Van Buuren, Bukhari take ACC clear
Leaders ACC emerged one point clear at the top of the Topklasse table after winning twice at the weekend, with Dosti Amsterdam and Excelsior ’20 Schiedam also registering two victories to move into the top four with two matches to play.
It was a weekend of dramatic batting collapses, none more so than that by HCC on Sunday, who lost their last seven wickets for 7 runs to plunge to defeat at the hands of Quick Haag.
This was perhaps one of the matches on Sunday where it could be argued that the outcome was affected by the band of rain which passed northwards across the country, interrupting all four games and producing four Duckworth/Lewis results.
When the rain reached De Diepput HCC were on 58 for one, chasing a Quick total of 199 for eight in which the key innings had been Amol Muzumdar’s 58. With Tom de Grooth and Rassie van der Dussen at the crease and 142 needed off 35 overs, HCC appeared to be well placed for victory.
But when they returned the target had been adjusted to 122 off 27 overs, and when HCC reached 106 the match was suddenly turned by spinner Lesley Stokkers, who removed both Van der Dussen and De Grooth (the latter for 58) and went on to claim two more wickets, finishing with four for 23, as HCC were dismissed for 130.
It was, in fact, HCC’s second batting collapse of the weekend, as on Saturday they had slumped from 101 for three to 126 all out as they chased Excelsior ‘20’s relatively modest total of 162. In that case it was the seam bowling of Tom Heggelman (three for 17) and Brett Hampton (three for 21) which did most of the damage.
Excelsior had recovered from a disastrous start, finding themselves on 13 for three with Reinier Bijloos again claiming early wickets, and needed a patient 35 from Fred Klokker and a fighting 55 from Rudi Hillermann to set what proved to be a winning target.
The Schiedam side also suffered early losses on Sunday against VOC Rotterdam, but a substantial partnership between Daan van Bunge (82) and Klokker (63) enabled them to reach 223 for eight.
VOC began their reply promisingly and reached 48 for one before the rain intervened, and they returned needing a further 109 from 18.2 overs. But Julien Halkes took five for 19 for Excelsior, and the Rotterdammers finished on 121 for nine.
It was their second defeat of the weekend, and the tenth in succession, leaving them pointless at the foot of the table and almost certain to be relegated for the first time in more than forty years. Their woes have been deepened by the loss of Timm van der Gugten, whose season has been ended by the ankle injury he sustained bowling against Gloucestershire ten days ago.
Despite that VOC bowled well against ACC on Saturday, restricting the leaders to a total of 190 for nine, of which François Le Clus made 49 and Ollie Lodder 47. But it is the batting which has been VOC’s problem all season, and this time they were demolished by the pace of Mudassar Bukhari, who took four for 23, and the spin of Graeme van Buuren (three for 33), and were all out for 132.
Van Buuren and Bukhari were at it again against Hermes-DVS Schiedam on Sunday, but this time it was the former’s prowess with the bat which initially took the limelight.
Opening with club coach Anton Roux, Van Buuren took full advantage of three dropped catches as he smashed a run-a-ball 138 not out, which included six fours and six sixes. He and Roux (56) put on 137 for the first wicket, and it was largely his aggression, with useful contributions from Le Clus and Bas van der Heijde, which enabled ACC to reach an imposing 248 for three.
Then Bukhari took over, taking four for 6 in an initial four-over spell to reduce Hermes to 24 for four. They were 44 for five when rain stopped play, and at the resumption they needed an impossible 189 from 112 deliveries. Jasper Beijer made a battling 27 not out, but Rehan Younis took three for 15 and Bukhari returned to claim the final wicket and finish with the extraordinary figures of five for 7. His weekend had yielded nine wickets for just 30 runs.
It was a wretched two days for Hermes, who lost to Dosti Amsterdam on Saturday as well and now have only an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.
A splendid 92 not out from Greg Todd enabled them to reach 218 for eight at Sportpark Drieburg, but 46 from Mehmood Sadiq and 52 from David Wiese enabled Dosti to claim the points with a four-wicket victory.
Stands of 64 between Mohammad Wasim and Sadiq and 89 between Wiese and Mohammad Hafeez were the foundation of their win, but when Wiese and Hafeez were out in quick succession with 14 runs still needed Hermes briefly had a scent of victory. Mohammad Rafi finished it off, however, and Dosti won with 20 deliveries to spare.
Dosti’s victory over Hermes was significant for their chances of finishing in the top four, but not nearly as important as their win against VRA Amsterdam on Sunday.
VRA, without Tom Cooper, player-coach Barry Rhodes and seamer Amil Prasad, had resisted a strong challenge from Quick Haag on Saturday, a century stand from Eric Szwarczynski (32) and Wesley Barresi (76) taking them to 165 despite another remarkable spell from Quick’s Edgar Schiferli, who took four for 27 including three wickets in four balls.
This proved to be enough, as an all-round bowling performance in which wickets were claimed by six of the nine bowlers used by Peter Borren saw the home side dismissed for 136.
But on Sunday, another of the weekend’s dramatic batting collapses saw VRA subside from 101 for two to 111 for nine, and only a fighting 34 from Peter Borren enabled them to reach a modest 140. Amit Uniyal was the destroyer for Dosti with five for 23.
Mohammad Wasim anchored the Dosti reply with an unbeaten 49 and with rain on the way the visitors ensured that they kept wickets in hand. They were on 113 for two when rain ended the match after 30 overs, with Wiese on 34, and that meant they were a substantial 49 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score.