Phase 2: Round 5, Preview 1

Bertus de Jong & Rod Lyall 18/08/20

Two rounds to go, and there’s a few things we already know for sure. Voorburg will top the table, while VOC, Salland and ACC have secured safety in the lower half. There the battle is now between Dosti, Sparta and Kampong for the one remaining chance to stay up, while at the top of the table HCC, HBS, Excelsior and Punjab are all tied in second on six points. VRA, two points behind the pack, almost certainly need to win both their last matches. The entire round for the top half has been shifted back by a week however, all three matches having been deferred (not without protest in some cases) due to the absence of international players owing to the Pakistan series.

BdJ: With two consecutive wins under their belt, Dosti Amsterdam will have a modicum of momentum on their side as they cross the river to take on ACC in their penultimate match. Dosti find themselves remarkably well placed to stage a last-ditch escape via the relegation play-off, with a points average advantage over Sparta and a NRR lead over both their remaining rivals. Nonetheless they’ll need to win at least one and probably both of their last games to get there. Despite ACC having little left to play for but pride, they are safe for good reason. The principle reason being Mees van Vliet’s remarkable season that’s seen him top the wicket-taking table, and a steady supply of runs from overseas Hobson and Smith. Dosti arguably look the more balanced side however, with a solid roster of spin options and Amitoze Singh finding some form. They will likely need more runs from the rest of the order in the next two weeks if they’re to keep their hopes of another Topklasse season alive however.

RL: Whatever the chemical reaction that has turned Dosti from serial losers to winners of two matches in a row (all right, it’s not much, but everybody has to start somewhere), there should be teams of scientists trying to identify the elements of the process with a view to patenting them. Two more victories would give Mahesh Hans’s side a real chance of staying up, but the close run ACC gave VOC last week should caution them about thinking that their visit to Het Loopveld will be straightforward. On the other hand, after a brilliant start from Smith and Knoll the rest of the ACC batting contributed fewer than a hundred runs against VOC, and although Fergus Wegener has started to look solid in the middle order they may find the going tough against Waheed Masood and Co. Could be close, but Dosti have the wind in their sails.

BdJ: Likewise Kampong have little room for error if they are to secure a second season in the top flight. Taking on Salland this week, it’s not certain what sort of strength side they’ll be welcoming to Utrecht given that Salland have no need of points from here. Kampong will certainly be without Tom Cooper however, who is set to depart after the Pakistan series in any event. Cooper’s 37 last week was Kampong’s top score by a distance, while he and Cole Briggs were the only ones to make significant scores against Salland in their first match. While they have reason to feel somewhat aggrieved at how the format this season has treated them, their batting since the start of the second phase has not helped them either. On paper then another defeat looks likely if they can’t turn their batting around, but with only one team really needing the win there’s every chance this is the game they do it.

RL: Kampong’s real problem is that, a couple of supreme efforts against top sides notwithstanding, they have largely been unable to get the better of the main rivals in the relegation stakes. They have a useful attack, Alex Roy being to them what Van Vliet has been to ACC, but their batting has seldom produced when it really matters. Who Salland will bring to Maarschalkerweerd is, however, the Great Unknown, and should the answer turn out to be the B team then Kampong’s chances of taking the points they so sorely need will be great improved. The best they can hope for now is that play-off place against the Hoofdklasse champions, but even that is preferable to automatic relegation.

BdJ: The day’s final game sees Sparta 1888 take on VOC, and fair to say Sparta will be delighted with the timing. Unlike the other teams who have seen players called up for national duty, VOC have agreed to play on regardless. This is perhaps not unrelated to the fact that as of last week they are safe from relegation and thus for the Bloodhounds the match is a dead rubber. For Sparta the format has thus gifted them a chance to play what for them is a crucial match against arguably the strongest team in the bottom half while the latter is without their two top-scorers and leading wicket-taker. Now on a five-match losing streak, it may still be beyond Sparta to take advantage of their fortune, but with Ahmadi, Malik and Bukhari beginning to find some rhythm with the ball they have the attack to run through a weakened VOC.

RL: Much may depend here on how well Mudassar Bukhari comes back from the leg injury he sustained at Salland last week. That said, even his spinners were effective enough to capture three wickets, and the consequences for his batting are more likely to be an issue – although who would want to bowl to a Bukhari reduced to hitting fours and sixes? In the perennial, never-to-be-resolved debate about playing competition matches when the national team is otherwise engaged, too little weight tends to be given to the opportunity it offers for fringe first-team players to gain experience and state their case, and with VOC now safe and presumably beginning to think about next season, those who often have a minor role in the Topklasse side or seldom get picked at all will get their chance against Sparta to show what they can do. Even without Edwards, O’Dowd and Jain VOC have enough in their locker to prevail over an ailing Sparta, although their absence does indeed level the odds significantly.

