The race tightens as Sparta demolish Excelsior

Rod Lyall 11/06/18

Excelsior ‘20’s unbeaten record came to an end in a short-lived but spectacular fashion at Sportpark Bermweg on Saturday, when they crashed to 41 all out against Sparta 1888 and lost by nine wickets.

Concerns have been expressed about the Bermweg pitch, but Excelsior’s demise was attributable to an outstanding performance by the Sparta attack and some indifferent batting rather than to the physical conditions.

An opening was drilled through the top order by Mudassar Bukhari and Warren Bell after Joost Maarten Snoep had inserted the visitors, and within eleven overs Tim Etman, Sandip Shankar and, crucially, Lorenzo Ingram had all edged catches to keeper Atse Buurman, two off Bukhari and one off Bell, and the score was 23 for three.

Then Dost Muhammad took over from Bell, and in a remarkable eight-over spell he claimed five wickets for just 4 runs, completing the rout with good support from Usman Saleem and then from Bell, who returned to take his second victim. Two more catches for Buurman brought his tally to five for the innings.

No Excelsior batsman reached double figures, Joost Kroesen coming closest with 9, and Sparta then took just 9.1 overs to knock off the runs for the loss of Usman Ishfaq’s wicket, with Faisal Iqbal hitting three fours and a six in the space of half-a-dozen deliveries to bring the early conclusion.

The defeat still left Excelsior top of the table, just ahead of Sparta on points average, and it sets up an enthralling finish to the first round of the competition next weekend when the champions take on HBS Den Haag, who consolidated their position on Saturday with a 60-run victory over neighbours Quick Haag.

The HBS top order again ran riot at Craeyenhout, Tobias Visée’s 19-ball 43 getting them off to another flyer and Sharn Gomes (79), Wesley Barresi (77 not out) and Adil Ahmed (41 from 26 deliveries) seeing them through to 276 for five. Only Jaron Morgan missed out this time, making only a single.

Quick were soon in trouble at 42 for three, and although Lesley Stokkers (37) and Geert Maarten Mol (40) again gave some solidity to the middle order, Ahmed and Barresi completing excellent all-round performances, taking three for 53 and three for 30 respectively, and the innings closed on 216. Visée also completed a fine double, with two catches and two stumpings.

VOC and VRA both kept up their chase of the leaders with victories over Punjab and Dosti United.
VOC’s was the more comfortable, as they restricted Punjab to 147 for nine from their 50 overs, and then raced to a seven-wicket victory in just 19.5 overs.

Fred Klaassen and Pierce Fletcher again removed the top of the opposition’s batting, collecting two wickets apiece, and only a dogged, 122-ball 53 not out from Ashan Bamunusinghe brought the home side to anything like a respectable total.

Suleiman Tariq and Assad Saleemi then reduced VOC to 49 for three, but any hope Punjab might have had was quickly removed by Max O’Dowd and Pieter Seelaar, who put on 99 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand which saw their side home. O’Dowd finished on 49 and Seelaar on 52, the latter made from only 40 deliveries.

In the Amsterdamse Bos, VRA battled their way to 217 in what proved to be the closest and most absorbing encounter of the day.

Most of the home side’s top order got a start, Ben Cooper top-scoring with 43, but with Anees Davids taking four for 32 and Asief Hoseinbaks and Mohammad Hafeez picking up two wickets apiece, no-one was able to go on to a really significant score.

Dosti made a good start to their reply despite the early loss of Vimal Tewarie, as an 88-run second-wicket partnership between Vinoo Tewarie and Taruwar Kohli took them into a reasonably srong position.

VRA skipper Emile van den Burg, hampered by an injury to Peter Borren after he had bowled only three deliveries, resorted to less regular bowlers, and it was Cooper who achieved the breakthrough, removing Tewarie for 42.

But Kohli was still there, and it was his dismissal, also by Cooper, with the total on 128, which decisively turned the match VRA’s way. Leon Turmaine picked up two wickets and Van den Burg himself achieved career-best figures of three for 31 as Dosti’s chase foundered, and the innings closed on 172 for nine. On a good day for wicketkeepers, VRA’s Mitch Lees claimed four catches behind the stumps.

At De Diepput, ACC enjoyed a reversal of fortunes as they secured a 29-run victory over HCC, making the highest total of the day with 300 for eight.

Promoting Richardt Frenz to opener worked like a charm, and the overseas player’s 117 gave the ACC top order the solidity it has so far lacked this season. Rehmat Zulfiqar made 66 in a century opening stand, and then skipper Saqib Zulfiqar contributed 80 before wickets started to tumble in the final overs.

Bryce Street also ran into top form when HCC replied, but his 102 was not quite enough, despite useful contributions from Mark Jonkman (40) and Douwe Walhain (35). At 187 for four with eleven overs left HCC had wickets in hand, but the asking rate had risen to ten an over, and this proved beyond the home side.

Sikander Zulfiqar’s four for 67, including the wicket of Jonkman, helped to turn the tide, and 30 were still needed off the final two overs when Street was run out and the innings ended on 271.


Round 8 Preview

Rod Lyall and Bertus de Jong 08/06/18

After the disruption caused by rescheduling and bad weather last weekend, the Topklasse programme returns to relative normality this week with five matches set to take place on Saturday, three of them in the form of local derbies.

RL: Top of the bill must be Sparta 1888’s clash with Excelsior ‘20 at Sportpark Bermweg. The advent of Warren Bell had an immediate impact in the Capelle side’s match against Quick Haag last Sunday, and he adds greater all-round depth to a team which has at times been a real threat to the established Topklasse order. Whether they can extend that challenge by inflicting Excelsior’s first defeat of the season is another question, and their key players will all need to fire if they are to have a realistic chance against the defending champions, who spent last Saturday gazing at a soggy Thurlede. Excelsior’s attack is steady at worst, and at times a good deal more menacing than that, and with proven matchwinners in Lorenzo Ingram and James Hilditch they will certainly start as favourites to extend their advantage at the top.

