Caught  0
Richard Neale Run out  53

T20 Finals Day Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

T20 Finals Day Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 6 wickets
132 (0.0 overs)

Optimists Cricket Club 1st XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Suresh Kalagara3.5032132.008.35
Mohammed Iqbal Murad3.001400.004.67
Taral Desai4.0024124.006.00
Rathinavel Pandian Ramalingam4.0028128.007.00
Richard Neale1.001900.0019.00
Tony Whiteman1.001400.0014.00

  • Umpire :
  • Scorer :
    Mick Swithenbank