BdJ’s picks: Dosti, Kampong, Sparta.
RL’s picks: ACC, Kampong, VOC.

Scorecard | Salland vs Sparta | 13.08.22

Salland I Vs Sparta I
1-Innings Match Played At Het Schootsveld, Deventer, 14-Aug-2022, Topklasse
Salland I Win by 3 wkts
Round R8
Toss won by Sparta I
Umpires ML Hancock – P Muthucumaru
Home Side Salland I
Points Awarded Sparta I 0, Salland I 2
Sparta I 1st Innings 187/10 All Out (Overs 49.2)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
CP Ambrose c VS Lubbers b A Sherzad 31 57 4 0
R Noor c G van Molen b A Gopinath 43 95 3 2
SB Gohil c PP Ottachchige b SV Elam Bharathi 32 47 3 0
M Bukhari c S Naqash b V Ganesan 23 31 2 0
A Raza+ st PP Ottachchige b V Ganesan 4 9 0 0
Manminder Singh c TA Khan b A Gopinath 14 22 1 0
K Ahmadi c TA Khan b A Gopinath 17 11 0 1
PB Balwantsingh c GA Nasir b SV Elam Bharathi 6 12 0 0
AAJ Malik st PP Ottachchige b A Gopinath 3 5 0 0
U Saleem c H Khan b VS Lubbers 1 5 0 0
JM Snoep* not out   3 0 0 0
extras   (b0 lb1 w9 nb0) 10      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 187      
1-71(CP Ambrose) 2-82(R Noor) 3-135(M Bukhari) 4-140(SB Gohil) 5-144(A Raza) 6-169(K Ahmadi) 7-176(Manminder Singh) 8-181(PB Balwantsingh) 9-183(AAJ Malik) 10-187(U Saleem)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
VS Lubbers 6.2 2 12 1 2
H Khan 5 0 18 0 3
GA Nasir 4 1 8 0 1
SV Elam Bharathi 10 1 48 2
A Sherzad 4 0 19 1
A Gopinath 10 1 34 4 2
V Ganesan 10 0 47 2 1
Salland I 1st Innings 190/7 (Overs 39.2)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
V Ganesan   b K Ahmadi 4 7 0 0
VS Lubbers*   b K Ahmadi 17 17 3 0
TA Khan c unknown b M Bukhari 31 74 3 0
PP Ottachchige+ st A Raza b M Bukhari 20 36 0 0
S Naqash c K Ahmadi b AAJ Malik 59 62 8 1
SV Elam Bharathi c K Ahmadi b M Bukhari 2 5 0 0
G van Molen   b AAJ Malik 7 18 1 0
GA Nasir not out   7 9 1 0
H Khan not out   3 11 0 0
A Gopinath dnb          
A Sherzad dnb          
extras   (b9 lb7 w20 nb4) 40      
TOTAL   7 wickets for 190      
1-15(V Ganesan) 2-28(VS Lubbers) 3-89(PP Ottachchige) 4-129(TA Khan) 5-129(SV Elam Bharathi) 6-172(G van Molen) 7-179(S Naqash)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
K Ahmadi 9 0 54 2 9 3
AAJ Malik 10 1 22 2 1
JM Snoep 4 0 13 0 1
M Bukhari 10 0 40 3 2
U Saleem 2 0 17 0 7 1
Manminder Singh 3.2 0 19 0
SB Gohil 1 0 9 0