BdJ: Bell’s fashionably late entrance does indeed lend this Sparta side a more balanced look, and the menace of Bukhari on home turf shouldn’t be underestimated. The hosts will need a big innings from someone to put the defending champions under any sort of pressure, but in Bell, Pollard and indeed Bukhari they have players who can deliver just that. They remain clear underdogs against a disciplined and determined Exclesior however, and though Berweg itself has proven something of a leveller thus far, a home win would certainly surprise.

RL: After another slow start, VRA Amsterdam looked comfortable against HCC last Saturday, and will take on a Dosti United side which has, by contrast, begun to falter after winning three on the trot. The postponement of their game against Punjab has given Mohammad Hafeez another week to recover from his thigh strain, and Taruwar Kohli and Anees Davids may, for different reasons, relish the conditions in the Amsterdamse Bos. But it is doubtful whether Dosti have the depth in batting and bowling to counter VRA’s undoubted firepower with both bat and ball, and unless the two overseas players have another red-letter day it seems likely that the home side’s recovery will continue.

BdJ: Overseas pros have habitually chosen the Bos as the setting to go big in the past, perhaps revelling in the chance to play on one of the country’s better turf wickets, which in no small part accounts for VRA’s surprisingly poor home record in recent years. With Viv Kingma still on the sidelines VRA’s attack will have a job dealing with Dosti’s overseas Kohli and Davids, but even another big innings from the league’s leading runscorer may not be enough given the depth of VRA’s batting line up.

RL: This Rotterdam derby may not have the antiquity of some of the others in Dutch cricket, but having been twice dismissed for under 100 by their newly-promoted rivals VOC will be very keen to turn the table on their return to Het Zomercomplex. This season’s Punjab is certainly not as formidable as last year’s, while the Hazelaarweg squad has been very considerably strengthened, and with Scott Edwards and Corey Rutgers reinforcing Max O’Dowd, Dirk van Baren and Pieter Seelaar in the batting and Fred Klaassen and Pierce Fletcher adding a cutting edge to the seam attack, VOC should be closer to Excelsior than they in fact are. So this match offers them a double opportunity to emphasize their credentials, and it will be a major achievement if Punjab succeed in taking the points.

BdJ: For a side featuring four current internationals and Corey Rutgers VOC have rather underperformed so far this season, but it would indeed be a major surprise to see Punjab take points off them tomorrow. Though Ahsan Malik is unlikely to play owing to a finger injury, it’s fair to say that VOC will miss him less than Punjab miss Stef Myburgh, whose persisting ankle trouble will keep him out of the Dutch squad for the coming Tri-Series and tomorrow’s match. Though Punjab’s less-celebrated players have at times shown themselves capable of remarkable performances (young Assad Saleemin proving one of our better “players to watch” picks), it will take a more cohesive and indeed aggressive showing than we’ve seen in recent weeks to upset their Rotterdam rivals.

RL: A history is one thing encounters between neighbours HBS Den Haag and Quick Haag do not lack, and this game at Craeyenhout should be absorbing, Quick’s disappointing form so far this season notwithstanding. The home side missed an opportunity to follow up on their comprehensive win over Dosti at Hazelaarweg last Saturday, when the ground was judged too wet for their match to start, while Quick, playing on Sunday, were on the wrong end of a six-wicket victory by Sparta. There is little that suggests that Quick’s attack will be able to tame HBS’s imposing top order, which of course includes former Quick opener Wesley Barresi, and it may be up to the batsmen to buckle down and produce a more convincing effort than they have generally managed so far this season.

BdJ: HBS’ intimidating top order has not proved immune to collapse thus far, most notably against HCC, but it’s difficult to see them having as much trouble against a Quick attack that is in large part still finding its feet in the Topklasse. Though Stokkers and van Gigch produced a vintage performance against ACC, it should be noted it was far from chanceless, and HBS have not been as forgiving in the field as ACC were. Even Quick’s two overseas, Bista and Davey, have struggled for consistency since arriving in the Netherlands, and one suspects the visitors will need both to fire, and then some, if they are to take points back from Craeyenhout.

RL: Two wins ahead of ACC in the table, HCC have nevertheless lost their last two games, against Excelsior and then against VRA last week. Totals of 120 and 86 in those matches underline the fragility of their batting, and Tonny Staal will need more support if the Hagenaars are to rise above their current lower-mid-table position. But their opponents at De Diepput on Saturday had an even more wretched May, and opening-day win against HBS their only success so far. We grow tired of saying that the side is too dependent on its Zulfiqars, but – despite signs of progress by young Shirase Rasool and the undoubted promise of Aryan Kumar – that remains the case. In a normal season ACC would be starting to worry about the prospect of relegation, but this is far from being a normal season. Nevertheless, it would take a considerable reversal of fortune, and a larger contribution from the top oder, for ACC to take the points back to Amstelveen.

BdJ: Winless since their opening match against HBS, ACC will be desperate to turn things around at de Diepput come Saturday, and though their dependency on the Zulfiqars has indeed been mentioned, it also bears repeating that there are probably worse families to be counting on. With the tri-series looming both Saqib and Sikander will be keen to make their case for another senior cap or two, and one might hope a little sibling rivalry might inspire something from Asad or the oft-underestimated Rehmat. On form they nonetheless remain underdogs, and on the other side Hidde Overdijk and Tonny Staal will doubtless be keen to remind the selectors that there are young dutch prospects to be found outside of Amstelveen. Probably the toughest of the round’s games to call, so this is where I’ll part ways with the good professor and back ACC to double their points tally at de Diepput.

RL’s tips are: Excelsior, VRA, VOC, HBS, HCC.
BdJ’s tips are: Sparta, VRA, VOC, HBS, ACC.

Round 7 preview

Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 01/06/18

After a hectic start to the season the Topklasse is settling back to a more languid one-round-a-week schedule, but after the opening exchanges the table is already starting to take shape.

