Eight sides in battle for T20 finals day places
As the Group phase of the Twenty20 Cup reaches its climax all sixteen teams will be in action on Friday evening, although the biggest match of the weekend may well be the rescheduled Group A clash between HCC and Dosti Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon.
With these sides and VRA Amsterdam having all lost one match, and VRA facing Voorburg in their final group game on Friday evening, it is likely that the loser of the HCC-Dosti contest will effectively be eliminated from the battle for a semi-final place. Dosti, however, will still have two matches to play after the weekend – assuming that their rained-off match against ACC is to be rescheduled – and those too could well affect the final group table.
HCC and Dosti both play away from home on Friday evening, travelling to Rood en Wit Haarlem and Kampong Utrecht respectively. Kampong’s shock, Duckworth/Lewis-influenced victory over HCC last week threw the group back into the melting-pot, and in the nature of Twenty20 another upset win by one of the Hoofdklasse sides could easily complicate the mix still further.
VRA’s home tie against Voorburg is also a crucial match, since a win for the visitors would keep them in with an outside chance of reaching the national finals day on 23 June. But the Voorburgers’ only victory against Topklasse opponents was against a weakened ACC side, and their defeats at the hands of Dosti and HCC suggest that they may struggle against the powerful VRA outfit.
In Friday’s remaining Group A game, ACC are at home to Bloemendaal, and will doubtless be determined to avoid a third defeat by Hoofdklasse opposition. ACC’s season has been badly disrupted by the delays in the arrival of their two South Africans, especially in a competition where overseas players have frequently been completely dominant.
In Group B, Excelsior ’20 Schiedam need just one win from their last two games to be absolutely certain of reaching the semi-finals, and form suggests they are likely to claim it when they take on Sparta 1888 in Capelle aan den IJssel on Friday evening. Sparta’s only win so far has been against Punjab Rotterdam, and with defeats last weekend by FC Amsterdam United and HBS Den Haag they seem certain to finish in the lower half of the group.
Still second in the group despite their last-over loss to HBS last Sunday, Hermes-DVS Falcons should reinforce their claim to the other place for the finals day by beating Punjab at Sportpark Harga, setting up a great last match against Excelsior on 15 June.
But the Falcons have both HBS and VOC Rotterdam breathing down their necks, and with these sides meeting at Craeyenhout on Friday evening one of them is certain to remain a challenger into the home straight. A win for HBS would open the possibility that the second semi-final place could be settled on net run rate should Hermes lose to Excelsior in their final group game.
VOC will have one more match to play, away at Punjab on 15 June, and they too could be looking at run rates if they win both games and Excelsior take the Schiedam derby. The Craeyenhout match is therefore vital for both the participants and for the Falcons, who will no doubt be keeping an eye on events in Den Haag.
With a negative net run rate and only one match to play, Quick Haag are out of the running for the semi-finals, but they will be keen to end their campaign on a high note in Friday’s home tie against FC Amsterdam United, who are likely to finish bottom of the table unless they are able to pull off a shock and secure their second win of the competition.