Scorecard | VRA vs HBS | 13.08.22

1-Innings Match Played At Amstelveen (VRA), 13-Aug-2022, Topklasse
VRA I Win by 24 runs
Round C8
Toss won by VRA I
Umpires MA Din – DJ Kalloe
Scorers KA Holdsworth – MAP Wiegers
Home Side VRA I
Points Awarded VRA I 2, HBS I 0
VRA I 1st Innings 224/10 All Out (Overs 49.5)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
SR Rasool c JI de Mey b G Kaplan 14 23 1 0
V Singh c RP Mason b R Klein 0 4 0 0
Z Khan   b FJ Vink 3 7 0 0
J Smal c R Klein b G Kaplan 4 12 1 0
PW Borren* run out   112 125 8 1
A Dutt c RP Mason b JI de Mey 31 49 3 0
J Balbirnie lbw b W Barresi 5 9 0 0
D Dasgupta c Navjit Singh b W Barresi 11 17 0 0
MB Lees+   b W Barresi 16 33 1 0
U Nashier run out   4 6 0 0
A Abid not out   6 15 0 0
extras   (b6 lb2 w9 nb1) 18      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 224      
1-8(V Singh) 2-26(Z Khan) 3-26(SR Rasool) 4-39(J Smal) 5-112(A Dutt) 6-121(J Balbirnie) 7-149(D Dasgupta) 8-194(MB Lees) 9-202(U Nashier) 10-224(PW Borren)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
R Klein 5 0 18 1 3 1
FJ Vink 9.5 0 49 1 3
G Kaplan 10 1 35 2 1
JI de Mey 10 0 47 1
SP Vink 5 0 31 0
W Barresi 10 1 36 3 2
HBS I 1st Innings 200/10 All Out (Overs 50)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
T Walbrugh c V Singh b U Nashier 102 136 5 0
RP Mason c J Balbirnie b A Dutt 11 34 0 0
W Barresi lbw b A Dutt 9 12 2 0
G Kaplan c PW Borren b V Singh 11 13 0 0
Navjit Singh lbw b V Singh 0 7 0 0
R Klein c MB Lees b V Singh 0 2 0 0
A Ahmed lbw b V Singh 0 5 0 0
JI de Mey   b U Nashier 59 85 5 0
FJ Vink* c D Dasgupta b A Dutt 0 1 0 0
MM Scholte+   b A Dutt 1 2 0 0
SP Vink not out   1 3 0 0
extras   (b1 lb3 w2 nb0) 6      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 200      
1-36(RP Mason) 2-50(W Barresi) 3-65(G Kaplan) 4-67(Navjit Singh) 5-67(R Klein) 6-69(A Ahmed) 7-198(T Walbrugh) 8-198(JI de Mey) 9-198(FJ Vink) 10-200(MM Scholte)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Abid 5 0 32 0 2
A Dutt 10 5 12 4
V Singh 10 1 32 4
U Nashier 9 0 41 2
J Balbirnie 10 0 53 0
PW Borren 6 0 26 0

Scorecard | Excelsior vs Punjab | 13.08.22

Excelsior 20 I Vs Punjab I
1-Innings Match Played At Thurlede, Schiedam, 13-Aug-2022, Topklasse
Punjab I Win by 112 runs
Round C8
Toss won by Punjab I
Umpires AND van den Dries – WPM van Liemt
Scorers EM Heggelman – KTM Veldhuis
Home Side Excelsior 20 I
Points Awarded Punjab I 2, Excelsior 20 I 0
Punjab I 1st Innings 253/5 Closed (Overs 50)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
SJ Myburgh c RTF Verhagen b NT Etman 10 15 2 0
R Jappie lbw b TJ Heggelman 20 18 4 0
AA Zulfiqar+ c RTF Verhagen b NT Etman 4 18 0 0
JD Vandiar not out   104 122 9 1
AT Nidamanuru lbw b LT Ingram 37 62 4 0
SM Zulfiqar c BR Hampton b LT Ingram 8 24 0 0
SA Zulfiqar not out   48 43 4 1
RU Zulfiqar dnb          
Y Usman dnb          
S Salarazai dnb          
S Tariq* dnb          
extras   (b1 lb5 w14 nb2) 22      
TOTAL   5 wickets for 253      
1-35(R Jappie) 2-35(SJ Myburgh) 3-40(AA Zulfiqar) 4-124(AT Nidamanuru) 5-143(SM Zulfiqar)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
NT Etman 9 2 44 2 3 1
TJ Heggelman 10 1 49 1 1 1
RWA van Troost 7 0 34 0 7
BR Hampton 6 0 50 0 2
LT Ingram 10 2 33 2 1
UF Baker 8 1 37 0
Excelsior 20 I 1st Innings 141/10 All Out (Overs 38.2)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
TC Etman   b AT Nidamanuru 2 11 0 0
TJ Heggelman c R Jappie b AT Nidamanuru 8 21 0 0
RTF Verhagen*+   b SM Zulfiqar 30 83 0 1
LT Ingram   c&b AT Nidamanuru 4 15 0 0
SL van Troost c R Jappie b AT Nidamanuru 0 3 0 0
BR Hampton run out AA Zulfiqar   32 30 3 1
LA Kroesen lbw b SM Zulfiqar 7 26 0 0
SG Shankar not out   21 24 1 0
NT Etman run out SA Zulfiqar   8 10 1 0
RWA van Troost c AA Zulfiqar b SM Zulfiqar 3 3 0 0
UF Baker   b R Jappie 7 4 0 1
extras   (b1 lb10 w8 nb0) 19      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 141      
1-14(TC Etman) 2-23(TJ Heggelman) 3-31(LT Ingram) 4-31(SL van Troost) 5-89(BR Hampton) 6-96(RTF Verhagen) 7-104(LA Kroesen) 8-118(NT Etman) 9-131(RWA van Troost) 10-141(UF Baker)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
S Salarazai 6 3 8 0 3
AT Nidamanuru 9 0 22 4
R Jappie 7.2 0 26 1 1
SM Zulfiqar 10 0 54 3 1
SA Zulfiqar 6 1 20 0 3