BdJ: Solidly in the middle of the pack are VRA Amsterdam who have bounced back from another poor start to win three of their last four games and move into fifth place. The Amstelveen side take on HCC at the Bos on Saturday, who are also on six points from six games. The Amsterdammers’ intimidating top order have yet to really fire on all cylinders, but they showed against Punjab last week they have enough depth to recover from early setbacks to post big scores. The sidelining of Viv Kingma has drawn some of the sting from their new ball attack though, and with his new-ball partner Quirijn Gunning struggling for rhythm a pre-season strength is beginning to look like a weakness.

Their opponents have looked no more consistent with the bat however, though Bryce Street has settled in well he is still no replacement for Jonathan Vandiar, and while Tonny Staal has grown into his role at number three the rest of the line-up remains brittle. The bowling attack similarly has relied on stand-out individual performances, most notably Ali Ahmed’s 8-36 against HBS, but none of them have performed consistently or as a unit. With neither team having really settled into the season yet one feels this one could go either way.

RL: In Peter Borren VRA have a seasoned matchwinner, whose six centuries in the top flight are five more than the entire HCC squad. Add to him Eric Szwarczynski, another former international, who has yet to produce his form of recent seasons, the explosive left-hander Ben Cooper, openers Daan ter Braak and 15-year-old Vikram Singh, and skipper Emile van den Burg, and you have a top six which ought to be the terror of every attack in the competition. Yet their performances hitherto have been inconsistent at best, while HCC’s bowling has been reasonably effective. It’s the Hagenaars’ batting, Staal apart, which gives rise to greater doubt, and with VRA’s bowlers performing more consistently than the batsmen, the home side start as clear favourites in my opinion.

BdJ: Meanwhile VOC Rotterdam host HBS Craeyenhout for what looks to me to be the headline act this round. HBS’ much-hyped top order arsenal finally laid down the barrage we’d been waiting for against the hapless Dosti last week, whilst VOC’s new-ball pair of Fred Klaassen and Pierce Fletcher laid waste to Sparta at Bermweg, setting up what promises to be an enthralling duel at Hazelaarweg. Inevitably the encounter will be something of a grudge match with former HBS-ers Fletcher and Corey Rutgers taking the field against their old club for the first time, though it remains to be seen whether the occasion will inspire the latter to break fifty runs for the first time this season.

Though it has been HBS’ batting and VOC’s bowling that has made headlines thus far in the season, it is VOC’s batting that may prove decisive. With a line-up packed with somewhat underperforming talent, VOC boast three Dutch internationals in addition to Rutgers, who averaged almost 50 last season, but only Scott Edwards is among the top 20 run-scorers this season. On paper this batting quality gives them a clear advantage come Saturday, but then games aren’t decided on paper.

RL: No question that this is the match of the round. It’s true that it was the HBS top six who pulverised Dosti last Saturday while it was the VOC attack – or the new-ball pairing plus two deliveries from Pieter Seelaar – which disposed of Sparta in short order. But the Craeyenhout side’s bowlers also played their part, and they are capable of providing a stern test for VOC’s yet-to-gel batting line-up. Whether the HBS batsmen will be as formidable on the Hazelaarweg turf as they were at home is an open question; but they managed to reach 200 in the Amsterdamse Bos a fortnight ago. Both sides have explosive batsmen, and the side which keeps its discipline under fire may well prove to be the winner. A tight call, but home advantage may be decisive.

BdJ: An equally intriguing match-up, albeit for rather different reasons, will be playing out at Nieuw Hanenburg where Quick Haag will take on Sparta 1888. Quick had been little short of abject thus far, barring an opening win against an undercooked VRA and a couple of productive trips to the crease from new overseas Jay Bista, whilst Sparta had surprised many with an impressive return to the top division.

Last week saw a remarkable reversal in the fortunes of both sides, when an outstanding partnership between Lesley Stokkers and Geert Mol ensured Quick took two points off an admittedly unimpressive ACC side at het Loopveld, while Sparta fell apart entirely against VOC. Which of the two results was an aberration and which a return to type is not immediately clear, though Saturday promises to give some indication.

The return of Quick skipper Jeroen Brand from footballing commitments is something of a boon for the hosts, and with all-rounder Imran Khan also back they will be approaching full strength. They still lack the firepower with the new ball that blew Sparta away last week however, and the Capelle club have already shown what they are capable of at this level.

RL: Sparta’s form has been pretty inconsistent so far, in part because of their dependence on a few key players. Quick’s consistency has largely been of the wrong kind, and they continue to miss the experience of Wesley Barresi and Henk-Jan Mol. But the momentum is with the Nieuw Hanenburg team after that escape against ACC, while Sparta will need to bounce back from that humiliating defeat by VOC. That will be a real test of character, and it is hard to assess how effectively Martijn Snoep will be able to rally his troops. Jay Bista is too good a player to struggle for long, and with Jeroen Brand back in the side Quick may continue to recover from their very poor start to the season.

BdJ: Likewise looking to put last week behind them will be Dosti United and Punjab Rotterdam, who were both on the receiving end of 300+ scores last week against HBS and VRA respectively. Of the two only Dosti showed any real fight in the chase, skipper Vinoo Tewarie building aggressive partnerships with Taruwar Kohli and Anees Davids before the scoreboard pressure brought the inevitable collapse, whilst Punjab were content to block their way out of the game early, batting out their overs to finish 93 short.

Had Kohli managed to replicate his remarkable form this season one feels Dosti might even have had a shot at the 357 target, though the fact that they conceded it in the first place underscores the vulnerability of their bowling, Hafeez aside. Punjab’s problems look to run deeper however, with the gap left by Minhas and Shahzad beginning to tell. Stef Myburgh’s absence does not help matters of course, as the injured Netherlands opener’s quick runs at the top of the order figured large in Punjab’s pre-season plans. Finding someone to fill that role, and someone to remove Kohli for a less than ruinous score, will be two necessary conditions for a Punjab win one feels.

