ACC, Dosti cause the first Topklasse upsets
The first real shocks of the Topklasse season came on Sunday, with defending champions VRA Amsterdam losing at home to ACC and Excelsior ’20 Schiedam succumbing to a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of promoted side Dosti Amsterdam.
ACC were at last able to welcome back their South African overseas players Graeme van Buuren and François Le Clus, and Van Buuren in particular had a key role in his side’s five-wicket victory over a VRA team weakened by the absence of skipper Peter Borren and batsman Matthijs Luten through injury and illness respectively.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, stand-in captain Eric Szwarczynski saw his side make a good start thanks to contributions of 31 from Tom Cooper and 36 from Wesley Barresi, but then they collapsed in the face of the pace of Mudassar Bukhari and the left-arm spin of Van Buuren.
Both ACC bowlers claimed four wickets, Bukhari at a cost of 25 runs and Van Buuren of 19, as VRA were dismissed for 119. Then Van Buuren made an unbeaten 33 as ACC chased down their target in just 26.5 overs.
Top flight cricket returned to Sportpark Drieburg in style, with Dosti laying the foundations of a splendid victory over Excelsior with an excellent bowling performance. David Wiese and Victor Grandia removed both openers with 29 on the board, but it was the spin trio of Sridharan Sriram, Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Rafi who turned the screw, conceding only 81 runs in 28 overs to contain the powerful Excelsior batting line-up.
Sriram took one for 21 and Hafeez two for 24 in their ten overs, and only Daan van Bunge, with a 40-ball 31, was really able to take them on. Fred Klokker held things together with a patient 99-ball knock of 46, and towards the end Brett Hampton contributed 29 from only 26 deliveries.
But then Wiese returned to clean up, finishing the innings on 183 by bowling Hampton, and ending with four for 37.
Dosti made a disastrous start to their reply, Hampton removing both openers before they had scored and Rudi Hillermann dismissing the dangerous Mehmood Sadiq to leave the home side reeling on 7 for three.
That was Excelsior’s last success, however, as Wiese and Sriram produced a magnificent, unbroken 177-run fourth-wicket partnership to take the game away from the visitors. Both batsmen displayed the full range of their strokes, with Sriram the first to reach his half-century but then being completely overtaken by Wiese.
The South African allrounder’s first fifty came from 57 deliveries, but he required just 35 more to go to his hundred, hitting 16 fours and a six in all to end on 108 not out. Sriram, who was content to play a supporting role in the closing stages, ended on 66 not out, made from 89 balls with seven fours.
HCC ensured that they would share top place in the table with ACC, as the only two unbeaten sides, with a last-over, two-wicket win over VOC Rotterdam at De Diepput. Rassie van der Dussen saw them to victory with an unbeaten 96 as the Hagenaars made 207 for eight in reply to VOC’s 203, reaching their target with three balls to spare.
Van der Dussen was supported by Cameron Borgas with 33, while for VOC Tim van der Gugten secured his first five-wicket haul, taking five for 29.
Earlier, VOC captain Maarten van Ierschot had made 37 and Sherry Butt 39 as the Rotterdam side fought their way to 203, Reinier Bijloos again among the wickets for HCC with three for 46.
There was another tight game at Sportpark Harga, where Hermes-DVS also completed a two-wicket victory over Quick Haag, although they had a little more breathing space – the winning runs came in the 48th over.
The Schiedammers’ win came despite a century from Quick’s Amol Muzumdar, who hit nine boundaries in his 123-ball knock of 104. He was well supported early on by opener Geert Maarten Mol, but once he departed for 24 brothers Pieter and Harro Seelaar instigated a middle-order collapse as Quick slumped from 81 for two to 104 for six.
Lesley Stokkers and Thijs van Schelven chipped in in the latter stages, helping Muzumdar to get the total up to 177 before he was eighth out, and then Van Schelven smacked a couple of sixes to finish the innings with the Quick score on 200 for nine. Pieter Seelaar took four for 26 for Hermes, and Harro two for 36.
Hermes made a slightly shaky start to their response, but a third-wicket partnership of 139 between Greg Todd (74) and Nick Statham (48) put them on the road to victory, and although they were both eventually dismissed by Edgar Schiferli and wickets tumbled thereafter, Mark Craig and Bart Schilperoord were able to get them over the finishing line.
Schiferli finished with three for 34, and there were three wickets as well for Quick captain Henk-Jan Mol, whose three for 40 brought his career tally of wickets in the top flight to 301.