Rod Lyall 23/05/21
Only two Topklasse matches survived the band of rain which swept across the country on Friday night and Saturday morning, but they offered plenty of excitement, the encounter between HBS Craeyenhout and HCC going down to the final ball and ending in a tie.
It had been a see-saw affair throughout the closing stages, with returning rain threatening to take the players from the field and the Duckworth Lewis Stern balance shifting almost literally from delivery to delivery, certainly from over to over.
Put in to bat in a game reduced to 31 overs a side, HBS had made a solid 183 for five, led off by a 19-ball 29 from Tobias Visée and given substance by a third-wicket stand of 87 between Tayo Walbrugh (59) and Navjit Singh (44).
Ollie Klaus was the pick of the HCC attack, his six overs yielding just 27 runs and the wicket of opener Reece Mason, who made 25.
The HCC reply could scarcely have got off to a worse start, skipper Tonny Staal run out without facing a ball, but then Musa Nadeem Ahmad and Boris Gorlee put on 68 for the second wicket, and after Gorlee had been trapped in front by Ryan Klein for 42 Ahmad and Damian Crowley added another 68 for the third.
HCC’s scoring rate remained below the DLS par score for much of this period, but a couple of costly overs from the least experienced of the HBS bowlers finally put the Lions ahead in the 23rd over and kept them there, despite the loss of Crowley, bowled by Ferdi Vink when he had made 34 and then of Musa Ahmad, smartly caught by Visée off Stephan Vink for 68.
Some spirited hitting by Hidde Overdijk kept HCC’s noses in front as the umpires kept the players out in the middle despite the rain, but even so seven runs were still needed as Ryan Klein began the final over.
Bowling off a shortened run in the slippery conditions, Klein kept the scoring to a leg-bye and a single from the first three deliveries, and then had Clayton Floyd caught by Julian van der Raad on the long on boundary as he attempted what would have been the winning hit.
Overdijk was now back on strike, and after another dot ball he was able to conjure a boundary off the last to level the scores.
Only the most passionately partisan observer would deny that a tie was a fair result in a game between two skilled and determined sides, and much more satisfying than a premature conclusion in which the weather played a part in settling the winner.
There was plenty of determination on display, too, at Westvliet, where Voorburg moved level with VOC Rotterdam at the top of the table with a win which was a good deal more hard-fought than might have been suggested by Sparta 1888’s results so far.
Sparta’s total of 160 was dominated by a third-wicket partnership of 76 between Garnett Tarr, who posted a maiden Topklasse half-century with 52, and Mudassar Bukhari (59 from 45 deliveries, with five fours and two sixes).
Once Bukhari had gone, however, another batting collapse ensued, the last six wickets – three of them run-outs – falling for the addition of just 18 runs.
The Voorburg attack lacked some of its accustomed punch through the absence of Viv Kingma, but Logan van Beek, Ali Ahmed Qasim and Stef Mulder collected five wickets between them.
Voorburg appeared to be cruising when Mohit Hingorani (51) and Tom de Grooth (59) put on 107 for the first wicket, but once Hingorani was brilliantly caught by Ali Raza off Manminder Singh Sparta fought their way back into the game.
Bas de Leede, Sybrandt Engelbrecht and Aryan Dutt came and went in quick succession, and when De Grooth, too, departed, the victim of an outstanding one-handed catch by Bukhari at midwicket, five wickets had fallen for 27 runs.
But few Topklasse sides enjoy the luxury of a batter of Van Beek’s quality coming in at No. 6, and his 24 not out ensured that Voorburg reached their target with more than three overs to spare.