Rod Lyall 19/07/21
Amsterdam’s Topklasse clubs have had a mostly disappointing season so far, but two of them produced outstanding results on Sunday, ACC beating VOC Rotterdam and VRA inflicting only their second defeat of the campaign on leaders Punjab.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, VRA were given a great start by opener Vikram Singh, who took on Punjab’s normally parsimonious seam attack to the tune of a 38-ball 57 which included nine fours and two sixes.
The rest of the batting was unable to maintain such momentum, and at 127 for five it seemed that the Amsterdam side might be on the road to another disappointing total.
But then Jack Balbirnie, who had been involved in a useful stand with Peter Borren (28), was joined by Leon Turmaine, and this pair added 78 for the sixth wicket before Balbirnie, on 66, was caught on the midwicket boundary by Yasir Usman off the bowling of Suleiman Tariq.
Turmaine went on to reach 51 before he was run out in the final over, trying to retain the strike, and the innings closed on 232, the highest total of the day.
VRA’s pace men, Quirijn Gunning and Ashir Abid, made the most of the opportunity to defend a substantial score, and with help from spinner Luke Hartsink and seamer Singh, steadily reduced Punjab’s powerful batting line-up to an unwonted 94 for seven.
At this point Imran ul Haq joined skipper Tariq, and together they set about reducing the deficit, adding 73 and bringing the score to within 66 of their target before Hartsink returned to bowl Tariq for 37, his highest Topklasse score. Hartsink finished with three for 45.
Ul Haq continued in company with Sohail Bhatti, adding another 28 runs and bringing his own tally to 39, but once he fell to Leon Turmaine the way was clear for Peter Borren to finish it off and Punjab were dismissed for 196, giving VRA a 36-run victory which kept alive their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
It was much closer at Het Loopveld, where ACC pulled off the unlikely feat of defending their slim total of 150 to beat VOC by 17 runs.
ACC had to battle all the way after being put in by their opponents, Ramdas Upadhyaya taking three for 22, but Ram Ramesh Babu’s patient 48 enabled them to reach 150.
Even so, it seemed unlikely to be enough, especially when Scott Edwards and Max O’Dowd began in aggressive mood.
But Mies van Vliet bowled Edwards for 15, and although O’Dowd delivered another solid innings he received little support from the rest of the upper and middle order, and with Anthony Alangara Napoleon taking four for 28 VOC declined from 83 for two to 133 all out.
O’Dowd was the eighth to go, having made 76, but once Sahil Kothari had removed him with 23 still needed he went on to take the final two wickets and finish with three for 18.
HCC, meanwhile, moved back into second place on the table with a six-wicket victory at De Diepput over an HBS Craeyenhout side depleted by the absence of key overseas players Tayo Walbrugh and Ryan Klein, who had both tested positive for Covid-19.
Hidde Overdijk ripped through the HBS top order, bowling his ten overs unchanged to finish with four for 27, and then Olivier Klaus took over, his three for 11, along with Clayton Floyd’s two for 3, ensuring that HBS were bundled out for 80.
The Craeyenhout side went down fighting, taking four wickets before HCC overhauled their score, but an aggressive 24 not out from Overdijk saw HCC home in just 19.3 overs.
At Sportpark Bermweg Voorburg stayed level on points with HCC, nine points behind Punjab, with a six-wicket victory over Sparta 1888.
Sparta started promisingly enough, a second-wicket stand of 92 between Randeep Deol (29) and Garnett Tarr (57) setting them on course to a decent total, but after they were dismissed in quick succession another batting collapse followed, Stef Mulder and Aryan Dutt taking three for 32 and three for 29 respectively as they were dismissed for 151.
Mohit Hingorani and Tom de Grooth gave Voorburg’s response a solid beginning, and De Grooth went on to anchor the innings, his 76 taking his side to within four runs of their target before he was bowled by Kux Kwinana.
Dutt, though, was still there, and he ended on 34 not out as Voorburg won with more than eleven overs to spare.
Excelsior ’20 Schiedam made short work of Dosti Amsterdam at Sportpark Drieburg, winning by eight wickets and moving into fourth place on the table on net run rate.
A solid bowling performance, with Niels Etman, Klaas Roelfsema, Tristan Stubbs, Remco van Bochove and Lorenzo Ingram each collecting two wickets, saw Dosti dismissed for 109 after Rahil Ahmed and Mahesh Hans had reached 40 without loss, and Roel Verhagen’s 42-ball 49 and Ingram’s not-out 30 took Excelsior to the win in just 14.4 overs.