Topklasse Team of the Year 2020

There may only have been half a Topklasse campaign this season, but that won’t stop us from picking our Team of the Year. One significant difference, though, is that with only a handful of overseas players in the competition we aren’t considering a reserved place in that category; the overseas contingent will take their chances along with the locals.

Opening batsmen

Overdijk bowls to Myburgh

RL: Punjab’s Stef Myburgh’s is not merely the first name on the sheet; the sheet comes with ‘S Myburgh’ pre-printed on it. His 524 runs at an average of 131.00, with three centuries and two fifties in seven innings, was a phenomenal effort, and his strike rate of 133.67, even allowing for the diminutive proportions of Punjab’s home ground, took the pressure off the rest of the top order. That said, his partner Rehmat Zulfiqar didn’t hang around either, and he is certainly one of the contenders for the other opening slot. Another is VRA’s 17-year-old Vikram Singh, who made a good deal of further progress in a batting line-up whose inconsistency demanded that he take a lot fewer risks than some of his rivals. Lenert van Wyk’s Topklasse form may not have been as stellar as in the T20 Cup, but he still averaged 42.33, while Musa Nadeem Ahmad made a pretty good fist of his step up from Groen en Wit to HCC.
BdJ: Myburgh is of course the easiest pick in this or any other team of the year, though the second opening slot is a good deal trickier. Van Wyk would be the obvious choice if we were to take T20 performances into account, but he only actually opened for Sparta in three Topklasse matches. By the same token Eric Szwarczynski’s unrivalled record at the top of the order for VRA rather suffers from comprising only two data points. The flip side of Singh’s rather placid approach is that one might argue it may have placed the rest of the line up under pressure to up the scoring, but of players that got a consistent run at the top of the order his average there of 40.83 probably puts him slightly clear of what competition there is.

Top and middle order

Bas de Leede

BdJ: The rest of the top order is perhaps a little more keenly contested, but with 382 runs at an average of 63.67 VCC skipper Bas de Leede is another easy pick, and has a strong claim on the captaincy too. Last season’s MVP Mudassar Bukhari made less of an impact with the ball this season, but the Sparta captain’s 253 runs at a shade over 50 also put him in the running for a middle order slot, though in captaincy terms it was arguably VOC’s Corey Rutgers that had the toughest assignment this season, deputising for the injured Pieter Seelaar while trying to hold together a team that had been thoroughly gutted by absence and unavailability, Rutgers’ own return of 275 runs at 45.83 understates the role he played in keeping VOC looking occasionally competitive this season. It’s tough to make a case for either over Punjab’s Teja Nidamanuru, however; the Auckland all-rounder may have had a modest impact with the ball in his debut Topklasse season but 261 runs at 87 must be enough to guarantee him a place on the strength of his batting alone. Conversely HCC’s Hidde Overdijk would doubtless make the team purely on the strength of his bowling (taking 17 wickets at 12.71 across eight games) even if he hadn’t scored a run all season. In fact he scored 250 at an average of 41.67, which makes him comfortably 2020’s stand-out all rounder.
RL: Corey Rutgers is your man for trench warfare and his role for VOC was invaluable, but no doubt others have a stronger claim here. De Leede, Nidamanuru and Overdijk are all in that category, and the fact that they all bowl as well perhaps gives us licence to add another batsman to the list. Among the younger brigade ACC’s Shreyas Potdar and VOC’s Arnav Jain both made good progress in sides where the batting was often iffy, but the greatest progress of all was made by Julian de Mey of HBS, whose conclusion to the season converted him from spin bowler to batting all-rounder. I’d put him at five or six in this team.


