Punjab edge clear as VOC lose to Voorburg

Rod Lyall 28/06/21

After more overnight rain on Friday it was perhaps not surprising that the bowlers were in command in Saturday’s Topklasse matches, or that only one side passed 150, the highest total of the day Sparta 1888’s 187 all out against Excelsior ‘20 at Thurlede.

Led by Garnett Tarr’s 71 and a brisk 45 from Mamoon Latif that effort, however, proved to be in vain, as the rain returned with Excelsior on a precarious 39 for three after 11.2 overs in reply, and no further play was possible.

This was the more regrettable because the game was fascinatingly poised, with Tristan Stubbs batting with Joost Kroesen and Mudassar Bukhari and Max Hoornweg in full cry for Sparta, and perhaps in the end both sides could reasonably have regarded the single point for a No result as preferable to defeat.

The rain brought a premature end at the Hazelaarweg as well, but in this case Voorburg were on the brink of victory over VOC Rotterdam and took the points on the DLS calculation.

Even without three pace bowlers, Viv Kingma (still unable to bowl), Logan van Beek and Ali Ahmed Qasim, Voorburg’s attack was disciplined and incisive enough to bowl VOC out for 136, Bas de Leede removing Scott Edwards and Max O’Dowd in the opening exchanges, well supported by an accurate ten-over spell from Karl Nieuwoudt.

De Leede returned to clean up the innings and finish with four for 24, but not before Jelte Schoonheim had hit a run-a-ball 55 to rescue his side from a complete debacle, sharing useful partnerships with Arnav Jain and Ramdas Upadhyaya.

In a splendid allround performance the Voorburg captain then produced his best innings of the season, making an unbeaten 57 and with Mohit Hingorani (39 not out) putting on 105 for the second wicket, so that when the weather intervened the Villagers were on 120 for one in 29.1 overs.

The DLS par score at this point was 57, so Voorburg’s winning margin was 63 runs.

Leaders Punjab Rotterdam took full advantage of VOC’s defeat, securing a five-wicket victory over HBS at Craeyenhout and opening up a five-point lead over their nearest rivals.

So severe were the effects of the overnight rain there that the match did not start until 15:30, reduced from the outset to 28 overs a side, and another shower soon cut another four overs, by which time HBS had already lost danger-man Tobias Visée.

Punjab’s attack might have been designed for such a situation, and Suleiman Tariq and his fellow-bowlers expertly contained the home side to 121 for seven, 41 of them from Tayo Walbrugh and a cameo 26 from Wesley Barresi, in his first innings for eighteen months.

Also returning, Saqib Zulfiqar benefited from the batters’ efforts to raise the tempo in the closing stages, removing both Walbrugh and Barresi and finishing with four for 25.

HBS fought hard in the field, but 121 never really seemed likely to be enough, and with all four Zulfiqars and Teja Nidamanuru all chipping in and even Ryan Klein coming in for some heavy punishment, the leaders reached their target with nine deliveries to spare.

The match between VRA Amsterdam and HCC in the Amsterdamse Bos had already been over for an hour and a half when the sides got under way at Craeyenhout, a comedy of batting errors seeing 18 wickets fall for just 137 runs in 25.1 overs.

Hidde Overdijk (four for 20) and Reinier Bijloos (three for 31) were instrumental in skittling VRA for 68, opener Eric Szwarczynski the only man to reach double figures with 16.

HCC might conceivably mount the defence that they were trying to gain maximum benefit for their net run rate, but their smash-and-grab approach nearly backfired when they lost four wickets for just one run and found themselves still needing two to win with only two wickets standing.

Henrico Venter was equal to the challenge, however, and saw them the short distance home, although it was Boris Gorlee’s run-a-ball 26 which had brought them to the brink of victory.

Quirijn Gunning, back from injury, led VRA’s counter-attack with three for 24, while Vikram Singh claimed three for 9.

At Sportpark Drieburg on Sunday ACC beat bottom side Dosti-United by five wickets, the match enlivened by a sensational debut by teenager Zeeshan Master, who took five for 30 as the home side collapsed to 121 all out.

Rahil Ahmed had again given Dosti a decent start with 49, but once Master started to run through the lower order only 24 from Waheed Masood offered any real resistance.

Dosti’s bowlers, especially spinners Asief Hoseinbaks and Mahesh Hans, made ACC fight for every run, but Chris Knoll’s 60 saw them to within two runs of victory, and they completed the win with almost 13 overs to spare.

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