RL: A big worry for Dosti will be the fitness of Mohammad Hafeez, who had to bowl off a couple of paces last week and who was evidently in pain from his thigh strain when batting. His contribution in both roles is crucial to the side, and while the Amsterdammers are much more effective at Sportpark Drieburg than they are away from home – and especially bowling first in the unique conditions at Craeyenhout – they will be much weakened if he is unable to play a full part against Punjab. But the Rotterdam side is going through a very tough time on and off the field, and it will take a huge effort from them if they are to prevail over a Dosti side which has the trump cards of Kohli and Davids.

BdJ: The round’s final match will be a table-spanning encounter between bottom-placed ACC and defending champions Excelsior ‘20, who are again undefeated thus far. The Amsterdammers’ woeful performance against Quick last week gives little cause to expect an upset, underscoring not only their reliance on the Zulfiqar clan but also their ability to go to pieces in the field. Though Dewald Botha’s display with the ball was encouraging, removing the veteran Bob van Gigch and the dangerous Bista in succession, ACC let an understrength Quick off the hook with a series of drops and blunders, of which Mol and Stokkers took clinical advantage.

They will not be able to afford such mishaps against Excelsior. Though the title-holders are not immune to dropping a few themselves, as the luckless James Hilditch knows all-too-well, it has been a combination of discipline and refusal to roll over as much as the runs provided by Hilditch and Lorenzo Ingram that has kept the Schiedammers’ winning record intact so far. With skipper Tom Heggelman bowling as well as ever and young Gijs Kroesen looking to have benefited markedly from a season in Australia, there are few weaknesses in the Excelsior attack. Though the threat posed by the Zulfiqar brothers should not be dismissed and ACC’s supporting cast is not as weak as scorecards may suggest, anything but an Excelsior victory would be the surprise of the round.

RL: Unbeaten in five games, Excelsior continue to overcome all challengers, and they have seen off stronger sides than the current ACC outfit already this season. With only Sikander of the four Zulfiqar brothers producing any consistency with the bat so far, and an attack which is short on experience and less than incisive, ACC will start as clear underdogs against a Thurlede side which has the knack of winning even when playing below its best. If winning is a habit, then Excelsior have it in spades, while ACC have lost five on the trot and last week saw a potential winning position turn into another defeat. Anything can happen in cricket, but it would be a bold tipster who predicted a defeat for Excelsior here.

BdJ’s Tips: VRA, VOC, Sparta, Dosti, Excelsior

RL’s Tips: VRA, VOC, Quick, Dosti, Excelsior

VOC move to second, but Excelsior march on

Rod Lyall 28/05/18

VOC Rotterdam jumped ahead of Sparta 1888 and into second place on the Topklasse table with a comprehensive demolition of their rivals at Sportpark Bermweg on Saturday.

With VOC’s new-ball attack of Fred Klaassen and Pierce Fletcher in rampant form, only Michael Pollard among the home batsmen was able to reach double figures, top-scoring with 19. There were no fewer than six ducks in the Sparta innings, as the Capelle side were dismissed for 49.

Klaassen and Fletcher bowled unchanged for twenty overs, finishing with five for 28 and three for 20 respectively. Then Pieter Seelaar came on himself, and two deliveries were sufficient, not only to claim the final two wickets but to take the VOC captain past 300 wickets in the top flight.

VOC needed just 38 deliveries to reach their target, losing two wickets in the process. Dirk van Baren made 22, while Corey Rutgers ended on an unbeaten 19.

At De Diepput meanwhile, Excelsior ‘20 strengthened their position at the top of the table with an 89-run victory over HCC.

It was slow going much of the time, but Lorenzo Ingram’s 144-ball knock of 109, including 10 fours and two sixes, was the difference between the sides, as he saw the Schiedammers to a decent total of 209 for six.

Sanjit Shankar chipped in with 28, while skipper Tom Heggelman’s breezy 26 not out helped to get his side past the magic 200.

This, and a disciplined Excelsior attack, proved too much for HCC, who battled their way to 120 before they were all out in exactly 47 overs. Boris Gorlee’s patient 29 was their best effort, while Gijs Kroesen’s four for 31 represented his best return in the Topklasse.

On the artificial outfield at Craeyenhout, HBS Den Haag and Dosti United Amsterdam turned on a runfest, 578 runs coming in a match which was decisively won by the home side.

Tobias Visée got HBS off to great start with a remarkable 46-ball 85 which included 12 fours and four sixes, and then Sharn Gomes and Jaron Morgan added 151 for the third wicket as Dosti’s bowlers toiled in the heat.

Sheet-anchor Gomes eventually departed for 63, but Morgan went on to make his first century of the season, making 115 from 93 deliveries with eight fours and seven sixes before he fell to a sharp return catch by Anees Davids.

Then Wesley Barresi and Anil Ahmed took up the challenge, adding 79 quick runs to take their side past 350, 356 for four being a club record total in the top division. Barresi finished on 40 and Ahmed on 34.

It always looked likely to be too big an ask for Dosti, and when Wessel Coster had Taruwar Kohli caught at slip by Barresi for 29 and then Ahmed removed Davids for 39, the writing was on the wall. Vinoo Tewarie played a fine captain’s knock of 65 and Mahesh Hans posted a career-best 42 not out, but with Morgan capping a splendid allround performance with three for 19 and a stunning diving catch in the covers, Dosti were eventually dismissed for 222.

There was a century too for former VRA and Netherlands captain Peter Borren, whose 90-ball 105 included a fourth-wicket stand of 134 with Daan ter Braak (78). Their efforts, and an extremely rapid 41 from Leon Turmaine in the closing stages, saw the Amsterdam side through to 327 for eight against Punjab Rotterdam at Het Zomercomplex.