RL: Wicket-keeping statistics are hard to interpret: the number of catches taken behind the stumps is often a function of the attack as much as the keeper himself. Purely on the stats Satish Ravichandran of Dosti came out on top this year, but three others are worthy of consideration: Mitch Lees of VRA was always tidy, Tim de Kok did well in his first season keeping for VOC, but my candidate would be Ali Raza of Sparta 1888, not only for his work with the gloves but also for his destructive batting. I reckon he’d love coming in at seven with eight or ten overs to go.
BdJ: Just on weight of runs it’s hard to argue for anyone but Raza, though it should be noted that his best performances came after he moved up the order toward the back end of the season. But even after what has generally been a rather quiet season with the bat for the league’s glovemen, there’s a couple of further honourable mentions to be made. Toby Visée was rather hit and miss even before injury ruled him out for the last couple of games, but was as brutal as ever when he came off, his 169 runs coming at a strike rate of almost 200. The summer’s most impressive showing however, didn’t come from a specialist keeper at all. Dilettante gloveman Eric Szwarczynski kept for VRA through all 47.2 overs of Punjab’s final innings of the season without conceding a single bye, having batted through the entirety of the first innings for an unbeaten 120*.


BdJ: With Overdijk and De Leede already assured of a spot the seam section is already rather cramped, but space must surely be found for Overdijk’s team-mate Ollie Klaus, whose return of 18 wickets at 9.11 was instrumental in HCC topping the table. Punjab skipper Suleiman Tariq’s 19 wickets may have come at more than twice the price, though given the size of the Zomercomplex that would seem harsh grounds to exclude the summer’s top wicket-taker. A case might nonetheless be made for the VOC’s veteran Jelte Schoonheim, who broke into the top five wicket-takers for the first time in his storied career with 16 scalps at 13.62. Equally impressive was his team-mate Ahsan Malik, who finished with 11 wickets at 12.27 despite missing the first half of the season.
RL: Hard to argue with Klaus and Tariq: the former sharpened the edge of HCC’s table-topping attack, while the latter, as well as taking the new ball, has an enviable record as the competition’s most effective cleaner-up of tails. It’s a bit rough on Schoonheim, who got better as the season went on and who suffers from the plethora of seam-bowling all-rounders, and perhaps even more on Dosti’s Waheed Masood, who was the most consistent performer in a largely overwhelmed side. If we could squeeze in another seamer, Masood would get my vote. And there should be an honourable mention for Rens van Troost of Excelsior, another who grew into a more responsible role in a young and comparatively inexperienced team.


Philippe Boissevain

RL: If we include De Mey as a batting all-rounder a case could be made for adding just one more spinner (thus making room for Masood, or Schoonheim), and the strongest contender would probably be Voorburg’s leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain, ahead of HCC’s Clayton Floyd and Punjab’s Saqib Zulfiqar. Floyd’s strike rate was marginally better than Boissevain’s (24.33 to 26.00), but the success of HCC’s pace attack meant that he played a less crucial role overall. In terms of impact, few could rival VRA’s 14-year-old left-armer Luke Hartsink, but one senses that his time will come soon enough.
BdJ: It’s remarkable that if we’re looking for a specialist spinner that young Hartsink is such a strong contender, the 14 year-old’s eight wickets coming across just five matches and at a better economy than any of his rivals, even ignoring the genuine game-changing spells he produced in the T20 competition. That said, Boissevain remains the lead Topklasse wicket-taker amongst the slow bowlers despite missing the final two games due to injury, and his development as a batsman should not be discounted. His average of 35.25 this season is scarcely lower than de Mey’s, and his 141 runs came at better than a run a ball. To my mind Boissevain pretty much owns the spin all-rounder slot this season, freeing up space for another specialist.
So, with all the above in mind, we have:

Our Team of the Year:

Stephan Myburgh (Punjab), Vikram Singh (VRA), Ali Raza [+] (Sparta), Bas de Leede [c] (VCC), Corey Rutgers (VOC), Teja Nidamanuru (Punjab), Hidde Overdijk (HCC), Philippe Boissevain (VCC), Jelte Schoonheim (VOC), Ollie Klaus (HCC), Suleiman Tariq (Punjab)
12th man: Luke Hartsink (VRA)

