Voorburg conquer Punjab, but HCC march on

Rod Lyall 10/08/20

Punjab Rotterdam’s unbeaten run came to an end at Westvliet on Sunday as batsmen prospered and bowlers sweltered on the warmest weekend of this exceptional summer.

It had been an open question how the Rotterdammers’ batting would respond if they were put under real pressure, and Bas de Leede and his Voorburg side put them to the test by running up an imposing 274 for four, De Leede himself making an unbeaten 106 and sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 120 with Tom de Grooth (65).

Once De Grooth had departed Philippe Boissevain piled on the agony for the tiring Punjab attack, smacking three sixes in his 17-ball 37 not out.

But Punjab were unfazed, and Stef Myburgh and Rehmat Zulfiqar gave their side a dream start, putting on 101 in 17 overs before the former was run out for 54.

Rehmat continued in tandem with brother Asad, and the total had advanced to 172 before Boissevain secured the breakthrough, Asad caught by Viv Kingma for 22.

Now on 81, Rehmat pressed on to his hundred, but as soon as he had reached that milestone he, too, fell to Boissevain, and his departure triggered a mid-order collapse which saw Punjab go from 196 for two to 200 for five and then to 222 for six.

It was now left to Teja Nidamanuru to manage the tail, but with wickets falling at the end and the asking rate steadily climbing, he was unable to raise the tempo sufficiently, Kingma bowling with admirable control at the death and Ali Ahmed Qasim chipping in with two wickets in an over.

Punjab closed on 257 for nine, 18 runs short of their target, with Nidamanuru on a run-a-ball 28, while Boissevain finished with three for 57.

Punjab’s narrow defeat meant that HCC moved clear at the top by virtue of their 153-run victory over Sparta 1888 at the Bermweg.

Their total of 237 was a real team effort, Felix Vecchi top-scoring with a maiden Topklasse 50, opener Musa Nadeem Ahmed contributing 34 at the outset, and Olivier Klaus smacking 34 once Vecchi had gone, helping his side well clear of the 200 mark.

Manminder Singh was again the most successful of the Sparta bowlers with three for 38, and there were two wickets apiece for Max Hoornweg, Lenert van Wyk and Joost Martijn Snoep.

HCC’s attack has been as vital for their victories this season as Punjab’s batting for theirs, and Hidde Overdijk immediately seized control, taking four quick wickets, including that of Van Wyk, to leave Sparta struggling.

Then Klaus took over, and when he removed Mudassar Bukhari for 23 seven wickets were down for 73 and there was no way back for the home side.

Clayton Floyd cleaned up the tail and Sparta were all out for 84, Overdijk finishing with four for 24, Klaus three for 9, and Floyd three for 21.

Another beneficiary of Voorburg’s victory was VRA Amsterdam, who triumphed by 30 runs over a spirited ACC in the Amsterdam derby at Het Loopveld West.

VRA posted 259, stand-in captain Vikram Singh again leading the way with 48 and sharing useful partnerships with Shirase Rasool (38) and Marcus Andrew (52).

They, too, suffered a mid-order collapse, but they were rescued by an enterprising 41 from Quirijn Gunning and an unbeaten 40 by Mitch Lees, while Chris Knoll was the pick of the ACC bowlers with three for 24.

ACC made a positive reply, and at 100 for two they seemed to be well placed to take the points.

But another three-wicket haul for Luke Hartsink pegged them back, and it took a sixth-wicket stand of 70 between Ram Ramesh Babu (47) and Shreyas Potdar (41) to bring the home side back into contention.

VRA’s trump card turned out to be Ben Cooper, who removed first Babu and then Potdar, and the innings closed on 229; Hartsink had three for 32 and Cooper three for 31.

After a shaky start to their season Excelsior ‘20’s youngsters continued their run into form with a comfortable six-wicket victory over HBS Craeyenhout at Thurlede.

The Schiedammers seized control of the match from the moment Niels Etman had Tobias Visée caught by Umar Baker for an 8-ball 19 which included four fours, and although Adil Ahmed top-scored with 26 it took some late resistance from Wessel Coster and Steven Vink to get them through to 140.

Rens van Troost and Baker took three for 18 and three for 27 respectively.

A second-wicket stand of 96 between 18-year-old opener Stan van Troost and Etman set Excelsior well on the way to victory, and Van Troost batted throughout the reply, finishing on 65 not out – another maiden Topklasse half-century – as the home side reached their target with more than 15 overs to spare.

The two remaining winless teams, VOC Rotterdam and Dosti-United Amsterdam, fought out a somewhat attritional battle at the Hazelaarweg.

VOC were in trouble early on, Waheed Masood claiming two quick wickets and Mahesh Hans also collecting a couple to reduce the home side to 39 for five.

Corey Rutgers led a fightback, however, first in company with Jelte Schoonheim and then with Ayaz Durrani; he made 63 and Durrani 37, and with Vinoo Tewarie taking four for 32, including both the main run-scorers, VOC finished with 180.

Dosti’s reply began promisingly, Tewarie and Masood putting on 69 before Bobby Hanif removed the latter for 35, but with the departure of Tewarie for 37 with the total on 82, a flurry of wickets suggested that another of the Amsterdammers’ dramatic collapses might ensue.

At 103 for six they seemed to be down and out, but Sukumar Raji stiffened the resistance, initially in company with Arief Hoseinbaks, and when the total reached 160 for seven the balance appeared to have swung Dosti’s way.

The last three wickets, however, fell without further addition to the score, Raji going for 33 and Hanif finishing with four for 46, and VOC took their first points with a 20-run victory.

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