This, too, was too challenging a total to chase, and despite 85 from Berend Vorster the home side – again without Stef Myburgh – could only manage 233 for nine. Borren followed up his hundred with three for 42, while Ter Braak claimed two for 63 and George Dunlop two for 31.

The bottom-of-the-table clash between ACC and Quick Haag at Het Loopveld was won for the visitors by Lesley Stokkers (81 not out) and Geert Maarten Mol (70 not out), who saw their side home after they had been reduced to 62 for five chasing ACC’s 189.

The Amsterdammers were again disappointing with the bat, Sikander Zulfiqar top-scoring with 45 after elder brother Rehmat had made 30, while Quick’s Sean Davey claimed five for 30 – including three of the five Zulfiqars – and skipper Thijs van Schelven three for 39.

At 16 for three and then 62 for five the ACC bowlers appeared to have brought their side back into the game, but the experienced pair of Stokkers and Mol, helped by some indifferent catching, fought their way out of trouble and paced the chase perfectly, the winning runs coming with just three balls to spare.

Scorecard | Punjab vs VRA | 26.05.18

Punjab I Vs VRA I
1-Innings Match Played At Zomercomplex, Rotterdam, 26-May-2018, Topklasse
VRA I Win by 94 runs
Round 6
Toss won by VRA I
Umpires HM Butt – PGHA van Giezen
Scorers N Mohammed – T Jansen Schoonhov
Home Side Punjab I
Points Awarded VRA I 2, Punjab I 0
VRA I 1st Innings 327/8 Closed (Overs 50)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
V Singh c AK Bamunusinghe b MA Saleemi 12 15 2 0
DJ ter Braak st AK Bamunusinghe b BI Vorster 78 123 10 0
ES Szwarczynski+ c A Masood b MA Saleemi 19 16 4 0
E van den Burg* c A Masood b MA Saleemi 12 15 2 0
PW Borren c ? b S Tariq 105 90 11 4
BN Cooper c Y Usman b S Tariq 18 9 0 2
LA Turmaine run out 41 19 4 3
MB Lees run out 19 13 2 0
QWM Gunning not out 0 0 0 0
MG Dunlop dnb
HG Mia dnb
extras (b10 lb3 w9 nb1) 23
TOTAL 8 wickets for 327
1-12(V Singh) 2-47(ES Szwarczynski) 3-68(E van den Burg) 4-202(DJ ter Braak) 5-237(BN Cooper) 6-301(PW Borren) 7-325(LA Turmaine) 8-328(MB Lees)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
S Tariq 10 1 78 2 1
MA Saleemi 10 1 42 3
A Khan 10 1 43 0 1
A Masood 8 0 50 0 1
BI Vorster 10 0 77 1
M Latif 2 0 24 0 1
Punjab I 1st Innings 233/9 Closed (Overs 50)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
A Khan run out BN Cooper 31 60 4 1
A Raza b HG Mia 4 2 0 0
AK Bamunusinghe c E van den Burg b PW Borren 26 47 4 0
A Masood c PW Borren b MG Dunlop 7 24 1 0
BI Vorster c V Singh b PW Borren 85 89 7 3
SW Chaudhry b MG Dunlop 2 4 0 0
MA Saleemi c MB Lees b DJ ter Braak 10 17 0 0
Y Usman c ES Szwarczynski b DJ ter Braak 23 29 1 1
M Latif lbw b PW Borren 2 4 0 0
M Bajwa+ not out 19 19 2 0
S Tariq* not out 1 5 0 0
extras (b2 lb9 w12 nb0) 23
TOTAL 9 wickets for 233
1-4(A Raza) 2-55(AK Bamunusinghe) 3-71(A Khan) 4-74(A Masood) 5-79(SW Chaudhry) 6-98(MA Saleemi) 7-173(Y Usman) 8-182(M Latif) 9-226(BI Vorster)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
QWM Gunning 8 4 19 0
HG Mia 5 2 24 1
PW Borren 10 0 42 3 2
MG Dunlop 7 1 31 2 4
LA Turmaine 10 1 42 0 1
DJ ter Braak 10 0 63 2 3

Round 6 Preview

Rod Lyall & Bertus de Jong 25/05/18

RL: Having gone clear at the top of the table thanks to a comfortable victory over Quick on Monday, Excelsior ’20 will travel to De Diepput in good heart. But HCC were equally impressive in their demolition of Punjab, and with Tonny Staal in great form with the bat they will take on the champions with no lack of confidence. The Hagenaars started slowly, but three wins on the trot will have given them plenty of heart, and Ali Ahmed Qasim is, like Staal, a potential matchwinner. Nor should we forget HCC were the last team to beat the Schiedammers, at Thurlede on 13 August last year. That said, there’s more to Excelsior than their two seasoned overseas players, as the bowlers’ demolition of VOC on Saturday demonstrated, and they will start as favourites in what promises to be a tough old battle.

BdJ: It’s fair to say the HCC are hitting their stride this season, with Bryce Street and Hidde Overdijk also impressing in the Pro-Series this week. With a home crowd behind them they look set to provide Excelsior with probably their sternest challenge yet, and if the defending champion’s latest winning run is to be broken one feels tomorrow is the time. Still it’s hard to argue with Excelsior’s momentum, the bowling unit has been a model of discipline and if their batting line up remains somewhat top-heavy the lower middle order has shown they can get the job done if called upon. And then there’s the rumour that Ed Cowan’s in town…

RL: Without Pieter Seelaar and Max O’Dowd, VOC were all at sea against Excelsior, but they came storming back with a decisive win over ACC on Monday. They have yet to fire on all cylinders, and they will need to be at their best against a Sparta 1888 side which moved confidently into second place on Monday by virtue of their hard-fought victory over Dosti United. Michael Pollard confirmed his quality with a superb hundred in that game, and the attack then held its collective nerve as Kohli and Hafeez led the chase. The clash between VOC’s star-studded side and the more workmanlike Sparta outfit should be absorbing, and it would not be altogether surprising if it were the home side which came out on top.