Scorecard | HCC vs VOC | 30.08.20

1-Innings Match Played At De Diepput, Den Haag, 30-Aug-2020, Topklasse
VOC I Win by 25 runs (DLS)
Round 9
Toss won by VOC I
Umpires RJ Akram – N Uduwage
Home Side HCC I
Comment Match reduced to 27 overs. Rain stopped play, VOC 141-4(21 overs). Match further reduced to 21 overs; DLS par score 166.
Points Awarded VOC I 2, HCC I 0
VOC I 1st Innings 141/4 Closed (Overs 21)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
MA Durrani c C Floyd b RR Bijloos 0 0 0 0
R Malik+ c LJF Lagas b J-WM Overdijk 13 0 0 0
TIM de Kok not out 83 0 0 0
A Jain c C Floyd b OO Klaus 1 0 0 0
AAJ Malik c LJF Lagas b J-WM Overdijk 0 0 0 0
JD Schoonheim* not out 39 0 0 0
M Forget dnb
BW Hanif dnb
SB van Wingerden dnb
RR Upadhyaya dnb
T Moorman dnb
extras (b0 lb1 w4 nb0) 5
TOTAL 4 wickets for 141
1-1(MA Durrani) 2-20(R Malik) 3-30(A Jain) 4-31(AAJ Malik)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
RR Bijloos 4 1 14 1
J-WM Overdijk 5 0 39 2
OO Klaus 3 1 22 1
HC Overdijk 5 1 31 0
C Floyd 1 0 15 0
MN Ahmad 1 0 10 0
DG Crowley 2 0 9 0
HCC I 1st Innings 141/10 All Out (Overs 19.1)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
AJ Staal* c MA Durrani b A Jain 0 0 0 0
MN Ahmad c A Jain b AAJ Malik 48 0 0 0
DG Crowley b AAJ Malik 10 0 0 0
BHG Gorlee b JD Schoonheim 17 0 0 0
HC Overdijk c TIM de Kok b SB van Wingerden 20 0 0 0
C Floyd c RR Upadhyaya b SB van Wingerden 2 0 0 0
YJ Patel c TIM de Kok b RR Upadhyaya 13 0 0 0
OO Klaus c JD Schoonheim b BW Hanif 20 0 0 0
J-WM Overdijk c&b BW Hanif 1 0 0 0
LJF Lagas+ c SB van Wingerden b AAJ Malik 3 0 0 0
RR Bijloos not out 0 0 0 0
extras (b0 lb3 w2 nb2) 7
TOTAL 10 wickets for 141
1-0(AJ Staal) 2-11(DG Crowley) 3-59(BHG Gorlee) 4-86(HC Overdijk) 5-95(C Floyd) 6-112(YJ Patel) 7-130(MN Ahmad) 8-136(J-WM Overdijk) 9-141(OO Klaus) 10-141(LJF Lagas)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Jain 4 0 30 1
AAJ Malik 4.1 0 23 3
JD Schoonheim 3 0 29 1
SB van Wingerden 2 0 10 2
RR Upadhyaya 2 0 17 1
BW Hanif 4 0 29 2

VOC have the final word

Rod Lyall 31/08/20

Overnight rain had left conditions ranging from dampish to inundated, and the result was that two Topklasse matches were abandoned without a ball being bowled, one of them meaning that for Excelsior ’20 the season ended as it had begun, in inactivity.

But the weather also played its part in one of the season’s surprises, HCC surrendering their unbeaten record at the hands of VOC Rotterdam in a game in which the table-toppers found that Messrs Duckworth, Lewis and Stern had loaded the dice irretrievably against them.

Much of the credit for VOC’s victory, however, went to Tim de Kok and Jelte Schoonheim, whose unbroken fifth-wicket partnership saw their side recover from an unpromising position to one in which, when the innings was terminated prematurely by another shower, the DLS calculation worked in their favour.

