Season Preview 2021 – Part 2

Bertus de Jong 27/04/21

Last season’s winners (if not official champions) HCC will be looking to replace their pseudo-title with the real deal this season, and are keeping faith with essentially the same squad as topped the table in the abbreviated 2020 competition. Though the competition will be tougher this time round as a smattering of overseas players return elsewhere, HCC nonetheless look in decent shape for their “title” defence. The increasing maturity of HCC’s young top-order bats Musa Ahmad and Boris Gorlee, together with the fine preseason form of the less-heralded Daniel Trijzelaar, should allow skipper Tonny Staal more licence to revert to his natural role of early aggressor. HCC also have the added security of the batting depth provided by spin all-rounders Clayton Floyd, Yash Patel and Italian international Damien Crowley together with last season’s stand-out performer Hidde Overdijk in the middle order. Overdijk and Ollie Klaus, with 17 and 18 wickets respectively, were also 2020’s most successful seamers. Together with Rijnier Bijloos they make up a more than capable seam attack, albeit one lacking in express pace. In short, Staal has an enviably balanced squad at his disposal as HCC look to translate last season’s success into this season’s silverware.

Likewise largely unchanged are 2020 runners-up Punjab CC Rotterdam, who finished just one point behind HCC last season. That effort was based in large part on the 524 runs that flowed from the bat of Stephan Myburgh, who hit three centuries in seven innings to finish the season with a faintly absurd average of 131. Kiwi all-rounder Teja Nidamanuru was right behind him in the averages with 261 runs at 87, and if the pair can replicate that form Punjab will doubtless be right in the mix at the top of the table again this season. Backed up by a full armory of Zulfiqars, Punjab’s batting card looks like one of the more intimidating in the league again. Meanwhile Sohail Bhatti’s arrival from Excelsior to join Sikander Zulfiqar and Mubashar Hussain in the seam section gives veteran skipper (and 2020 lead wicket taker) Sulaiman Tariq another option with the ball, the Punjab attack’s tendency to leak runs being their only major weakness last season.

Also shaping up as likely title challengers are Voorburg CC, who will be strengthened by the additions of South African all-rounders Sybrand Engelbrecht and Karl Nieuwoudt as well as Netherlands international Logan van Beek. The pair will do much to shore up a batting line-up which, in the absence of the Smit brothers, looked rather over-dependent on Bas de Leede last season. While opener Righardt Pieterse provided de Leede with creditable support last Summer, VCC will be hoping for more substantial contributions from the veteran Tom de Grooth and young prospect Aryan Dutt to their 2021 title challenge. Likewise they will look to young legspinner Phillipe Boissevain to translate his growing international experience into continued domestic success. With a slow-bowling section built around Boissevain and Engelbrecht, and a pace attack comprising de Leede, Ali Ahmed, Viv Kingma and van Beek, with Dutt able to provide both spin and seam support, VCC can comfortably find 50-overs of international quality bowling. If the batting holds together this season, VCC’s first national championship in almost 20 years look within reach.

For Sparta 1888 the coming season looks rather more of a challenge, and with the loss of last season’s top-scorer Lenert van Wijk (nominally transferred to VRA but unlikely to play this season) Sparta will do well to replicate their fourth place finish. The arrival or big-hitting Sherry Butt will go some way to compensate however, the Belgian captain joining compatriots Ali Raza and Mamoon Latif at Capelle. Sparta will be more reliant on the Belgian trio for runs than last season, however. Aside from Raza and van Wijk, evergreen skipper Mudassar Bukhari was the only Sparta bat to break 200 runs last season. The rumoured return of Garnett Tarr may go some way toward shoring up the batting, but van Wijk’s remain big shoes to fill. The bowling likewise looks a little threadbare, though Bukhari remains a threat with the new ball while Max Hoornweg and younger brother Ivo continue to improve. Sparta spinners Manminder Singh and player-chairman Martijn Snoep both had solid 2020 seasons, and all told Sparta’s prospects this season suffer more from the strengthening of the competition than any significant deficiencies of their own. Nonetheless without a real replacement for van Wijk, a top-table finish looks a long shot for 2021.