BdJ: Sparta have had a solid start in their return season, and if the side lacks the start power of VOC they have certainly proved themselves more than the sum of their parts. It’s tough to call them underdogs at Bermweg, especially with Mudassar Bukhari fit and in form. Nonetheless they will need him or Dost Muhammad to take the top off VOC early. Though the Rotterdammer’s batting, as with HBS, has been something of a disappointment so far, and Bermweg isn’t the easiest track at the best of times, the quality is still there and they’ve more than a few batsmen due a score.

RL: Dosti United will be keen to put that defeat at the hands of Sparta behind them, and to reinforce their title aspirations with a win over HBS at Craeyenhout. But Monday confirmed just how reliant they are on Taruwar Kohli, and his 52 wasn’t enough to get them home, despite a fine 77 from Mohammad Hafeez. Anees Davids’s contributions are a lot less consistent, but he remains a danger to any opponents, while the artificial outfield at Craeyenhout has proved to the liking of Dosti’s batsmen in the past. HBS have been something of an enigma, but they proved against Punjab on Saturday that when the top order gets it right they can be the most powerful combination in the competition. Neither attack, perhaps, is of the same quality as the batting, so high totals may be on the cards.

BdJ: Though firm favourites on paper, especially at home, the big question for HBS remains who, if anyone, is going to take Kohli’s wicket tomorrow. Better attacks have tried and failed, and if he is not removed promptly one can imagine him thaking the game swiftly away from the hosts tomorrow. HBS’ cause will not be helped by the rumoured suspension of two first choice bowlers, who have reportedly fallen afoul of a newly-instituted policy barring 1st team cricketers from playing other sports in season. Nonetheless Dosti probably have more wickets to worry about than HBS, with Toby Visée and Wesley Barresi in the runs this week and the menace of Jaron Morgan and Sharn Gomes to come after them, Dosti’s attack will need to be on top of their game if they’re to contain the Crows.

RL: VRA Amsterdam will travel to Het Zomercomplex to take on a Punjab side which showed signs of complete collapse against HCC on Monday. Whether it was the absence of Stef Myburgh which threw them out of kilter or the continuing dispute over the eligibility of their Belgian-based players, but the batting slump and the bowling performance which followed suggested that the Rotterdammers, regardless of the eligibility regulations, may face an uphill struggle to avoid relegation. VRA have yet to hit a consistent vein of form, with their top order still failing to produce the starts they are capable of, but it will take a huge effort from Punjab if they are to prevent the Amsterdam side taking the points back north with them. And with half-centuries in his last two knocks, Peter Borren is starting to look ominous.

BdJ: Indeed as things stand Punjab’s dispute with the KNCB looks like it might turn out academic at least in so far as the Rotterdam club’s Topklasse survival is concerned, though Raza and Latif have shown in the past why Punjab are so keen to field them. The sidelining of Vivian Kingma due to a recurring ankle issue also takes some sting out of VRA’s new ball attack, and even in Myburgh’s absence Punjab have the firepower to take advantage. Nonetheless VRA’s mercurial middle order has enjoyed the Zomercomplex’s short boundaries before, and if Borren or van den Burg tee off it’s tough to imagine a score that would be out of reach.

RL: Like Punjab, ACC and Quick Haag have just one win from five games, and in normal circumstances both would be beginning to have serious worries about relegation. It’s ACC who will be at home on Saturday, and they will be fully aware that the four Zulfiqar brothers managed just 14 runs between them against VOC on Monday. On top of the failure of all except Sikander on Saturday, a side which is very dependent on that one family has genuine cause for concern. If ACC’s Richardt Frenz is just starting to run into form, Quick’s Jay Bista did so with a vengeance against Excelsior, and the Hanen will hope that he can do the same again this week. Quick are, perhaps, marginally less brittle at the moment than their hosts, and may start as favourites to prevail in what is a real four-pointer.

BdJ: Last weekend was certainly an emphatic demonstration of ACC’s weakness should all four (or five) Zulfiqars fail at once, with even Frenz’ firsts serious score of the season not enough to prevent comprehensive defeat. That said a look at the seasons’ stats does suggest that total Zulfiqar failure is something of an aberration, with Sikander especially looking in good nick, as he showed again during the Pro-Series this week. Jay Bista’s rapid acclimatisation to Topklasse cricket is Quick’s only real comfort in a season where they have first played down expectations and then played down to them, and even 127 rapid runs from the Mumbaiker were not enough to win any points last weekend.

RL’s tips: Excelsior, Sparta, Dosti, VRA, Quick.

BdJ’s tips: HCC, VOC, HBS, VRA, ACC.