A late start meant that the match had been reduced to 27 overs before it began, but only 21 overs were possible before the rain intervened, and by this time VOC had reached 141 for four, De Kok on 83 not out and Schoonheim on 39.

The DLS calculation then set HCC a target of 167, a smidgeon below eight and over, and when Tonny Staal and Damian Crowley fell in the first two overs of their reply the task became close to insuperable.

As long as Musa Ahmad was there HCC still had some hope, but eventually the side were dismissed for 141, slipping to a 26-run defeat.

In the Amsterdamse Bos, meanwhile, Punjab Rotterdam made light work of beating VRA Amsterdam by six wickets, despite an opening stand of 178 between Eric Szwarczynski and Ben Cooper.

Cooper was finally adjudged leg-before on 99, made from 100 deliveries with nine fours, and although Szwarczynski remained there until the end, completing his tenth top-flight century and finishing on 120 not out, the Punjab bowlers did well enough to restrict the home side to 261 for seven, no-one else except Mitch Lees reaching double figures.

Suleiman Tariq harried the middle order, and his three for 38 left him as the season’s leading wicket-taker with 19 at 19.26 apiece.

A knee injury to the most prolific batter of the year, Stef Myburgh, might have handicapped Punjab’s reply, but Asad Zulfiqar stepped into the breach, and his opening partnership of 75 with elder brother Rehmat, who contributed 31, set the tone for the innings.

Rehmat was succeeded by Teja Nidamanuru, whose 45 came from 50 deliveries and included three sixes, and then by Saqib Zulfiqar, and by the time Asad was dismissed for 85 only 62 were needed with plenty of overs left.

Saqib and Sikander Zulfiqar added another 54, and Saqib continued in company with Kashif Khan to the end, making 47 not out and taking his side to victory with 14 deliveries to spare.

Sparta 1888 took full advantage of the opportunity to leapfrog VRA and move into fourth place by beating winless Dosti-United Amsterdam at the Bermweg, but the game was a good deal more hard-fought than it seemed likely to be when Dosti had been reduced to 14 for five and then to 50 for seven.

A patient, unbeaten 71 from Naqasiva Perumal, who marshalled the lower order so successfully that the last three wickets more than trebled the total, Asief Hoseinbaks contributing 37 as Dosti battled their way to 175 all out.

Joost Martijn Snoep, who finished with three for 21 and Max Hoornweg grabbed the first five wickets, and then Lenert van Wyk claimed three for 43 as he worked his way through the middle and lower order.

Van Wyk’s 40-ball 45 got Sparta off to a brisk start, and when Ali Raza made an uncharacteristically steady 52 the Capelle side seemed to be cruising to a comfortable victory.

But Vinoo Tewarie hit back with three for 8 in three overs of leg spin which included the dismissal of Raza, sixth out with 16 still required, and suddenly the game had tightened appreciably.

Waheed Masood, who had earlier removed both openers, returned to dismiss Max Hoornweg and, with the scores level, Sawan Sardha, but it all came too late and Sparta squeezed home by two wickets, though with a massive 15.4 overs to spare.

