In damp conditions for the first home game of the season, the toss captain for the day, Mohsin, chose to bat after a simply superb flip of the coin. A new opening pair of Sohail and Nasir, did not pay off for Olympia, as VCC were able to get the new ball swinging wildly with the overcast conditions and picked up both openers cheaply. The swinging ball also proved to be beneficial for Olympia though, as the opening bowlers for VCC were often unable to control the ball, and many wides were bowled in the first 10 overs.
Wijnand and Ajay came together after the two early wickets and batted well, with both batsman looking to attack the bowling whenever possible, ensuring a high run rate was maintained. They put together a partnership of 54 to take Olympia to 69 after 12 overs, but with the loss of Ajay for 14, and Nayyer shortly after him, it looked as though the game was moving back into VCC’s favour. Wijnand was batting strongly, and just needed some teammates to bat around him for the middle part of Olympia’s innings. Fortunately he combined with Rens for a steady partnership of 33 for the 5th wicket.
The steady flow of wickets had kept VCC in the game thus far, and that continued when Rens was out in the 23rd over with the score at 108. Mohsin came in at 7 for the first time this season, after opening the batting for the first 4 matches, and the change in position looked to have worked beautifully for him. Wijnand found another batting partner, this time they came together for a quick fire partnership of 47, just as VCC were looking to take the game away from Olympia completely. Mohsin opened his account with a booming straight drive for six and from there he picked his shots nicely, racing to 27 off 25 balls. However, he ended up taking one big swing too many, and with the loss of his wicket, it opened up the tail for the VCC bowlers. They ripped through the next 3 batsman, but a late flurry of boundaries from Wijnand, until he was finally caught for a very well made 58, meant Olympia finished up on a respectable 176.
Being back home seemed to give the Olympia players a bit more comfort when they took to the field for the 2nd innings. The opening bowlers, Ajay and Nasir, started nicely, and for the first game in a while Olympia managed to restrict the opposition batsman well. A combination of less extras being given away, as well as a notable improvement in the fielding intensity and energy gave Olympia two wickets for 42 runs, with Wajid taking an incredible catch at short mid-wicket, diving forward and grabbing it inches above the ground for one of them.
The wickets didn’t come for Olympia after the first two though, and a solid 3rd wicket partnership developed for VCC throughout the middle overs. Whilst Olympia couldn’t find a way to break this partnership, they did a good job at restricting the batsman, and the run rate stayed low for VCC. As the game approached the last 10 overs, VCC were on 123 for 2 and therefore needed close to 5 runs an over with 8 wickets in hand to reach the target of 176. By no means a simple task for the batting side, but with the current partnership going strongly, Olympia were going to have to turn it around. Mohsin had bowled well all game, and just when Olympia needed a breakthrough, he provided it. A nice catch by Wijnand at mid-wicket, meant the partnership was broken, and Olympia sensed an opportunity to capitalise on this.
Lots of pressure was put on by some smart, tight bowling from Wijnand (0-19 off 8 overs) and Mohsin (3-36 off 8 overs), as well as the continued energy in the field, and VCC found themselves needing to go for some big shots to stay on top of the required run rate, which had risen to close to 7 an over. However, the big shots didn’t come off for VCC, and instead Olympia found themselves taking more wickets, and the new batters were forced into taking bad options. From 123-2 in 30 overs to 139-6 in 35 overs, an Olympia win was an increasingly likely situation at this point. However, some late order hitting from VCC’s tail enders proved to be vital in getting their team back into the game, and off the last over, to be bowled by Nasir, VCC had pulled it back so that they only required 5 runs to win.
But, there was lots of drama still to unfold. Wijnand had most of his fielders in tight, in order to stop the single, trying to force the VCC batsmen into going for the big shot. However, they opted to play it safe and try to sneak a single. Nasir, fielding the ball off his own bowling, took advantage of the situation, and calmly ran the batsman out at the keeper’s end to leave VCC still needing 5 runs off 5 balls, with 2 wickets in hand. The next ball, was heaved away to the offside, but the batsman did not want to settle for 2 runs, and turned for the 3rd, only for Olympia to affect another run out. This left VCC needing 3 runs off 4 balls, but with only 1 wicket left. After the batsmen managed to scramble through for two singles off the next two balls, to leave the scores level, it seemed as though VCC were going to snatch the win at the last minute.
However, the Olympia team that turned up that day weren’t ready to give up, and with the last ball of the game managed to get a 3rd run out in the over, to leave both teams on the same score. A dramatic end to the first home game of the season for Olympia 1, and with the first point on the table after 5 games, and an unofficial ‘moral victory’, the team are looking to kick on and convert this positive showing into a long run of good form.