Scorecard | Punjab vs HCC | 21.05.18

Punjab I Vs HCC I
1-Innings Match Played At Zomercomplex, Rotterdam, 21-May-2018, Topklasse
HCC I Win by 7 wkts
Round 5
Toss won by HCC I
Umpires DJ Kalloe – R Kaulingfreks
Scorers N Mohammed – F Overdijk
Home Side Punjab I
Points Awarded Punjab I 0, HCC I 2
Punjab I 1st Innings 158/10 All Out (Overs 38.1)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
A Khan c LJF Lagas b HC Overdijk 33 57 7 0
A Raza c BE Street b FH de Lange 36 15 4 3
AK Bamunusinghe b MBS Jonkman 13 24 3 0
A Masood c LJF Lagas b HC Overdijk 14 14 3 0
BI Vorster c LJF Lagas b HC Overdijk 14 22 2 0
MA Saleemi c LJF Lagas b AA Qasim 4 22 0 0
Y Usman c LJF Lagas b FH de Lange 27 35 4 0
M Latif c AJ Staal b R Ninan 0 1 0 0
M Bajwa+ c BE Street b HC Overdijk 2 32 0 0
H Din c LJF Lagas b R Ninan 1 8 0 0
S Tariq* not out 0 0 0 0
extras (b4 lb2 w7 nb1) 14
TOTAL 10 wickets for 158
1-43(A Raza) 2-79(AK Bamunusinghe) 3-100(A Khan) 4-116(A Masood) 5-121(BI Vorster)6-140(MA Saleemi) 7-145(M Latif) 8-153(Y Usman) 9-158(M Bajwa) 10-158(H Din)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
R Ninan 8.1 1 35 2 1
FH de Lange 8 1 30 2 3 1
MBS Jonkman 4 0 23 1 1
AA Qasim 10 2 24 1
HC Overdijk 8 0 40 4 2
HCC I 1st Innings 162/3 (Overs 28.1)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
BE Street c A Raza b A Masood 0 14 0 0
AA Qasim c Y Usman b S Tariq 1 11 0 0
AJ Staal not out 79 83 9 4
BHG Gorlee b BI Vorster 13 18 1 0
HC Overdijk not out 39 44 2 1
R Ninan dnb
MBS Jonkman* dnb
LJF Lagas+ dnb
FH de Lange dnb
TF Peters dnb
JZ-X van Kessel dnb
extras (b2 lb4 w18 nb1) 25
penalty runs 5
TOTAL 3 wickets for 162
1-1(AA Qasim) 2-10(BE Street) 3-39(BHG Gorlee)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
S Tariq 5 3 8 1
A Masood 7 0 30 1
A Khan 5 1 21 0 3
BI Vorster 5 0 27 1 1
MA Saleemi 3 0 14 0 3
Y Usman 1 0 17 0 10 1
AK Bamunusinghe 1 0 19 0
M Latif 1 0 9 0
A Raza .1 0 6 0

Gallery | Punjab vs HCC | 21.05.18

Punjab Rotterdam vs HCC at Zomercomplex – 21/05/18
scorecard | as it happened

Round 5 Preview

Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 20/05/18

BdJ: A quick turnaround after yesterday’s games and we’ve another full five game set of Topklasse matches to look forward to tomorrow. The heavily front-loaded schedule this season has been particularly unforgiving to slow-starters, and if the under-performing VRA hope to claw their way into contention they will need to take two points off HBS when they meet at the Amsterdamse Bos. A match that promised to be a highlight at the start of the season now sees the visitors start as strong favourites, with the Crows’ top order big guns Toby Visee, Wesley Barresi, Jaron Morgan and Sharn Gomes finally firing against Punjab yesterday.

The hosts will need early wickets if they are to contain them, though in Vivian Kingma and Quirijn Gunning they have the bowlers to deliver and it’s worth noting that HBS have yet to pass 160 away from home. But if HBS have been inconsistent, VRA have found altogether the wrong sort of consistency, with each of their top six having been dismissed for single figures at least as often as not thus far.

RL: It’s less obvious than the failures at the top of the batting order, but Gunning and Kingma have only taken nine wickets between them so far, and have not been as devastating as they might be expected to be. The turf of the Bos is not, of course, the artificial surface at Craeyenhout, and a repeat of Saturday’s 300-plus total by HBS would come as a surprise, but if the Crows’ top order has until now flattered to deceive, VRA’s has simply been miserably disappointing. The return to form of the HBS top four, however, proves that things can change very quickly, and Peter Borren’s 60 on Saturday illustrates the dormant power of the home side’s batting. Home advantage may in the end prove decisive here.

BdJ: Likewise hoping to turn around a poor start to the season will be Quick Haag at Nieuw Hanenburg tomorrow but with their opponents Excelsior ‘20 embarking on yet another winning streak it’s fair to say they will be underdogs even in their own back yard. So far in the season Quick have amassed just 460 runs for the loss of 38 wickets, and though Jay Bista’s 90 against HCC yesterday looked like a promise of a lot more runs to come, the rest of the batting card’s form inspires little confidence.

Though the defending champion’s four-wicket win over VOC chasing just 100 was far from emphatic, the fact that the lower middle order got them over the line after Fred Klaassen had removed both Ingram and Hilditch and reduced them to 5-37 will doubtless redouble the self-belief of the as-yet undefeated defending champions.

RL: Winning ugly can be the key to long-term championship success, and if Excelsior have been less than wholly convincing so far, the fact remains that they go on winning. The Schiedammers’ bowling has been the decisive factor, and with the five-man seam attack of Hilditch, Van Troost, Heggelman, Bhatti and Gijs Kroesen backed up by the spin of Ingram, they should be sharp enough to dismiss Quick’s brittle batting regardless of who bats first. Quick put up more of a fight against HCC than they managed against VOC a week ago, but it would be a major shock if Excelsior failed to return to Thurlede with the points.

BdJ: Likewise undefeated thus far are Dosti-United, in no small part thanks to the stellar form of Taruwar Kohli, now on three centuries from four innings, who seems to have rather got the hang of Dutch conditions in his second Topklasse season. With support from a rotating cast of partners including Rahil Ahmed, Vinoo Tewarie or the veteran Hafeez, Dosti have been able to put opponents under scoreboard pressure and have had the discipline to capitalise.

It remains to be seen of course how well the Dosti line-up will cope should Kohli fall early, and with Sparta 1888’s Mudassar Bukhari relishing his top-flight return they have the firepower up front to put their hosts on the back foot, and they showed against HBS and VRA that they have the ability to knock over more highly-rated top orders than that of Dosti.

RL: It’s the all-round team effort of Dosti United under Vinoo Tewarie’s leadership which has impressed so far, almost as much as the disciplined technique and awesome consistency of Taruwar Kohli. Nor should we forget the menace of Anees Davids, who adds a real cutting edge to the attack and considerable power to the middle order. ACC were profoundly disappointing on Saturday, but Dosti maintained the pressure extremely well, and while Sparta have potential match-winners in Bukhari and Michael Pollard, and a supporting cast of solid performers, they probably lack the quality in depth to mount a really sustained challenge.