Scorecard | VCC vs HCC | 13.08.22

Voorburg I Vs HCC I
1-Innings Match Played At Westvliet, Voorburg, 13-Aug-2022, Topklasse
HCC I Win by 69 runs
Round C8
Toss won by HCC I
Umpires N Bathi – ML Hancock
Scorers K Pattiselanno – CC Schinkel
Home Side Voorburg I
Points Awarded HCC I 2, Voorburg I 0
HCC I 1st Innings 224/6 Closed (Overs 50)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
AJ Staal   b VJ Kingma 78 133 4 2
FF Vecchi c M Hingorani b LV van Beek 0 6 0 0
ZA Worden   b S Ahmad 55 93 4 0
BHG Gorlee* c S de Leede b VJ Kingma 31 31 3 0
TJG Pringle c LV van Beek b BFW de Leede 20 21 1 0
YJ Patel c BFW de Leede b VJ Kingma 0 1 0 0
HC Overdijk not out   8 10 0 0
C Floyd not out   4 6 0 0
LJF Lagas+ dnb          
F Bennett dnb          
RR Bijloos dnb          
extras   (b4 lb1 w22 nb1) 28      
TOTAL   6 wickets for 224      
1-0(FF Vecchi) 2-148(ZA Worden) 3-171(AJ Staal) 4-203(BHG Gorlee) 5-204(YJ Patel) 6-208(TJG Pringle)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
VJ Kingma 10 1 30 3 3
LV van Beek 5 1 15 1 1
AJ Malan 4 0 35 0 9
S Ahmad 10 0 44 1 1
ST Mulder 6 0 26 0 1
PRP Boissevain 8 1 37 0 4
BFW de Leede 7 0 32 1 4
Voorburg I 1st Innings 155/10 All Out (Overs 37.3)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
AJ Malan   b HC Overdijk 12 14 3 0
MN Ahmad c LJF Lagas b F Bennett 18 10 4 0
M Hingorani+ c FF Vecchi b F Bennett 12 23 2 0
SA Engelbrecht   b HC Overdijk 0 2 0 0
BFW de Leede*   b F Bennett 57 90 3 0
S Ahmad run out LJF Lagas   35 48 2 0
PRP Boissevain c BHG Gorlee b C Floyd 0 8 0 0
LV van Beek c C Floyd b F Bennett 9 11 1 0
S de Leede c LJF Lagas b F Bennett 2 12 0 0
VJ Kingma c LJF Lagas b F Bennett 0 1 0 0
ST Mulder not out   1 6 0 0
extras   (b0 lb0 w9 nb0) 9      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 155      
1-29(MN Ahmad) 2-33(AJ Malan) 3-34(SA Engelbrecht) 4-51(M Hingorani) 5-123(S Ahmad) 6-124(PRP Boissevain) 7-139(LV van Beek) 8-148(S de Leede) 9-148(VJ Kingma) 10-155(BFW de Leede)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
HC Overdijk 7 0 32 2 3
RR Bijloos 3 0 28 0
F Bennett 9.3 0 27 6 3
C Floyd 8 0 29 1
TJG Pringle 8 0 29 0 2
YJ Patel 2 0 10 0 1