Finally VRA will be looking to improve on their fifth-place finish last season, though the side will look broadly similar to the one that contested the abbreviated 2020 competition. Lenert van Wijk, much like Michael Rippon, is a rather speculative inclusion on the VRA team sheet, listed more in hope than expectation. The only immediate addition will be batsman and occasional legspinner Jack Balbirnie (brother of Ireland captain Andrew), who will likely partner young Dutch international Vikram Singh at the top of the order. With number three Ben Cooper looking in fine form for the national side ahead of the season, skipper Peter Borren seeing the ball well, and Eric Szwarczynski expected to turn out more regularly this season the VRA top-order looks arguably the strongest in the league. Competition for selection will likely be fierce amongst VRA’s youngsters, especially those aiming for a top-order slot. Debrup Dasgupta, Shirase Rasool, Udit Nashier and Zamaan Khan would be sure picks for most Topklasse sides but all will likely be sitting out a few games for VRA this season. The bowlers have it a little easier, Ashir Abid is a safe bet to share the new ball with Quirijn Gunning, while offspinner Luke Hartsink’s efforts last season will likely be enough to earn him a regular spot in the spin section alongside Leon Turmaine. That said, seasoned campaigner Adeel Raja, along with the options of Prasuk Jain and Harry Will make for competition at the selection table.

Read part one here

Season Preview 2021 – Part 1

Rod Lyall 25/04/2021

ACC are still recovering from the loss of their quartet of Zulfiqars and young batter Shirase Rasool, and in the light of that they did surprisingly well last season. 2021 is the club’s centenary year, and that gives them all the more reason to push themselves to the limit. With no relegation at stake ACC has elected to again rely on its remarkably youthful and largely home-produced squad, with five teenagers Aryan Kumar and Ammar Zaidi (both 19), Shreyas Potdar and Jamieson Mulready (18) and Mees van Vliet (17) all making good progress. Spinner Devanshu Arya often opens the bowling, and the inexperience of the side is also balanced by openers Cameron Burnett and Charles McInerney and middle-order batter Chris Knoll, while Anis Raza remains a key figure with both bat and ball. With other clubs bringing in overseas reinforcements, though, ACC may find this another testing season.

Strengthened by the advent of South Africans Ryan Klein and Tayo Walbrugh (the former in possession of a Dutch passport), HBS Craeyenhout will be looking to improve considerably on last season’s seventh place. The mercurial batting of Tobias Visée is always a menacing factor at the top of the order, and if the rest of the line-up – minus the huge contributions of now-retired Wesley Barresi – hasn’t always realised its potential, players like Navjit Singh, Wessel Coster and Adil Ahmad may find the going easier in the presence of Klein and Walbrugh. Julian de Mey, now in the national side as a spinner, made decent progress with the bat last season, while with Ferdi Vink as valuable as ever in a seam attack which also features Singh, Coster and potentially Farshad Khan, the Crows have as threatening a pace unit as any. They gave the impression last year of having two-thirds of a really good side; with the addition of the two South Africans they may turn out to be a good deal better than that this time.

After their unaccustomed finish in the lower reaches last year Excelsior ’20 Schiedam seem well placed to go chasing after another championship. Outstanding South African prospect (and another Dutch passport holder) Tristan Stubbs joins veteran Lorenzo Ingram in what looks like a pretty strong batting line-up, especially with the return of opener Tim Etman from Australia. With three Van Troosts (seamer Rens and his teenage brothers Stan and Jelte), three Kroesens (middle-order batter Joost, seamer Gijs and opening bat Luuk) and a brace of Etmans (seamer Niels was a regular part of the attack in brother Tim’s absence), Tom Heggelman’s side could well be something of a family affair. Seamer Sohail Bhatti has moved to Punjab, but the Schiedammers have picked up Klaas Roelfsema from Rood en Wit, and he will be vying for a place in the pace attack. Add in keeper-opener Roel Verhagen and middle-order bat Sanjit Shankar, and Excelsior have a squad capable of giving any opponent nightmares.