Scorecard | VOC vs Excelsior | 23.08.20

VOC I Vs Excelsior 20 I
1-Innings Match Played At Hazelaarweg, Rotterdam, 23-Aug-2020, Topklasse
VOC I Win by 22 runs
Round 8
Toss won by VOC I
Umpires J Hilhorst – DJ Kalloe
Scorers CCH Kaulingfreks – EM Heggelman
Home Side VOC I
Points Awarded VOC I 2, Excelsior 20 I 0
VOC I 1st Innings 160/10 All Out (Overs 45.5)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
MA Durrani c AK Arun b UF Baker 6 32 0 0
R Malik lbw b TJ Heggelman 1 4 0 0
TIM de Kok+ c TJ Heggelman b NT Etman 4 15 0 0
A Jain run out TJ Heggelman 62 108 5 1
AAJ Malik lbw b RWA van Troost 53 76 6 0
JD Schoonheim c SL van Troost b RWA van Troost 14 16 2 0
CL Rutgers* b RWA van Troost 4 6 0 0
RR Upadhyaya c JJ van Troost b RWA van Troost 2 10 0 0
BW Hanif not out 1 7 0 0
M Forget b RWA van Troost 0 1 0 0
SB van Wingerden b RWA van Troost 0 1 0 0
extras (b9 lb2 w1 nb1) 13
TOTAL 10 wickets for 160
1-2(R Malik) 2-9(TIM de Kok) 3-29(MA Durrani) 4-135(A Jain) 5-138(AAJ Malik) 6-144(CL Rutgers) 7-157(RR Upadhyaya) 8-159(JD Schoonheim) 9-160(M Forget) 10-160(SB van Wingerden)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
NT Etman 6 0 16 1
TJ Heggelman 8 3 21 1
RWA van Troost 9.5 0 42 6 1
UF Baker 5 0 16 1
LT Ingram 6 2 11 0
AK Arun 7 1 22 0
JJ van Troost 4 0 21 0 1
Excelsior 20 I 1st Innings 138/10 All Out (Overs 47.5)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
LA Kroesen c A Jain b SB van Wingerden 30 84 0 0
RTF Verhagen+ c AAJ Malik b BW Hanif 24 42 4 0
SL van Troost c SB van Wingerden b JD Schoonheim 4 25 0 0
JJ van Troost b RR Upadhyaya 3 14 0 0
J Kroesen c A Jain b AAJ Malik 14 19 2 0
NT Etman c AAJ Malik b BW Hanif 9 34 1 0
LT Ingram not out 30 40 1 0
RWA van Troost run out AAJ Malik 9 16 0 0
UF Baker b AAJ Malik 0 2 0 0
TJ Heggelman* b JD Schoonheim 5 10 0 0
AK Arun c TIM de Kok b JD Schoonheim 0 1 0 0
extras (b2 lb1 w7 nb0) 10
TOTAL 10 wickets for 138
1-34(RTF Verhagen) 2-51(SL van Troost) 3-61(JJ van Troost) 4-78(LA Kroesen) 5-82(J Kroesen) 6-102(NT Etman) 7-124(RWA van Troost) 8-128(UF Baker) 9-138(TJ Heggelman) 10-138(AK Arun)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
AAJ Malik 9 0 16 2
SB van Wingerden 6 0 16 1 1
A Jain 10 2 18 0 1
BW Hanif 9 0 49 2 1
JD Schoonheim 8.5 1 23 3 4
RR Upadhyaya 5 0 13 1

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.

Round 8 Preview

Rod Lyall and Bertus de Jong 20/08/20

It’s not difficult to spot the Match of the Day this week, with the top two sides meeting in what would effectively be the championship decider if there were a championship to decide. But there are some other tasty encounters on the agenda as well, if you’re a real cricket lover or – a more numerous species in the Netherlands – a passionate enthusiast for your club.

RL: Just one point ahead after last Sunday’s DLS tie, leaders HCC make the challenging trip to the Zomercomplex to take on Punjab Rotterdam. The game pits the best batting combination in the competition, which slaughtered the Sparta bowling last week, against the most effective attack, while the corresponding match-up between HCC’s top and middle order and Punjab’s bowlers is less imposing but nevertheless potentially decisive. Even the toss whets the appetite: if Suleiman Tariq wins if for the home side, should he opt for runs on the board or rely on his batters’ awesome chasing capacity; should Tonny Staal call correctly, would it be better to try to get amongst the Punjab top order early and risk a massive chase, or to look to set a target his bowlers can defend? Either way, I know where I would want to be on Sunday if it didn’t involve a 24-hour journey!