Scorecard | Dosti vs Kampong | 13.08.22

Dosti I Vs Kampong I
1-Innings Match Played At Sportpark Drieburg, 13-Aug-2022, Topklasse
Dosti I Win by 6 wkts
Round R8
Toss won by Kampong I
Umpires M Prabhudesai – N Uduwage
Home Side Dosti I
Points Awarded Kampong I 0, Dosti I 2
Kampong I 1st Innings 112/10 All Out (Overs 36.4)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
MR Alphonse+ lbw b K Diwan 7 31 0 0
T Sharma lbw b W Masood 1 11 0 0
CJ Briggs st RI Ahmed b K Diwan 4 24 0 0
TLW Cooper c A Singh b WA Raja 37 39 2 2
MU Malik*   b Asief Hoseinbaks 11 27 1 0
V Chaturvedi   b WA Raja 0 2 0 0
SD Bakker c WA Raja b W Masood 11 31 1 0
PJ Jacod   b W Masood 6 18 0 0
A Roy c M Hans b K Diwan 3 8 0 0
RTF van der Harten c RI Ahmed b Asief Hoseinbaks 5 17 1 0
KM Nana not out   4 12 0 0
extras   (b4 lb2 w17 nb0) 23      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 112      
1-5(T Sharma) 2-24(CJ Briggs) 3-27(MR Alphonse) 4-75(TLW Cooper) 5-76(V Chaturvedi) 6-78(MU Malik) 7-93(PJ Jacod) 8-99(A Roy) 9-101(SD Bakker) 10-112(RTF van der Harten)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Asief Hoseinbaks 9.4 3 24 2 1
W Masood 9 1 25 3 6
T Ahmad 4 0 20 0 3
K Diwan 8 2 27 3 2
WA Raja 6 2 10 2 1
Dosti I 1st Innings 113/4 (Overs 21.2)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
RI Ahmed+   c&b A Roy 18 20 2 1
WA Raja c TLW Cooper b T Sharma 38 58 5 2
T Ahmad c MR Alphonse b RTF van der Harten 8 18 1 0
VAB Tewarie c SD Bakker b RTF van der Harten 20 21 1 1
A Singh not out   18 12 3 0
K Diwan not out   6 1 0 1
A Hanoeman dnb          
M Hans* dnb          
Asief Hoseinbaks dnb          
W Masood dnb          
AV Atwarie dnb          
extras   (b0 lb1 w2 nb2) 5      
TOTAL   4 wickets for 113      
1-32(RI Ahmed) 2-62(T Ahmad) 3-72(WA Raja) 4-107(VAB Tewarie)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
KM Nana 3 0 21 0 1
A Roy 7 1 21 1
MU Malik 5 1 23 0 1
T Sharma 4 1 31 1 1
RTF van der Harten 2.2 0 16 2 1

Scorecard | ACC vs VOC | 13.08.22

1-Innings Match Played At Het Loopveld West, 13-Aug-2022, Topklasse
VOC I Win by 2 wkts
Round R8
Toss won by VOC I
Umpires PJ Jansen – P Muthucumaru
Home Side ACC I
Points Awarded ACC I 0, VOC I 2
ACC I 1st Innings 226/10 All Out (Overs 46)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
R Smith+ c B Hoes b ML Smit 57 46 5 3
CM Knoll   b ML Smit 69 46 7 4
TG Hobson c CL Rutgers b SA Edwards 9 25 1 0
S Potdar c CL Rutgers b SA Edwards 3 17 0 0
MA Raza* c CL Rutgers b ML Smit 1 5 0 0
F Wegener   c&b SB van Wingerden 35 51 3 0
CEM McInerney   b SA Edwards 2 7 0 0
RA Kumar   b SB van Wingerden 32 50 3 0
A Zaidi c TIM de Kok b JD Schoonheim 5 24 0 0
M van Vliet c A Jain b SB van Wingerden 2 4 0 0
JS Reddy not out   1 1 0 0
extras   (b1 lb0 w9 nb0) 10      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 226      
1-111(CM Knoll) 2-134(R Smith) 3-143(TG Hobson) 4-144(MA Raza) 5-144(S Potdar) 6-152(CEM McInerney) 7-190(F Wegener) 8-223(RA Kumar) 9-225(M van Vliet) 10-226(A Zaidi)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
B Niaz 4 0 30 0
BW Hanif 3 0 34 0 4
A Jain 9 0 39 0
ML Smit 10 3 53 3
SA Edwards 10 2 33 3 1
SB van Wingerden 7 0 27 3 1
JD Schoonheim 3 1 9 1 3
VOC I 1st Innings 227/8 (Overs 44)
Batter Fielder Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
ML Smit c R Smith b CM Knoll 40 54 4 0
A Jain c R Smith b M van Vliet 5 16 1 0
B Niaz run out TG Hobson   3 25 0 0
SB van Wingerden c CEM McInerney b CM Knoll 4 5 0 0
TIM de Kok* c R Smith b RA Kumar 44 45 3 1
SA Edwards st R Smith b MA Raza 23 21 1 1
CL Rutgers+ c F Wegener b MA Raza 32 50 1 1
JD Schoonheim not out   59 35 2 4
R Malik   b TG Hobson 2 5 0 0
B Hoes not out   3 9 0 0
BW Hanif dnb          
extras   (b2 lb3 w6 nb1) 12      
TOTAL   8 wickets for 227      
1-16(A Jain) 2-44(B Niaz) 3-48(SB van Wingerden) 4-61(ML Smit) 5-110(SA Edwards) 6-146(TIM de Kok) 7-194(CL Rutgers) 8-201(R Malik)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
M van Vliet 9 2 56 1 3
RA Kumar 6 0 18 1 2
TG Hobson 9 0 33 1
CM Knoll 8 0 43 2
JS Reddy 5 0 26 0
MA Raza 7 1 46 2 1 1

VRA, Dosti win again as HCC beat Voorburg

Rod Lyall 15/08/2022

A fighting century by Peter Borren, the tenth of his twenty-year career in the top flight, and a strong defensive effort by the VRA attack carried the Amsterdam side to a 24-run victory over HBS Craeyenhout in the Amsterdamse Bos on Saturday, their second win in successioin keeping alive their faint hopes of reaching the final four.