VOC Rotterdam really felt the absence of internationals Max O’Dowd and Scott Edwards last season, and with Pieter Seelaar also out through injury they battled to produce convincing performances with both bat and ball. The return of Tim de Kok from Sparta and the arrival of Arnav Jain made some difference, and with a more solid base the club will be looking to the further development of youngsters like Tizo Moorman and Siebe van Wingerden. The attack improved greatly when Bobby Hanif and former international Ashan Malik returned mid-season, while experienced hands like Dirk van Baren and Jelte Schoonheim (the side’s leading wicket-taker last year) may perform more consistently with less weight upon their shoulders. O’Dowd, Edwards and Seelaar all have the capacity to turn the Rotterdammers from a decent side into title challengers, but they will need plenty of support from the rest of the squad.

With their complement of overseas players reduced to just one Dosti Amsterdam had a miserable, winless campaign in 2020, relieved only by the fact that nothing was at stake. The return of Anees Davids, at least for part of the season, will bolster Dosti’s hopes somewhat this time round, while his countryman Touseef Ahmed whose 6-29 against HCC was the best individual showing with the ball last season, will also be back. Nonetheless it seems likely that there will in any case be plenty of opportunities for skipper Vinoo Tewarie, keeper-batsman Rahil Ahmed and off-spinner Mahesh Hans to demonstrate their skills. Seamer Wahid Masood has contributed some valuable spells over recent seasons and was Dosti’s leading wicket-taker last year, while Sukumar Raji chipped in with the bat when everyone else failed. Occasional individual performances won them no points last season though, and without a more consistent team effort the Amsterdammers may again find wins elusive.

Read part two here

Topklasse 2021 season gets the green light

The KNCB has confirmed that both the men’s Topklasse and women’s Hoofdklasse will go ahead for 2021, with both competitions slated to start on time on May 1st.

All ten of the teams that contested last season’s abreviated competition will return for Topklasse 2021, despite some initial hesitance 2015 champions Dosti-United were the final team to confirm they would participate. As was the case last season, there will be no relegation from the Topklasse for 2021. Should the men’s Hoofdklasse be able to start later in the summer however, provided there is time to complete at least half of the usual season, two teams from the Netherlands’ second domestic division will be promoted, which will see the Topklasse expand to 12 teams for 2022.

Five teams have confirmed they will participate in the women’s Hoofdklasse, with VRA, Rood en Wit, VCC, Ajax SC, and Quick Haag returning. Excelsior’20, Groen Geel and Kampong decided not to participate in the competition under the current mandatory testing protocol, whilst the German national team, who were scheduled to participate in this years womens competition, are unable to travel under the current COVID-19 regulations.

Both competitions will be conducted according to the  KNCB’s Verantwoord Opstart Topcompetitie protocol, requiring participating teams to conduct pre-match COVID testing during the season using Antigen speed tests provided by the board, as well as weekly tests during pre-season.

While last season’s abbreviated competition was the first since 1945 not to crown an official national champion, this year assuming a full season encompassing a double-round robin league of 16 rounds can be completed, the Topklasse Title will again be on the line.

note: This article initially stated that Dosti-United would not contest the 2021 season, it has been amended to reflect the reversal of this decision.