BdJ: Meanwhile Dosti’s Amsterdam rivals ACC will head down to Hazelaarweg to take on VOC Rotterdam. Though neither side have had the start to the season they might have hoped for, the Rotterdammers will back themselves to bounce back after their disappointment at Thurlede, especially with Max O’Dowd slated to return from injury and skipper Pieter Seelaar back at the helm. O’Dowd and Seelaar’s return not only adds some depth to a batting order full of talent but low on form, but also adds extra options with the ball, meaning it’s hard to see who ACC might look to target.

With ACC overseas players Richardt Frenz and Devon Botha yet to make much of an impact this season the Amsterdammers have been even more reliant than usual on the Zulfiqar clan, and when some or all of the brothers fail heavy defeats usually follow.

RL: If ACC’s attack failed to impress on Saturday the batting was much worse, and with three of the four Zulfiqar brothers going cheaply it was left to Sikander to try, rather forlornly, to marshal the inexperienced tail. VOC came back hard at Excelsior after their own batting collapse, and with Fred Klaassen and Pierce Fletcher leading a menacing attack it will take a much more concentrated effort from the Amsterdammers’ top order if they are to take anything from the weekend. VOC need a win to stay in touch with the leaders, and it’s hard to see who is likely to deny them.

BdJ: The round’s final match will see HCC travel to the Zomercomplex to take on Punjab Rotterdam, though as with all of Punjab’s games so far this season the validity of the match is contingent on the outcome of the Rotterdam club’s ongoing dispute with the KNCB regarding the status of Ali Raza and Mamoon Latif, who will likely play again come Monday. The pair were not enough to help Punjab bag two provisional points yesterday however, when a rampant HBS top-order ran up the season’s first 300+ score against them, and Navjit Singh ensured they would fall well short. Stephan Myburgh’s fluctuating form is a particular worry, though he and Raza showed the danger the Punjab opening pair can pose last week against ACC should they get going, but given that that onslaught has delivered their only points thus far one feels early wickets could put them out of the game early.

HCC meanwhile celebrated their 140-year jubilee with a 3-wicket win over Quick and head into the game with momentum on their side,  and an enviable new ball attck. Bryce Street has shown his value with both bat and ball, and though Jonathan Vandiar remains irreplaceable, HCC will be very pleased with his stand-in thus far. Much continues to depend on HCC’s own young batsmen stepping up this season, though with Tonny Staal at least rising to the occasion the Haagse may yet be revising their ambitions upwards from the mid-table finish they were targetting at the start of the summer.

RL: Even with their enhanced line-up Punjab have not shown much sign so far of repeating last season’s successes, and it’s clear that they are missing the contribution of Shoaib Minhaas, Khurram Shazad and Yasir Ali. Three defeats out of four on the field may be overshadowed by the eligibility dispute, but it would in itself be sufficient to suggest that the Rotterdammers might be early candidates for relegation. That said, HCC too have struggled to find their best form. They, though, have won two on the trot, and will be very keen to make it three and reinforce their mid-table position.

BdJ’s Round 5 tips: HBS, Excelsior, Dosti, VOC, HCC

RL’s Round 5 tips: VRA, Excelsior, Dosti, VOC, HCC

Scorecard | HBS vs Punjab | 19.05.18

HBS I Vs Punjab I
1-Innings Match Played At Craeyenhout, Den Haag, 19-May-2018, Topklasse
HBS I Win by 62 runs
Round 4
Umpires HKG Jansen – P Muthucumaru
Scorers MAP Wiegers – N Mohammed
Home Side HBS I
Points Awarded HBS I 2, Punjab I 0
HBS I 1st Innings 304/4 Closed (Overs 50)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
W Barresi c M Latif b AK Bamunusinghe 45 83 5 0
TP Visée*+ c Y Usman b M Latif 89 57 12 4
SP Gomes c M Latif b BI Vorster 72 87 4 2
J Morgan c&b BI Vorster 69 66 0 0
A Ahmed not out 13 7 1 1
FJ Vink not out 0 0 0 0
Navjit Singh dnb
WT Coster dnb
J de Mey dnb
F Khan dnb
BA Westdijk dnb
extras (b5 lb1 w7 nb3) 16
TOTAL 4 wickets for 304
1-131(TP Visée) 2-168(W Barresi) 3-277(J Morgan) 4-294(SP Gomes)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
MA Saleemi 7 2 24 0
A Khan 4 0 31 0 1
A Masood 10 1 41 0 2
S Tariq 9 0 54 0
BI Vorster 9 0 73 2 1
M Latif 2 0 26 1 1 2
AK Bamunusinghe 9 0 49 1 3
Punjab I 1st Innings 242/10 Closed (Overs 47.3)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
SJ Myburgh c J Morgan b Navjit Singh 37 50 4 0
A Raza c TP Visée b BA Westdijk 31 20 5 1
AK Bamunusinghe b WT Coster 20 24 4 0
A Khan c W Barresi b Navjit Singh 4 14 0 0
A Masood b F Khan 5 19 0 0
BI Vorster b Navjit Singh 72 88 6 1
M Latif c TP Visée b A Ahmed 5 20 0 0
Y Usman lbw b Navjit Singh 36 35 2 2
MA Saleemi c W Barresi b Navjit Singh 1 2 0 0
M Bajwa+ not out 6 9 0 0
S Tariq* c J Morgan b BA Westdijk 0 4 0 0
extras (b0 lb3 w22 nb0) 25
TOTAL 10 wickets for 242
1-53(A Raza) 2-76(AK Bamunusinghe) 3-83(A Khan) 4-102(A Masood) 5-120(SJ Myburgh) 6-147(M Latif) 7-218(Y Usman) 8-223(MA Saleemi) 9-236(BI Vorster) 10-242(S Tariq)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
BA Westdijk 8.3 0 38 2 4
WT Coster 10 0 58 1
Navjit Singh 10 0 39 5 7
F Khan 9 0 43 1 10
J de Mey 5 0 10 0
A Ahmed 3 0 35 1 1
W Barresi 2 0 16 0