Borren received little support from the rest of the VRA batting, stands of 73 for the fifth wicket with Aryan Dutt (31) and of 45 for the eighth with Mitch Lees apart, but when HBS began chasing their target of 225 the bowlers responded magnificently.

Dutt was especially disciplined, bowling five maidens in his initial nine-over spell and conceding just ten runs for the wickets of Reece Mason and Wesley Barresi, and then Vikram Singh chimed in, tearing through the HBS middle order and taking four wickets as the visitors were reduced to 69 for six.

Tayo Walbrugh, however, was still there, and Julian de Mey now joined him in a stand of 129 which brought their side back into the game.

But Udit Nashier, Jack Balbirnie and Borren himself all succeeded in restricting the boundaries so effectively that the asking rate kept rising, and when the batters began to accelerate it was Nashier who bowled De Mey for 59, initiating the final collapse which, although Walbrugh reached his fifth century of the season just before the end, saw HBS dismissed for 200 of the last ball of their 50 overs.

HCC, meanwhile, took full advantage of the HBS defeat with a 69-run victory over Voorburg at Westvliet which enabled them to leapfrog into second place on the table, greatly improving their chances of securing a double crack at reaching the grand final on 10 September.

A second-wicket stand of 147 between Tonny Staal (78) and Zac Worden (55) was the basis of HCC’s total of 224 for six, Boris Gorlee chipping in with a run-a-ball 31 and Viv Kingma the most successful of the Voorburg bowlers with three for 30.

Then seamer Felix Bennett, in only his sixth Topklasse match, ran through the powerful Voorburg batting line-up, taking six for 27 as the home side collapsed to 155 all out.

Bas de Leede again fought a rearguard action, making a 90-ball 57 and sharing a 72-run stand for the fifth wicket with Shariz Ahmad (35), but this time was on the losing side as Voorburg dropped their first points in the championship pool.

Yet another century by Jonathan Vandiar, his third in four innings, saw Punjab Rotterdam to 253 for five against Excelsior ’20 at Thurlede, Teja Nidamanuru making 37 and Sikander Zulfiqar 48 not out, and after three times failing to defend larger totals the Punjab bowlers returned to their winning ways as they dismissed Excelsior for 141.

Nidamanuru did the initial damage with a nine-over spell in which he took four for 22, and then Saqib Zulfiqar claimed three for 54, ending a dogged innings of 30 by Roel Verhagen, while Vandiar and Asad Zulfiqar combined to run out Brett Hampton, whose 30-ball 32 had been Excelsior’s last hope of a successful chase.

In the relegation pool, Dosti Amsterdam improved their chances of avoiding the two automatic places leading to next season’s Hoofdklasse with a six-wicket defeat of Kampong Utrecht at Sportpark Drieburg.

Waheed Masood took three for 25, Kuldeep Diwan three for 27 and Asief Hoseinbaks and Waqas Raja two wickets apiece as Kampong were dismissed for 112, Tom Cooper top-scoring with 37.

Raja then led the reply with 38, and Dosti needed only 21.2 overs to knock off the runs.

In a hard-fought match at Het Loopveld ACC got off to a remarkable start against VOC Rotterdam, Robin Smith (57) and Chris Knoll (69) putting on 111 for the first wicket at eight and a half an over, but the Rotterdammers were brought back into the game by Matt Smit, who removed both openers and finished with three for 53 and by the unlikely person of Scott Edwards, converted from wicketkeeper to spinner, who ran through the middle order to the tune of three for 33.

Siebe van Wingerden finished things off with three for 27, and ACC were all out for 226.

VOC were in trouble at 69 for four, 40 of them from the bat of Smit, but they were rescued by the depth of their batting, Tim de Kok making 44, Edwards (batting at six) contributing a quick 23, Corey Rutgers adding 32, and then Jelte Schoonheim, who had engineered last week’s victory over Kampong with a fine spell with the ball, hitting a 35-ball 59 not out to see VOC home by two wickets with six overs to spare.

At Het Schootsveld on Sunday Sparta 1888’s relegation woes deepened despite a much-improved effort with the bat, as they lost to Salland Deventer by three wickets in a harfd-fought game.

They were given a decent start by Craig Ambrose (31) and Raza Noor (43), and then Samit Gohil (32) and Mudassar Bukhari (23) took them on to 135 for two.