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 | VRA vs Punjab | 30.08.20

VRA I Vs Punjab I
1-Innings Match Played At Amstelveen (VRA), 30-Aug-2020, Topklasse
Punjab I Win by 6 wkts
Round 9
Toss won by VRA I
Umpires R Kaulingfreks – FLA van Lent
Scorers K Holdsworth – M Hussain
Home Side VRA I
Points Awarded VRA I 0, Punjab I 2
VRA I 1st Innings 261/7 Closed (Overs 50)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
ES Szwarczynski+ not out 120 148 8 0
BN Cooper lbw b AT Nidamanuru 99 100 9 0
LA Turmaine c AT Nidamanuru b SM Zulfiqar 2 8 0 0
SR Rasool lbw b SM Zulfiqar 2 9 0 0
PW Borren* c SM Zulfiqar b S Tariq 8 9 0 0
MB Lees run out 10 15 0 0
QWM Gunning b S Tariq 4 5 0 0
V Singh c RU Zulfiqar b S Tariq 0 3 0 0
U Nashier not out 2 3 0 0
A Abid dnb
MAK Raja dnb
extras (b6 lb3 w4 nb1) 14
TOTAL 7 wickets for 261
1-178(BN Cooper) 2-181(LA Turmaine) 3-191(SR Rasool) 4-218(PW Borren) 5-247(MB Lees) 6-257(QWM Gunning) 7-257(V Singh)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
S Tariq 10 1 38 3 1
S Mian 6 0 32 0
Mubashar Hussain 5 0 32 0 1
SA Zulfiqar 10 0 60 0 1 1
SM Zulfiqar 10 0 53 2
AT Nidamanuru 9 0 37 1 1
Punjab I 1st Innings 263/4 (Overs 47.4)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
AA Zulfiqar+ c MB Lees b MAK Raja 85 97 7 1
RU Zulfiqar c SR Rasool b LA Turmaine 31 45 2 0
AT Nidamanuru c U Nashier b PW Borren 45 50 0 3
SM Zulfiqar not out 47 48 0 2
SA Zulfiqar b U Nashier 27 28 1 0
K Khan not out 11 19 1 0
Mudassar Hussain dnb
SJ Myburgh dnb
Mubashar Hussain dnb
S Mian dnb
S Tariq* dnb
extras (b0 lb1 w15 nb1) 17
TOTAL 4 wickets for 263
1-75(RU Zulfiqar) 2-159(AT Nidamanuru) 3-180(AA Zulfiqar) 4-234(SA Zulfiqar)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
QWM Gunning 4 0 22 0 5
MAK Raja 7 0 37 1
A Abid 8 0 61 0 1
LA Turmaine 10 0 45 1
V Singh 2 0 8 0 2
PW Borren 7 0 34 1 4
U Nashier 5.4 0 35 1 2
BN Cooper 3 0 19 0 1
MB Lees 1 0 1 0 1

Scorecard | Dosti vs Sparta | 30.08.20

Dosti United I Vs Sparta I
1-Innings Match Played At Sportpark Bermweg, Capelle a/d IJssel, 30-Aug-2020, Topklasse
Sparta I Win by 2 wkts
Round 9
Toss won by Dosti United I
Umpires MS Ahmad – PJ Jansen
Home Side Dosti United I
Points Awarded Dosti United I 0, Sparta I 2
Dosti United I 1st Innings 175/10 All Out (Overs 47.4)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
S Ghori c S Sardha b JM Snoep 0 6 0 0
W Masood b MB Hoornweg 6 8 1 0
VAB Tewarie* c A Raza b MB Hoornweg 0 3 0 0
M Hans c A Raza b JM Snoep 5 10 0 0
S Ravichandran+ b JM Snoep 0 2 0 0
NB Perumal not out 71 141 4 2
T Ahmed c MB Hoornweg b L van Wyk 12 29 1 0
Arief Hoseinbaks c Manminder Singh b L van Wyk 16 11 3 0
Asief Hoseinbaks c A Raza b L van Wyk 37 43 4 1
J Kumar c&b U Saleem 1 8 0 0
R Varma c M Bukhari b F Iqbal 8 25 0 0
extras (b4 lb1 w13 nb1) 19
TOTAL 10 wickets for 175
1-0(S Ghori) 2-1(VAB Tewarie) 3-14(M Hans) 4-14(S Ravichandran) 5-14(W Masood) 6-33(T Ahmed) 7-50(Arief Hoseinbaks) 8-117(Asief Hoseinbaks) 9-133(J Kumar) 10-175(R Varma)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
JM Snoep 10 3 21 3 4
MB Hoornweg 10 0 32 2 4
N Ibrahimkhil 2 1 5 0 1
L van Wyk 10 0 43 3 2 1
Manminder Singh 9 2 31 0
U Saleem 5 0 28 1 1
F Iqbal 1.4 0 10 1 1
Sparta I 1st Innings 176/8 (Overs 34.2)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
L van Wyk c S Ravichandran b W Masood 45 40 7 1
D Umar c S Ravichandran b W Masood 15 38 2 0
A Raza+ b VAB Tewarie 52 57 6 1
M Bukhari* c T Ahmed b M Hans 24 27 4 0
N Ibrahimkhil c Asief Hoseinbaks b VAB Tewarie 6 16 0 0
F Iqbal st S Ravichandran b VAB Tewarie 0 2 0 0
Manminder Singh not out 9 15 0 0
MB Hoornweg c&b W Masood 5 3 1 0
S Sardha c Asief Hoseinbaks b W Masood 3 7 0 0
U Saleem not out 1 1 0 0
JM Snoep dnb
extras (b6 lb4 w5 nb1) 16
TOTAL 8 wickets for 176
1-62(L van Wyk) 2-63(D Umar) 3-114(M Bukhari) 4-156(N Ibrahimkhil) 5-156(F Iqbal) 6-160(A Raza) 7-167(MB Hoornweg) 8-175(S Sardha)
Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
Asief Hoseinbaks 10 1 30 0
W Masood 9.2 0 47 4 3
NB Perumal 1 0 14 0
T Ahmed 5 0 27 0 1
M Hans 5 0 21 1
R Varma 1 0 19 0 1
VAB Tewarie 3 0 8 3 1