BdJ:HCC’s attack has unquestionably impressed thus far, but containing a rampant Myburgh, especially within the limited confines of the Zomercomplex, will prove a tougher task than they have faced thus far, and with an enviably deep batting order behind him avoiding a Myburgh onslaught will likely be necessary but not sufficient to keep Punjab to a manageable total. The point HCC took from Thurlede last week effectively overturned Punjab’s considerable net run rate advantage, however, and with the Rotterdammers facing the tougher final fixture away at VRA next week the hosts will arguably be under the greater pressure come Sunday.

RL: It’s a real test of character to come back from a mauling like the one Sparta 1888’s Bukhari-less attack was handed by Punjab last Sunday, although the batters will have been given heart by their display and especially by the century from Lenert van Wyk. They return to the Bermweg to entertain VRA Amsterdam, who fought all the way against Voorburg but whose batting had ultimately not given the bowlers enough to play with. Capelle a/d IJssel is never an easy place for visiting teams, but VRA will hope to get more from their top order against the Sparta attack, while the home side will be hoping that Ben Cooper doesn’t decide to cut loose in the way that Myburgh and Nidamanuru did for Punjab last week.

BdJ: With the weight of runs he’d accumulated in the T20 competition it seemed almost inevitable that van Wyk would start cashing in in the longer format soon enough, and there’s little reason to believe he’s run out of steam. Yet VRA’s chief strength has been the batting quality of some of their youngsters, and perhaps as much the adequacy of the rest, coupled with the fact that their Pros are both Dutch and Dutch-based. Thus even another ton from van Wyk may not be enough, though with weather expected to play a role VRA’s greater depth may not be as influential as they might hope.

RL: Voorburg had a couple of unquiet moments towards the end of their modest run chase in the Amsterdamse Bos but their attack proved its strength against Borren and Co. and will expect to find Dosti-United Amsterdam a considerably less menacing proposition. The Amsterdammers put up their best batting performance of the season against ACC, both Shahdab Ghori and Mahesh Hans making half-centuries, but the new-ball pairing of Kingma and Qasim, not to mention Philippe Boissevain’s leg spin, will give them plenty to think about as they try to consolidate the progress they have gradually made. The solidity of Voorburg’s batting, especially in the absence of Tom de Grooth, remains a cause for concern, but the question is whether Dosti have the bowlers to exploit that weakness.

BdJ: It would be easy to make too much of Dosti’s first serious total last week given that it came against and ACC side bowling to defend, and comfortably defending, a much higher target. But nonetheless the Amsterdammers showed a capacity to make runs even in the absence of skipper Vinoo Tewarie, and both Waheed Masood and Mahesh Hans continued to prove themselves capable of taking wickets. Dosti’s performances have been trending irregularly upwards since their admittedly abject start, having come close to finding their first points against VOC the week before. They remain underdogs against VCC of course, coming up against an attack that undid VRA’s much more resilient line-up last week, but at least don’t look like rolling over just yet.

RL: Both winners last week, HBS Craeyenhout and ACC meet in Den Haag with a chance of finishing in the right half of the table. ACC are currently fifth, but their margin over their hosts is just one win, and on paper they look pretty evenly matched. The fact that HBS got to 251 last Sunday despite the early loss of Tobias Visée should encourage them enormously, and it’s a good sign that Julian de Mey and Navjit Singh were able to bat with so much self-possession. ACC, on the other hand, saw Charles McInerney and Chris Knoll do the same job for them, while both sides have attacks which are hard-working rather than spectacular. Sander Geenevasen can scarcely expect ACC’s top order to thrash about as accommodatingly as VOC’s did last Sunday, but the combination of his seam bowling with that of Wessel Coster and Singh, along with the spin of De Mey and Adil Ahmed, may be enough to give HBS the edge.

