Dosti claim their place at the top table
Hoofdklasse champions Dosti Amsterdam claimed their place in next season’s Topklasse in style at Bloemendaal on Saturday, beating Quick Haag by five wickets thanks to a fine century from Hamid Rana.
It was a remarkable turnaround by the Amsterdam side, who had been outclassed by Quick in the first of their best-of-three series. But Rana had missed that game, as had allrounder Afzal Ahmed, and their presence contributed a good deal to Dosti’s two subsequent victories.
The win means that Dosti will return to the top flight for the first time since 2001, when under their previous name of CK Gandhi they were relegated after a five-year run in the Hoofdklasse. Three key members of that side – skipper Shafiek Panchu, wicketkeeper (and occasional seam bowler) Gary Gravesande, and allrounder Vimal Tewarie – are still in the squad which has now secured its return.
Put in by Panchu, Quick made a splendid start, as they had in the initial game. Edgar Schiferli (30) and Stijn Allema put on 69 for the first wicket, and the total had reached 103 before Allema, having made 41, departed in the same way as his opening partner, caught behind by Gravesande off the bowling of Ehtisham Chaudhry Mohammed.
Much now depended on player-coach Jonathan Boult, especially when Henk-Jan Mol and brother Geert Maarten, so often the mainstays of a faltering Quick batting line-up this season, were both dismissed for 12.
Boult responded magnificently, his 104-ball 85 his highest score of the season, and he was instrumental in getting the Quick total up to 238 for seven.
Vimal Tewarie, like Chaudhry Mohammed, claimed two wickets, but the star of the show for Dosti was Gravesande, with three catches and two run-outs.
Quick’s 249 in the opening match had proved far too much for Dosti, but their seven-wicket victory in the second had demonstrated that they were capable of much better.
When Boult struck twice to remove first Chaudhry Mohammed and then Gravesande by the time 21 runs were on the board it seemed as if Quick might gain the upper hand, but a stand of exactly 100 between Rana and Mehmood Sadiq swung the game back Dosti’s way.
And after Sadiq had been trapped in front by Lesley Stokkers having made a 72-ball 53, Rana cut loose, racing to his century as he and coach Mohammad Hafeez added another 96. They were out within a run of each other, Hafeez falling to Stokkers for 27 and Rana caught off Henk-Jan Mol for 106. He had faced 150 deliveries and hit six fours and two sixes.
21 were still needed, but Ahmed, supported by Victor Grandia, took just seven balls to smash 18 of them, and Dosti were home with an over to spare.
Their promotion, and Quick’s relegation, means that there will once again be three Amsterdam sides in next season’s top flight, and only one from Den Haag.
For Quick, who reached the play-offs in each of the previous three seasons, it is a sad reversal, and there will no doubt be some serious reflection at Nieuw Hanenburg over the winter on how they can quickly secure a return.
For Dosti, the challenge will be to raise their sights to the much greater demands of Topklasse cricket and to consolidate their position as ACC and Rood en Wit have done. With a more active youth policy than they have had in the past, and young Dutch Lions like Rahil Ahmed and Mahesh Hans coming through to blend with the experience of the existing side, they have the potential to bridge that gap and cause some problems next year for their more illustrious opponents.