VRA give themselves a play-off chance

Rod Lyall 09/08/21

Another round was disrupted by rain on Sunday, but the four matches which produced a result confirmed Punjab Rotterdam’s position at the top of the table, saw Voorburg go clear in second place, and gave VRA Amsterdam a very good chance of reaching the play-offs.

The one game which fell victim to the extreme weather ended Excelsior ‘20’s hopes of making the top four, as a torrential downpour brought an end to proceedings in their game against VOC Rotterdam at an already sodden Hazelaarweg.

Batting first in a match reduced to 45 overs, Excelsior had reached 72 for two just past the halfway point of their innings when the heavens opened, and no further play was possible.

VOC’s one point from the No result kept them in fourth place, ahead of VRA on net run rate, but Excelsior’s – their fifth such outcome in a record-breaking wet season – meant that even a win next week could see them finish no higher than sixth.

VRA moved level on points with VOC by virtue of a six-wicket victory over HBS Craeyenhout in Amstelveen, which enabled them to leapfrog their opponents and into fifth place on the table.

That HBS were able to reach 199 before they were dismissed off the final delivery of their 50 overs owed much to Wesley Barresi’s fighting 81, but he was finally out off the first ball of that last over, one of three victims of Jack Balbirnie, who finished with three for 29.

Balbirnie and his fellow-spinners, Leon Turmaine and Udit Nashier, managed to keep the brakes on the HBS batting line-up, and VRA were comparatively untroubled in reaching their target with 4.1 overs to spare, Vikram Singh making 60 and Ben Cooper, back from injury, contributing an unbeaten 62.

The top-of-the-table clash between Punjab and HCC at the Zomercomplex was the most affected by rain of all the completed matches, but ended in a fairly comprehensive win for the home side, now confirmed as what the Australians call ‘minor premiers’.

Seepage under the covers overnight led to a long-delayed start and an initial reduction to 35 overs a side, and after Suleiman Tariq had put HCC in to bat he and Teja Nidamanuru did their usual job of containing the opposition’s scoring so effectively that when rain drove the players from the field HCC had reached just 91 for one in 22 overs.

By the time they returned the Hagenaars had only five more overs to bat, and they lost five more wickets – four of them to Sikander Zulfiqar, who finished with four for 25 from four eventful overs – in posting another 40 runs.

The DLS calculation extended the target to 154, and Steph Myburgh and Asad Zulfiqar set their side on course with a second-wicket stand which took them to 68 for one in ten overs before a further interruption adjusted the demand to 118 from 20 overs.

Myburgh’s unbeaten 54 ensured that this was well within their capabilities, and the winning boundary came from the first ball of the final over.

The quickest and easiest win of the day came at Westvliet, where Voorburg dismissed Dosti Amsterdam for just 45 in 25.1 overs and needed only 9.4 overs to complete a nine-wicket victory.

Only Vinoo Tewarie, with 13, reached double figures in another abject display by Dosti’s batters, with Aryan Dutt’s spin yielding him four for 6 from eight overs, four of them maidens; Bas de Leede took three for 9 and Viv Kingma two for 16.

Alyan Razzaqi contributed the lion’s share of Voorburg’s runs, making 28 not out and ending the match with a six and a four.

The least significant match of the round also proved to be the most absorbing, with ACC pulling off an 18-run DLS victory over Sparta 1888 at Sportpark Bermweg.

The Amsterdammers’ total of 155 was built around Ammar Zaidi’s painstaking 56, but also owed much to a 50-run stand for the seventh wicket between Zaidi and Mies van Vliet, who made a career-best 23.

Sparta were already in some trouble when rain intervened at 36 for two, one of those dismissed being Garnett Tarr, and immediately after the resumption, the target now being 149 in 45 overs, a flurry of four wickets in as many overs for the addition of only three runs left the home side facing another ignominious collapse.

They were rescued by Ali Raza and skipper Martijn Snoep, who more than doubled the score before Ali, on 45, danced down the wicket to Anis Raza and was stumped.

This left Snoep to manage the tail, but once he had departed for 22 the odds were stacked against Sparta, and they were all out for 130.

Sahil Kothari, the agent of Sparta’s mid-order collapse, took four for 17 in nine overs.

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