But once Bukhari, hampered by a leg strain, was dismissed, soon followed by Gohil, the wickets again began to tumble, the last eight wickets falling for 52 as they were dismissed for 187, Akhil Gopinath taking four for 34.

Some wayward bowling from Sparta aided Salland’s chase, but after Khalid Ahmadi had removed both openers Bukhari, bowling spin off a couple of steps, grabbed three wickets, and the game was evenly balanced with Salland on 129 for five.

They were rescued by a brisk 59 from Sahir Naqash, and although Ahsan Malik, who conceded just 22 from his ten overs, returned to remove Naqash and Gijs van Molen, Salland reached their target with more than ten overs to spare.

Now bottom of the table on points average and with a worse net run rate than their rivals, Sparta will need a radical reversal of form if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop to the Hoofdklasse.

VRA vs HBS at Amstelveen | Round 14 | 13.08.22

Phase 2: Round 4 Preview

Rod Lyall & Bertus de Jong 12/08/22

Three rounds to go, and although Voorburg’s position at the top of the championship pool is now impregnable, all the other issues remain at least theoretically unresolved. Four points separate second-placed HBS from sixth-placed VRA, while in the relegation pool, likely as it is that the two automatic relegation places and one headed for a play-off against the Hoofdklasse champions will feature the three sides currently at the foot of the table, even that is not yet 100% certain. Some of those questions are very likely to be settled this weekend, when because of the impending Super League series against Pakistan five of the six matches have been moved to Saturday.

RL: HCC squeezed into the four by beating Excelsior ’20 last week, but whether they will stay there will depend initially on whether they can overcome Voorburg at Westvliet on Saturday. Tonny Staal’s aggressive century was the foundation of last Sunday’s success, but the Lions will have been pleased to see Zac Worden amongst the runs again, and their attack did all that could have been asked of them in the face of Lorenzo Ingram’s defiant onslaught. Voorburg, on the other hand, have gone on winning despite not quite firing on all cylinders, Andre Malan fitting seamlessly into the side after the departure of his brother Janneman, and will take a superlative performance from HCC to claim the two points they need to consolidate their claim to a place in the final play-offs. There will be plenty of talent, home-grown and imported, on display on both sides, and having made a very good fist of defending a low total at De Diepput a month ago the Lions perhaps have as good a chance of anyone of slowing Voorburg’s march towards the title.

BdJ: While Voorburg have cemented their status as favourites against all comers this season, it’s worth noting that they do lack a left-hand bat of Ingram’s quality in the middle order. Should the visitors manage to get rid of Musa Nadeem early, expect Clayton Floyd and Tim Pringle to have an easier time controlling the middle overs at Westvliet on Saturday. For VCC, already assured of the top spot, it might be tempting to treat the match as a warm-up for the Pakistan series that almost half the team will likely be involved in, nonetheless on current for it would be a brave prediction to back HCC to take points here.

RL: Having both lost last week, Excelsior ‘20 and Punjab Rotterdam will be in urgent need of a victory when they meet at Thurlede on Saturday. This is particularly true of the visitors, who have now failed to defend totals of 281, 312 and 316 since the start of the competition’s second phase. This suggests that while their batting looks a lot more substantial since the arrival of Jonathan Vandiar, who has made 372 runs in his last three visits to the crease, their bowling has fallen upon seriously hard times, claiming only 12 wickets in those three matches and conceding four centuries. Excelsior’s form has been more variable, and they were unfortunate to have seen their match against HBS abandoned a fortnight ago when they were in a fairly strong position. Two wins from their last three games would guarantee them a place in the finals, and they will be keen to improve their advantage over Punjab with a good win here. Home advantage and the presence of Brett Hampton work in their favour, but they will need to find a way round Vandiar’s menace.

BdJ: One has to question just how much of Punjab’s apparent struggles with the ball and fluency with the bat is entirely attributable to the form of their bats or bowlers, rather than the Zomercomplex’s flat mat, rapid outfield and diminutive dimensions. This will be their first outing away from home in the second phase, and fair to say if they rack up 300+ on Saturday they’ll have little reason to worry. Also worth noting they were missing both Myburgh and Salarazai last week. That said it’s never an advantage to play away at Thurlede, and despite racking up runs at home the Punjab line-up has looked less than the sum of its parts all season.

RL: VRA Amsterdam had one of their better days against Punjab last week, and they will need to replicate that this Saturday when they face HBS Craeyenhout in the Bos. Vikram Singh’s first big innings of the season was a massive plus, his partnership with John Smal the basis of their remarkable run chase, but the top order remains vulnerable, and the HBS attack is strong enough to take advantage of that. And then there’s Tayo Walbrugh, who is clearly capable of taking the game away from any opponents and almost spearheaded a win against Voorburg last Saturday. A key factor with both bat and ball, though, could be Wesley Barresi, no stranger to the Bos or to VRA, who is likely to relish the opportunity to ensure the points against his old team-mates. It would take a disastrous end to the second phase to deny HBS a place in the finals, while defeat here would almost certainly put paid to VRA’s already slim chances.