BdJ: ACC have continued to outperform expectations through the season, most notably with the bat. The likes of Ramesh Babu, McInerney, Potdar, Kothari and now Knoll have all stepped up in turn to plug the holes left by the Zulfiqar exodus, but the bowling remains a vulnerability. Last week Dosti tripled their tally of half-centuries for the season against them, while Marcus Andrew and Stephan Myburgh have shown that a suitably aggressive bat, with good luck and a following wind, can take the ACC attack entirely apart. Such a one is Toby Visee, and with the rest of the HBS line up looking somewhat less vulnerable the skipper may allow himself a measure of freedom come Sunday. “Gotta get Visee early” is such a Topklasse truism at this point that it’s scarcely worth saying, but one feels it is doubly true for ACC.

RL: Both VOC Rotterdam and Excelsior ’20 Schiedam were chasing hard last Sunday when the weather closed in, but the Rotterdammers had to leave Craeyenhout empty- handed while Excelsior were able to escape with a point from their tie at De Diepput. Last season’s encounter between these sides at Hazelaarweg was a hard-fought, ill-tempered affair, and it is to be hoped that the atmosphere is a little more congenial this time. Excelsior owed their point last week to Lorenzo Ingram’s mastery in a tight situation, and they will be hoping he can continue in that vein against VOC, for whom Corey Rutgers’ contributions with the bat are scarcely less crucial. But Ahsan Malik was also impressive against HBS in the unfamiliar role of middle-order batter, while Jelte Schoonheim has been bowling as well as ever. The Schiedammers, of course, are a very young side, but their bowling unit maintained the pressure well against HCC, and if the batters are still gaining experience they have done enough to show that they will eventually blend into a significant line-up.

BdJ: Coming into the season missing the majority of their first team, VOC were keen to downplay their ambitions for the Summer, and fair to say they have lived down to those low expectations. That said, on return from semi-retirement, Rutgers has done a decent job of marshaling the resources available to him. Even if their sole points thus far have come against Dosti, the Belgium head coach has stepped up admirably in the absence of Pieter Seelaar and with Hanif and Malik back for the tail end of the season the Rotterdammers no longer look like walkovers. That said, Seelaar’s absence does rather undermine VOC’s traditional home advantage at the spin-friendly Hazelaarweg, and with Inrgam and Umar Baker (who has plenty of experience at his former home ground) the visitors arguably have an attack better suited to the conditions.

Rod Lyall’s tips: Punjab, Sparta, Voorburg, HBS, Excelsior.
Bertus de Jong’s tips: Punjab, VRA, Voorburg, HBS, Excelsior.

Myburgh lights up the Zomercomplex

Rod Lyall 17/08/20

An eventful weekend’s cricket ended in bizarre circumstances on Sunday evening when bad light forced the players from the field at De Diepput with nine overs left and the match between HCC and Excelsior ‘20 hanging in the balance.

Chasing HCC’s 171 for nine, Excelsior had reached 132 for six  with Lorenzo Ingram on  45 not out when play was interrupted, and with heavy rain rolling in the DLS calculations began.

It seemed that, thanks to a sudden onslaught immediately before the stoppage in which ten runs came of Damian Crowley’s final over, including a six by Ingram, Excelsior was exactly on the DLS par score and that the match was therefore tied.

But at the fall of the previous wicket 14-year-old Jelte van Troost had collapsed with cramp on his way to the crease and retired hurt without facing a ball, and the question arose whether his departure represented a seventh wicket.

That led to some intense discussion before it was ruled that of course it didn’t, and that the match had ended in a tie.

It had been hard-fought from the outset, HCC finding runs hard to come by against a disciplined Excelsior attack, and it took a solid 29 from Yash Patel and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 30 between Olivier Klaus and Jan Wieger Overdijk to get them up to a defensible 171.

Excelsior also battled with the bat, but Ingram was the trump card, and he and skipper Tom Heggelman had ensured that the match was dead level when the weather finally intervened.

Things were at a similar point across at Craeyenhout, where almost at the same moment proceedings were halted with VOC Rotterdam just six runs behind the DLS par score in their pursuit of HBS’s 251 for nine.