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.

Preview Round 9

And so we are left with the denouement. With a decisive win over their last rivals, Punjab Rotterdam, HCC secured an unassailable place at the top of the 2020 Topklasse table. They will have to do without any actual silverware, but do have a shot at going through the season undefeated.

BdJ: Standing in their way are VOC Rotterdam, who will travel to De Diepput for their final match of the season. Last week they scored a surprise win over 2019 Champions Excelsior ‘20, Ahsan Malik and Arnav Jain providing the bulk of a modest 160-run total before so utterly stifling the Schiedammers’ young top order that even that target provided more than enough pressure to see the lower order balk at the asking rate. Whether the same strategy of containment can work at De Diepput against a more experienced HCC line-up is a different question, but Corey Rutgers has proved himself an astute understudy to the absent Seelaar and VOC’s fortunes have been trending upwards. HCC are where they are for a reason however (not least the form of Hidde Overdijk) and with the top spot in the bag may be expected to adopt a more cavalier approach than the overcautious attitude that doomed Excelsior at last Sunday’s block party.

RL: The fragility of VOC’s batting, despite Rutgers’ stickability and Ahsan Malik’s reinvention as a middle-order batsman, has been their major problem throughout the season, and it’s hard to see them dealing effectively with the campaign’s outstanding attack. The confrontation between Malik, Bobby Hanif and Jelte Schoonheim and HCC’s top order, on the other hand, looks like a more even contest; but whether the Rotterdammers have the batting resources either setting or chasing seems extremely doubtful. Even with the foot off the pedal, were HCC to lose this one it would undoubtedly be the upset of the season.

BdJ: For the vanquished Punjab, what might have been a decisive showdown against VRA is now just a chance to bag the runners-up spot. They will at least have a chance to familiarise themselves with conditions at the Bos with a T20 quarter final against the same opposition the evening before, and while Punjab’s feared top order rather wilted last week, Sikander Zulfiqar’s defiant 99 from number six was a reminder of the depth that took the Rotterdammers to within shouting distance of the top spot. Their opponents also had the look of contenders for much of the season, but an implosion against HCC effectively killed their ambitions and last week’s showing against Sparta rather suggests the fire has gone out of the Amsterdam side for this season at least.

RL: This, though, could scarcely be more open or more attractive: with Myburgh, the Zulfiqars and Nidamanuru on one side and Singh, Cooper and Borren on the other, the bowlers could be in for a very tough time if conditions are in any way favourable to batting. Neither attack quite measures up to the quality of the batting, but both have a good balance of pace and spin. For the home side, the experience of Quirijn Gunning, Adeel Raja and Leon Turmaine will be crucial, but bowling to the Punjab top order will be a severe test for the likes of Ashir Abid and Luke Hartsink. For the visitors, the seaming Sikander and the spinning Saqib of the House of Zulfiqar are key figures, along with skipper Suleiman Tariq and allrounder Nidamanuru. Home advantage could work for VRA, but then again, it’s a brave man who bets against this Punjab side.

