HCC march to their not-quite title

Rod Lyall 24/08/20

It was HCC’s day on Sunday, as they prevailed over the weather, the Punjab attack, and ultimately their opponents’ fearsome batting line-up to clinch the bragging rights, if not the club’s 46th national championship, with a 63-run victory over their nearest challengers at the Zomercomplex.

After several hours’ frustrating wait the most decisive match of this abbreviated season was reduced to a 35-over affair and, having been put in to bat, HCC faced the task of setting a target that might be beyond the reach of Stef Myburgh and Co.

Skipper Tonny Staal gave them a promising start with a run-a-ball 24 before falling to Mubashar Hussain, but it was Musa Nadeem Ahmad who created the platform for a sizeable total with a solid 62, sharing a stand of 67 in nine overs with a much more aggressive Hidde Overdijk.

Once Ahmad had gone Overdijk took over, and his 49-ball 83 not out, supported by 35 from 18 deliveries from Yash Patel as the pair added another 84 before Patel was run out off the final ball of the innings, enabled HCC to reach a very imposing 244 for six.

Overdijk’s knock included four fours and seven sixes, while Mubashar Hussain’s figures of three for 28 were outstanding in the midst of so much mayhem.

Faced with making seven an over against a testing HCC attack, Punjab were given a good start in their turn by Myburgh and Rehmat Zulfiqar, but the loss of three crucial wickets in the space of seven deliveries, the big guns of Myburgh, Rehmat and Teja Nidamanuru falling to Hidde Overdijk and his brother Jan Wieger, turned the game the Lions’ way.

The asking rate climbed as wickets continued to fall, Olivier Klaus chiming in with three for 16 in his seven overs, and at 90 for seven with only 13 overs left the Punjab challenge was over.

Then Jan Wieger Overdijk returned to claim two more, finishing with four for 37, but Sikander Zulfiqar was still at the crease, and together with Suleiman Tariq he added 79 for the last wicket in a defiant rearguard action.

Two successive sixes off Musa Ahmad took him to 99, but then he missed the next one and was bowled, having faced 79 deliveries and hit five fours and seven sixes, and Punjab were all out for 181.

Voorburg, the only other side to have beaten Punjab in the Topklasse this season, made the most of the opportunity to move level with them with an untroubled seven-wicket victory over wooden-spooners Dosti-United at Westvliet.

Dosti, after electing to bat, were dismissed for 127, only Sukumar Raji with 37 playing a subsgtntial innings, Viv Kingma the most successful of Voorburg’s bowlers with three for 23.

And then the home side needed just 24 of the 43 overs at their disposal to knock off the runs, skipper Ba de Leede again leading the way with an unbeaten 46 and Aryan Dutt contributing 35.

At the Bermweg Sparta 1888 had one of their better days, beating VRA Amsterdam by 29 runs to move into fifth place on the table.

The basis of their victory was a second-wicket partnership of 117 between Craig Ambrose (53) and Ali Raza (73), compiled after Lenert van Wyk had been dismissed by the first ball he received.

Two mini-collapses, one mid-innings and one towards the end, prevented the Capelle side from fully capitalising on this platform, but their 227 for nine was enough to put VRA under pressure as they replied.

Then Mudassar Bukhari struck two early blows, and the Amsterdammers never really recovered, although Peter Borren top-scored with 38, to add to the three for 40 he had taken in the Sparta innings, and Adeel Raja made 30 not out as he marshalled the tail and enabled his side to reach 198.

Usman Saleem did most of the damage for Sparta, working his way through the middle order and finishing with four for 47, while Bukhari had three for 24.

In another mid-table clash Julian de Mey was again in good form with the bat for HBS Craeyenhout, his 71 not out taking his side to a four-wicket home victory over ACC.

HBS were chasing the Amsterdammers’ 171 all out, in which Shreyas Potdar (47) and Aryan Kumar (36) put on 80 for the fourth wicket before Wessel Coster (four for 24) and Stephan Vink (three for 26) engineered a slump in which seven wickets fell for just 34 runs.

The Crows were in trouble themselves at 51 for four and 74 for five, but De Mey stood firm, supported by useful innings from Benno Boddendijk and Ferdi Vink, the latter remaining until the target was achieved with three overs to spare.

At Hazelaarweg, VOC Rotterdam secured their second win of the season, beating Excelsior ‘20 by 22 runs, mainly thanks to a fourth-wicket stand of 106 between Arnav Jain (62), his maiden Topklasse half-century, and Ahsan Malik (53).

This enabled the home side to reach 160 all out despite Rens van Troost taking six for 42, and although Excelsior started steadily in reply they were unable to generate the momentum they needed or any substantial partnership as VOC chipped way at their line-up.

Opener Luuk Kroesen made a patient 30 and Lorenzo Ingram, batting at seven, equalled that score without being dismissed, but he received insufficient support and was left stranded as his side was dismissed for 138.

Jelte Schoonheim, playing his 500th senior game for the club, was the main wicket-taker with three for 23, while there were two apiece for the old stagers Ahsan Malik and Bobby Hanif.

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