It had been the home side’s best batting performance of the season, but it was almost entirely due to the innings of Julian de Mey (92) and Navjit Singh (64), who shared a third-wicket partnership of 128.

After Singh departed, trapped in front and the first of four wickets for Jelte Schoonheim, De Mey continued until he was last out, caught and bowled by Ahsan Malik shortly before the end.

Schoonheim finished with four for 50, with two wickets apiece for Malik and Bobby Hanif.

VOC responded at first as they were in a T20, lashing out at everything and quickly subsided to 6 for three, Sander Geenevasen taking all three in the space of eight deliveries without conceding a run.

But Ahsan Malik set about restoring some sanity to the innings, and he and Corey Rutgers put on 71 for the fifth wicket before he was bowled by Benno Boddendijk for 52.

Rutgers continued in tandem first with Schoonheim and then in turn with Hanif and Rohan Malik, and as long as he was at the crease it seemed that VOC might be in with a chance.

Then Geenevasen returned, Rutgers, on 74, edged to Visée at slip, and the balance of the match swung back HBS’s way.

No further wicket fell, but VOC were unable to get their noses in front in the DLS Stakes, and when the players left the field, Geenevasen having taken four for 24, it was HBS who pipped their opponents at the post.

Dramatic as all this was, there was drama of another kind at the Zomercomplex in Rotterdam, where Stef Myburgh continued his dream summer with a chanceless, almost unbelievably destructive, 60-ball 130 not out, sharing a stand of 218 with Teja Nidamanuru which saw Punjab Rotterdam cruise to an eight-wicket victory over Sparta 1888.

Myburgh now has an extraordinary 501 runs in just six innings, with a strike rate of 134.68 and an average of 167.00, and he hit seven fours and 11 sixes in reaching his third century of the season; Nidamanuru was scarcely less damaging, his 95 coming from 65 deliveries with 11 four and five sixes.

Sparta, missing captain Mudassar Bukhari, had set Punjab a reasonable target of 244, mainly thanks to 113 from 106 deliveries from Lenert van Wyk, his first Topklasse century for the club, with Ali Raza contributing 31 and another useful last-wicket from Nasratullah Ibrahimkhil and Usman Saleem.

But with the Zomercomplex’s bijou dimensions and Myburgh’s range-finder in excellent working order it quickly transpired that this was nothing like enough.

Voorburg meanwhile moved level with VRA Amsterdam by virtue of their six-wicket victory over their nearest rivals in the Amsterdamse Bos.

The home side never really settled to their task after Peter Borren, back in charge, elected to bat first, and struggled to 159 all out, Eric Szwarczynski top-scoring with 32 before becoming the first of four victims for Philippe Boissevain.

Borren himself made 26 and keeper Mitch Lees chipped in with 27 towards the end, but the Voorburg attack never let up, Boissevain finishing with four for 35.

But Voorburg’s batsmen found conditions little easier, and with patient innings from Righardt Pieterse (52) and Bas de Leede (34) it took them until the 48th over to reach their target, Aryan Dutt and Viv Kingma showing the necessary aggression to get their side over the line.

On Saturday Dosti-United Amsterdam showed much greater resilience with the bat in their rearranged match against ACC at Het Loopveld West, but still lost their seventh match on the trot.

They had been set an imposing target after ACC posted 291 for eight, Charles McInerney (80) and Chris Knoll (107) putting on 186 for the third wicket to set their side on course for a substantial score.

Waheed Masood and stand-in captain Mahesh Hans took three for 60 and three for 49 respectively.

Half-centuries by Shahdab Ghori and Hans were the core of Dosti’s reply, Sukumar Raji chipping in with 40 as they reached a relatively respectable 239, but Devanshu Arya had his best return of the season with four for 41 and the inning closed 52 runs short.

Gallery | HCC vs Excelsior | 16.08.20