Shane Deitz, hat-trick king
Few of the group matches in this season’s Twenty20 Cup have provided much in the way of excitement, but the clash between HBS Den Haag and Hermes-DVS Falcons at Craeyenhout on Sunday turned out to be a real thriller, with a magnificent last-wicket partnership between Tobias Visée and Rasool Abed enabling the Hoofdklasse side to triumph over the previous-unbeaten Falcons with just four balls to spare.
The game was notable, too, for a remarkable little bit of Dutch cricket history, as 37-year-old Shane Deitz, officially retired for four years and better known outside the Netherlands as a batsman and wicketkeeper, performed the hat-trick for the second time in the competition, having previously done so on the opening day of the season.
Deitz’s feat began when keeper Brad Barnes ran around to point to take a brilliant diving catch and dismiss the Falcons’ Sebastiaan Braat, and continued with a smart stumping off the next ball – the last of Deitz’s third over – to remove Harro Seelaar. But Deitz finished the job himself by bowling Renzo Borrani with the first delivery of his next over, and after a moment’s hesitation while it sank in, was mobbed by his delighted team-mates.
If the Australian’s achievement was largely lost on a sizeable Craeyenhout crowd, everyone was thoroughly engaged with the match’s climax, as Visée and Abed, coming together at 69 for nine as HBS chased a modest Hermes total of 110, turned the game around with some terrific clean hitting.
41 runs were needed for victory off just 26 deliveries when Visée began the fightback by smacking Mark Craig over long off, and then, after a three-run over from Pieter Seelaar, leaving 32 required off 18 balls, the pair plundered five more sixes to leave the scores tied with an over to go.
Visée drove to the cover boundary off the second ball to finish on 32 not out, made from 16 deliveries, while Abed had 31 from 14.
Earlier in the day, former HBS player-coach Grant Elliott had made a splendid unbeaten 75 as the Craeyenhout side completed a comfortable win over Sparta 1888, who could only manage 106 for nine in response to a HBS total of 142 for four. Bradley Barnes gave Elliott invaluable support with 41 in a 68-run fourth-wicket partnership which was the foundation of the HBS score.
With rounds of the Cup on Friday evening and Sunday, VRA Amsterdam and Excelsior ’20 Schiedam consolidated their position at the head of the two groups with two victories apiece, and while their qualification for the finals day on 23 June is not yet a mathematical certainty, it would now take an extraordinary sequence of events for them to miss out.
VRA beat Dosti Amsterdam by nine wickets on Friday despite a hard-hitting 66 from David Wiese, and then improved their net run still further with a 77-run victory over Kampong Utrecht. Tom Cooper top-scored with 75 for VRA, with Barry Rhodes contributing 45 in a total of 192 for four, the highest of the day.
VRA’s final group match is against Voorburg next Friday, and their prospects of reaching the semi-finals were done no harm by the latter’s defeat on Sunday at the hands of HCC. Voorburg pushed their Topklasse opponents all the way, however, as HCC had only two balls to spare as they reached their target of 124 for the loss of six wickets, Tom de Grooth making 51 and Maurits Jonkman 44. Campbell Thomas took four for 21 for Voorburg.
HCC had earlier bowled Bloemendaal out for 64, Mark Jonkman and Rassie van der Dussen each taking three wickets for 8 runs, and knocked off the runs in just 8.3 overs to boost their own net run rate.
But the Diepput side had suffered a shock defeat on Friday evening at the hands of bottom side Kampong Utrecht. In a rain-affected game, HCC had made 135 for three off 15 overs when their innings came to a premature end, and Kampong, chasing a revised target of 141, were on 119 for two, 2 runs ahead of the par score, when the rain again intervened 12.4 overs into their reply.
The other side with a chance of reaching the finals day from Group A, Dosti Amsterdam, saw their first home match on Sunday, against ACC, fall victim to the weather as persistent rain caused the match to be abandoned.
But they then secured a six-wicket victory over Rood en Wit Haarlem in the later game, despite a fine 93 from the Haarlemmers’ Peter Fulton. Rahil Ahmed (57) and Sridharan Sriram (46) shared an opening stand of 110 to put Dosti on course for their target of 160, which the Amsterdam side duly reached with eight balls to spare.
Dosti still have to play Kampong and Bloemendaal, but the outcome of the group will probably be decided in their rescheduled match against HCC, which will take place at De Diepput next Saturday.
In Group B, Excelsior remained the only unbeaten side in the competition after defeating HBS at home on Friday evening and Quick Haag at Nieuw Hanenburg on Sunday.
HBS were coasting on 72 for none after 11 overs chasing Excelsior’s modest 115 for seven, but once Tom Heggelman removed Elliott for a run-a-ball 41 the rot set in, and with Rudi Hillermann taking three for 20 and Haider Khan three for 12, even Deitz’s 45 could not get them any further than 99 for nine off their 20 overs.
Khan was again among the wickets against Quick on Sunday, taking three for 18 as the home side were dismissed for 101 in pursuit of Excelsior’s 155 for five, in which Hillermann made 67 and Stephan Myburgh 39.
Despite losing to HBS Hermes-DVS Falcons remain favourites to join their Schiedam rivals at the finals day, as they have a game in hand over the Craeyenhout side. The other possible contenders are VOC Rotterdam, who have lost twice and, like HBS, must hope that Excelsior inflict a heavy defeat on the Falcons when the Schiedam sides meet on 15 June.
In the meantime VOC, who eased to a 7-wicket victory over FC Amsterdam United in just 10.1 overs on Sunday, meet HBS at Craeyenhout on Friday evening in a match which will definitively eliminate one of the two from contention.