Rod Lyall 25/07/22
A magnificent century from Brett Hampton on Sunday enabled Excelsior ’20 to chase down Punjab Rotterdam’s imposing total of 281 and gain a crucial advantage over their rivals as the battle for final-four places got under way in earnest.
Equally significantly, HCC and VRA Amsterdam, potential challengers to Excelsior and Punjab, both lost hard-fought matches and saw their pathway to the finals become a little bit narrower.
Put in to bat, Punjab lost Steph Myburgh to the first ball he received, but they were rescued by Jonathan Vandiar, whose 141, made from 136 balls and including 16 fours and four sixes, was his first for the club and his sixth – and highest – in the Dutch top flight.
Coming in with the score on 4, Vandiar saw his side through to 236 before his was the sixth wicket to fall, and then lesser contributions from Asad Zulfiqar (33) and Yasir Usman (31 from 16 deliveries) enabled Punjab to set the biggest total of the day.
Niels Etman and Hampton claimed four wickets apiece for Excelsior, at a cost of 63 and 51 runs respectively.
Vandiar’s knock left Excelsior with a huge task, but Tim Etman led the chase with a brisk 38, and then Lorenzo Ingram and Hampton produced a fourth-wicket stand of 107, of which Ingram’s share was 39, to keep their side ahead of the required rate.
Ingram eventually became the first of three victims for Teja Nidamanuru, but now Hampton took over, reaching his maiden Topklasse century in just 75 deliveries and going on to make an unbeaten 142 from 95, hitting 17 fours and seven sixes, and hammering Excelsior to a four-wicket victory with an improbable eight overs to spare.
Leaders Voorburg stayed ahead of the pack with a three-wicket win over HCC at De Diepput, but they made heavy weather of chasing a modest target after they had dismissed their hosts for 123.
Tim Pringle top-scored for HCC with 25, while young leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad achieved his first five-wicket haul in the top flight, taking six for 18 in 9.5 overs.
At 68 for five Voorburg seemed to be flirting with defeat, but skipper Bas de Leede held things together with a dogged, 144-ball innings of 53 not out, and although Hidde Overdijk and Reinier Bijloos picked up three wickets apiece the leaders squeezed home with 16 deliveries to spare.
The strangest match of the day was at Craeyenhout, where VRA collapsed to 83 for eight inside 12 overs against HBS, Ferdi Vink taking five for 32, but were rescued by a record-breaking ninth-wicket stand of 143 between Johan Smal and Leon Turmaine.
It was the highest partnership for the ninth wicket ever recorded in the Dutch top flight, surpassing Tim de Leede and Mike Vroom’s 107 for Voorburg against VRA at the old Duivesteijn ground in 1994, and Smal posted a maiden Topklasse century before he was run out for 113.
Turmaine went on to make 55, and the VRA innings ended on 258.
It might have been enough, but opener Tayo Walbrugh responded with his third hundred of the season, making 142 not out from 132 deliveries with 14 fours and four sixes.
Wickets kept falling at the other end, however, the next best contribution Kyle Klein’s 28, and with four overs left the Craeyenhout side still needed 53 to win with four wickets remaining.
Supported by Manjinder Singh, Walbrugh was equal to the challenge, and although he lost Singh with seven runs required he saw HBS home with four balls to spare.
There was a dramatic turnaround in the relegation pool as well, where Dosti Amsterdam appeared to be on course for their first win of the season at 97 for two after restricting Kampong Utrecht to 177 all out at Maarschalkerweerd.
Without seamer Alex Roy the Kampong attack seemed to be struggling, but once Pierre Jacod had removed Amitoze Singh for 43 and opener Waqas Raja for 27 the Dosti innings fell apart, Jacod taking four for 6 in six overs and Usman Malik four for 30 as the Amsterdammers lost their last six wickets for just 14 runs.
Earlier, Touseef Ahmad had taken four for 34 for Dosti to give his side a chance, but Cole Briggs’s 51 and a solid 41 from debutant Stijn Bakker enabled Kampong to set a total which eventually proved too much for the bottom-placed side, who now need a miracle if they are to avoid relegation.
There was no turnaround at the Bermweg, where Salland Deventer seized the initiative against Sparta 1888 and never surrendered it, dismissing the Capelle side for 61 in 31 overs and needing only 8.5 overs to complete a nine-wicket victory.
Victor and Reinder Lubbers began the rout, Victor claiming the vital wicket of Samit Gohil and finishing with two for 10 from seven overs, but most of the damage was done by Gul Ahmed Nasir with five for 13 in nine overs, Elam Bharathi chipping in with two for 20, including the scalp of Mudassar Bukhari.
Venkat Ganesan then ensured maximal net run rate advantage for Salland with a 27-ball 41 not out to complete one of the season’s most comprehensive victories.
The win enabled Salland to move to the top of the pool ahead of VOC Rotterdam, who lost at home to ACC, but more importantly, it took them another two points clear of the threat of relegation.
ACC, too, will have been relieved to collect the points at the Hazelaarweg, chasing down VOC’s 203 to win by three wickets.
Max O’Dowd top-scored for the Rotterdammers with 71 and skipper Tim de Kok made 35, but De Kok’s opposite number Anis Raza claimed three for 34 and there were two wickets apiece for Devanshu Arya, Aryan Kumar and Thomas Hobson as ACC did well to restrict VOC’s menacing batting line-up to a comparatively modest total.
Robin Smith got their reply off to a lively start with a 29-ball 44 which included five fours and three sixes, but it was Hobson’s more restrained 64 which was the foundation of his side’s win, he and Raza (47) sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 94 which tilted the game definitively in ACC’s favour, despite Matt Smit’s spell of four for 48 for VOC.