BdJ: Also in contention for the number two spot are Voorburg CC, who take on HBS Craeyenhout in their final match of the season. HBS will be without skipper Toby Visée again, the explosive keeper-opener sidelined with a severed tendon in his hand, but in his absence Julian de Mey has seemingly reinvented himself as a steady batting all-rounder, his unbeaten 71 guiding the Crows to victory last week after coming close to a maiden century the week before. For their part VCC will be missing ten overs of quality leg spin with Flip Boissevain currently out with ankle trouble, but remain favourites to go to 14 points come Sunday.

RL: HBS have rather blown hot and cold all season, but victories in their last two games – due to a large extent to De Mey’s efforts with the bat – will have given them confidence going into this one. They’ll need it facing Kingma, Qasim and De Leede, even without Boissevain, but if De Mey can make it three in a row his side might be able to do so as well. Voorburg’s batting has been lot more consistent, but it has relied heavily on De Leede, and with seamers Coster, Geenevasen and Ferdi Vink HBS have a sufficiently incisive attack to put the visitors under pressure.

BdJ: Into the mid-table, the unfancied ACC may have gone down to an understrength HBS last weekend, but they’re still in the running for a top-five finish. With last year’s champions Excelsior ‘20 seemingly treating the season as an extended training session, the fact that the Schiedammers are probably the stronger side on paper may tell less than ACC’s apparent will to win. Excelsior’s young side have done themselves some credit this season in terms of individual performances, but in contrast to previous seasons they have looked rather less than the sum of their parts.

RL: Two young sides which point firmly towards the future, Excelsior and ACC may provide another hard-fought contest. On the side of experience, the home side have skipper Tom Heggelman and the redoubtable Lorenzo Ingram, while Joost Kroesen, Rens van Troost and Roel Verhagen have all played more than a hundred Topklasse games. No-one in the ACC line-up has played more than Anis Raza’s 73, though Chris Knoll and Charles McInerney do bring experience from elsewhere. But, as m’learned colleague notes, ACC have tended to punch above their collective weight, while Excelsior have perhaps performed a tad below it. There’s enough talent there, though, to persuade me to opt for Excelsior this time.

BdJ: For Dosti-United meanwhile, Sunday’s final fixture against Sparta 1888 represents a last chance to avoid a total write-off of a season. In their defence, the summer was always likely to be a tough one, with overseas players unavailable, Rahil Ahmed suspended ahead of the first match, Anees Davids unable to make time and skipper Vinoo Tewarie missing the last few matches, Dosti’s line-up has to be assembled week-by-week. Add to that a lack of home advantage and it’s a credit to the Amsterdam side that they have occasionally looked competitive. There’s still talent to be found, Mahesh Hans and Waheed Masood have both stepped up in the absence of the rest of the core squad and former bit-parters have shone at times, but none from nine still looks the most likely outcome. Lenert van Wyk may have failed for Sparta last week but he remains a menace, and the Capelenaars have shown they can win without him. Their win against VRA last week may not have been the best cricket either side have played this season, but even a below-par Sparta will be heavily favoured to deliver Dosti yet another defeat.

RL: Can Dosti redeem something from this train wreck of a season? In Lenert van Wyk and Mudassar Bukhari Sparta have two proven match-winners, while the attack is a threatening unit, especially at the Bermweg (where this game will be played because Dosti have been without a ground all season). Mahesh Hans, Dosti’s captain in the absence of Tewarie, has seen his side turn in improved performances in recent weeks, but without ever – with the exception of their match against VOC – really looking like breaking their duck. It would be a surprise it they did so here.

BdeJ’s tips: HCC, Punjab, Voorburg, ACC, Sparta

RL’s tips: HCC, Punjab, Voorburg, Excelsior, Sparta.