Rod Lyall 14/05/18
The top-of-the-table clash between Dosti United and Excelsior ’20 fell victim to the weather on Sunday, but not before Dosti’s Taruwar Kohli had posted his second century in succession at Sportpark Drieburg.
Kohli’s sixth-wicket stand of 128 with fellow-overseas player Anees Davids put the home side in a strong position when the light drizzle finally turned to serious rain and put an end to proceedings, with Dosti on 213 for eight.
Kohli made exactly 100, from 135 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes, before edging Gijs Kroesen through to keeper Roel Verhagen, while Davids, the more aggressive of the pair once he had settled, contributed a 48-ball 66 which included five fours and four sixes.
Kroesen and Rens van Troost claimed a brace of wickets apiece, but after a promising start the Excelsior attack was made to toil in the inclement conditions by two of the most accomplished batsmen in the competition.
The other match rescheduled to Sunday was unaffected by the weather, and reached a speedy conclusion: HCC’s Ali Ahmed Qasim was in supreme form with the ball, achieving career-best figures of eight for 36 as hosts HBS were shot out for 112, after reaching 30 without loss, at Craeyenhout. Wesley Barresi top-scored with 40.
HCC took just 21.3 overs to knock off the runs, with opener Bryce Street making an unbeaten 53 and sharing a second-wicket stand of 60 with Tonny Staal (33).
On Saturday, VOC Rotterdam began to fire in earnest as they hammered a disappointing Quick Haag side by 10 wickets at Hazelaarweg.
Pierce Fletcher quickly reduced the visitors to 8 for three after stand-in captain Thijs van Schelven elected to bat first, and they were eventually dismissed for 63, only Geert Maarten Mol showing any real resistance with a dogged 16.
Pieter Seelaar completed the rout, taking four for 8 in 9.5 overs of left-arm spin, and then Scott Edwards and Corey Rutgers were untroubled in reaching their target in just 8.2 overs, with Edwards striking five fours in his 33-ball 38 not out.
In the Amsterdamse Bos, VRA Amsterdam recorded their first win of the season by beating local rivals ACC in a hard-fought game.
The foundation of VRA’s total of 235 for eight was an unbeated 113 from opener Daan ter Braak, who batted throughout the innings and shared a second-wicket partnership of 76 with Ben Cooper (43). The middle order failed again, but a handy seventh-wicket stand of 64 between Ter Braak and Quirijn Gunning (20) enabled the home side to set a challenging total.
Anis Raza was the most successful of the ACC bowlers with four for 41, which Dewald Botha and Saqib Zulfiqar picked up two wickets each.
ACC’s wicketkeeper-batsman Richardt Frenz led the chase with 63, supported by Saqib Zulfiqar and Shirase Rasool, both of whom made 39, but VRA kept things tight, spinners Adeel Raja and Leon Turmaine in particular maintaining the pressure, and the asking rate steadily rose.
When Turmaine had Frenz caught by Vikram Singh as he attempted to force the pace the total was 181 for six and there were only four overs left with 51 still needed.
This was clearly an impossible ask, and the ACC innings closed on 210 for seven, Turmaine finishing with three for 44 and Raja two for 34.
After faltering against HBS on Thursday Sparta 1888 returned to winning ways at Het Zomercomplex, beating Punjab Rotterdam by 80 runs.
Sparta owed their total of 222 for eight to a fourth-wicket partnership of 118 between Tim de Kok (62) and Mudassar Bukhari (58), with Atse Buurman contributing a rapid 21 and Joost Martijn Snoep 29 not out in the closing stages.
Punjab’s new-ball bowlers, Suleiman Tariq and Assad Saleemi, took three for 35 and three for 29 respectively.
In dispute with the KNCB Board over the selection of foreign players – an issue which seems to have cost them the two points they earned by beating ACC on Thursday – Punjab could not mount a serious challenge to Sparta’s score, and were dismissed for 142.
Ahsan Masood made 32 and Barend Vorster 37, but with seamer Dost Muhammed taking four for 40 and Max Hoornweg, on his Topklasse debut, claiming four for 30, it was Sparta who came out on top, retaining their place in the top half of the table.
With VRA and HCC both winning for the first time at the weekend, the Topklasse competition looks remarkably open, although the double round of matches next week (thanks to the Pentecost holiday Monday) may resolve matters to some degree.
And of course, the final outcome of the simmering – but as yet unexplained – Punjab dispute seems likely to have a significant influence on the development of the competition.