BdJ: Whatever VRA’s top-order worries, one suspects their chief concern come Saturday will be their lack of a genuine strike bowler and the Crows’ intimidating batting card. With conditions expected to favour the bat, their will be few in the VRA line up losing sleep over the HBS seam attack, whereas the home bowlers may well be lying awake at night. If the weather holds up and the pitch is as flat as expected then a run-fest may be looming, and if the biggest hitters are to take it one would expect an HBS win. The toss at the Bos could well prove crucial, but the Crows will start as favourites on paper.

RL: ACC’s victory over Salland opened up clear blue water between themselves and the three sides below them, and they will improve their position greatly if they are able to defeat VOC Rotterdam at Het Loopveld on Saturday. Last week’s game was a typical lower-table, low-scoring encounter, Thomas Hobson and Mees van Vliet having settled the issue as ACC defended a less-than-overwhelming 177, but VOC are likely to present greater problems with the bat. The Rotterdammers’ bowling, however, is less threatening, and it took an incisive spell from Jelte Schoonheim for them to overcome Kampong’s best start of the season. ACC’s mix of imported experience and home-grown talent has turned them into a better side this year, but it’s nevertheless likely that VOC will have too many guns, and will take the points back to Hazelaarweg.

BdJ: A win for ACC would in fact guarantee their survival in the top-flight, as despite the downgrading of points-average it remains the first tie-breaker. 10 points is thus sufficient for them to be sure of finishing ahead of Sparta, Kampong and Dosti in the final reckoning. For the same reason, VOC’s current tally of 10 points is not sufficient to guarantee safety. The Rotterdammers still need either one more win themselves or another defeat for Kampong to breathe easy. Certainly they wouldn’t want to end up in a position where their final match against the latter becomes a relegation-playoff-playoff. Even without Scott Edwards the Bloodhounds made light work of Kampong last week, and while a rather slapdash season has put them in the wrong half of the table, they seem to have woken up to the fact that at least one more Topklasse match warrants their undivided attention. It may not be this one however, with the Pakistan series looming and Pieter Seelaar again sidelined, VOC could be left sweating for another week.

RL: Having broken their duck against Sparta, Dosti Amsterdam will be keen to show that that was no flash in the pan when they take on Kampong Utrecht at Sportpark Drieburg, also on Saturday, and incidentally maintain their minimal hopes of escaping one of the two automatic relegation spots, a positively Houdini-esque operation. They could thank Amitoze Singh and Waheed Masood for that victory, but the whole side has been looking more competitive in recent weeks, and they will provide a real test for Kampong, a much better outfit than their current situation suggests but one which is worrying prone to middle-order collapses. They now need to win all of their remaining games if they are to have any chance of escaping the relegation zone, as Dosti do if they are to scramble out of the bottom two. The loser of this game, therefore, will sink even deeper into the doldrums, while the winner will go into the last two rounds with a lot to play for.

BdJ: I choose to believe in Dosti.

RL: Things go from bad to worse for Sparta 1888, who have failed to reach three figures in each of their last three attempts, and they will be under real relegation pressure as they undertake the tricky journey to Het Schootsveld on Sunday to take on Salland Deventer. Salland have done just about enough to ensure they stay up, while it would take a real reversal of form for Sparta to scramble into the top three of the relegation pool. Even the combined talents of Samit Gohil, Mudassar Bukhari and Ahsan Malik have been enough to make Sparta competitive since the competition resumed, while Salland’s German contingent have taken them to victories over Sparta and Kampong. On the assumption that they will again be present on Sunday, this looks like a probable home win.

BdJ: At this stage the best Sparta can realistically hope for is to earn a play-off against the Hoofdklasse champions to stay up, but their thumping at Drieburg last week (and that at the hands of a team that last won a game against anyone else back when Corona was still just a mexican beer) may have served as something of a wake-up call. Whether Sparta are already resigned to relegation is something of an open question, and their chances will depend as much on how much belief they can muster after a long bus ride as the fickle availability of their opponents’ roster. Like VOC, Salland need only one win or a little luck to be safe from here. Form suggests they should find it on Sunday, but Sparta have more to play for.

RL’s picks: Voorburg, Excelsior, HBS, VOC, Kampong, Salland.

BdJ’s picks: Voorburg, Punjab, HBS, ACC, Dosti, Sparta.