Dosti-United opened their Topklasse defence by crushing VOC in the space of just 12.2 overs, in an opening round that also saw convincing wins for Excelsior and Quick over ACC and Hermes respectively, with HCC just getting the better of VRA.

Having won the toss and elected to bat on a gloriously sunny morning at Drieburg, VOC saw Dosti's new South African signing Robbie Frylinck and Dutch international Mudassar Bukhari, both bowling unchanged, tear through their batting line up in less than 10 overs.

New-ball pair Bukhari and Frylinck recorded figures of 5-9-5 and 5-8-4.5 respecively as VOC were skittled for just 17 runs total, the lowest innings total recorded in top-level Dutch cricket since the war.

Bobby Hanif gave VOC a quantum of consolation with the wicket of Rahil Ahmed on the second ball of the chase (if one can call it that) but it took the defending champions just 2.3 overs to overhaul the target in the end, Sherry Butt and Mahesh Hans the game's top-scorers with 10

The entire match had taken barely just 12.2 overs to complete and lasted barely an hour, including the innings break, most certainly a record in top level cricket in the Netherlands. The win, unsurprisingly, leaves Dosti leading the table with 2 points and a healthy net run rate of 7.67.

Meanwhile at Sportpark Harga, where Quick Haag were playing “at home” to Hermes-DVS owing to field availability issues at Nieuw Hanenburg, Bob van Gigch was closing in on his Maiden Topklasse century. By the time Hans and Butt were performing the last rites at Drieburg, Quick were 145-1 after just 17 overs, van Gigch's 55-ball century providing the bulk of the runs.

The returning Lesley Stokkers provided support with a rather more settled 31 agaist his former club, and after van Gigch eventually fell for 113, Tim Gruijters and Wesley Barresi kept the runs flowing, both passing 50 as Quick pushed toward 300.

Gruijters made 56 before becoming the first of three quick wickets, one each for Elenbaas and Mustafa Nesaar, punctuted by a run-out, and with the score at 270-6 it looked like Hermes might just hold Quick to under 300. But Barresi pushed on with with support from Daan Vierling, making 69 before falling to Nesaar, and passing 5,000 top-division runs in the process. Vierling pushed on with the tail, and Quick's eventual total of 332-8 looked more or less unassailable.

So it would prove in the end, though so long as Stephan Myburgh and Nick Statham were at the crease Hermes looked well in the game. Recovering from the early loss on Maninder Singh the pair put on 153 runs at nearly a run-a-ball to take the hosts to 159-1 in 27 overs.

Tim Gruijters would find the breakthrough however, having Statham caught-and-bowled in the 2 8th, and the momentum deserted Hermes. Myburgh holed out two overs later off Stokkers shortly after completing his century, having made 102 in 93 balls. Thereafter the traffic was mostly one way, as though Hermes' young line-up offered creditable resistance, the run rate plummeted and the target receded into the distance, Hermes eventually finishing on 212-7 as Quick completed a 111-run win.

Excelsior '20 also recorded what on any other day would be described as a comprehensive win at Thurlede, bowling ACC out for 121 runs and taking just 19.1 overs to chase them down, for the loss of a single wicket.

Rens van Troost and newcomer Sohail Bhatti were the pick of the Excelior attack, van Troost finding the early breakthrough to remove Saqib Zulfiqar in the 6th over with just 16 on the board, profiting from the pressure provided by Tom Heggelman's consecutive maidens at the other end, before Bhatti found 3 consecutive wickets to thwart the ACC recovery dismissing Asad Zulfiqar, coach JP de Villiers and skipper Usman Malik in succession to reduce ACC to 80-4. From there the middle order and tail capitulated in short order, van Troost returning to warp things up, claiming the final two wickets to finish with figures of 3-19.

Excelsior wasted little time in chasing down the runs, Tim Etman and Roel Verhagen's quickfire 71-run opening partnership setting the tone. Asad Zulfiqar would find ACC's only wicket of the day, trapping Etman LBW for 32, but Verhagen and Lorenzo Ingram saw Excelsior comfortably home, finishing unbeaten of 63 for 60 balls as the hosts cruised home with 30 overs to spare.

The day's only truly close-fought game would play out at Amstelveen, where VRA narrowly lost out to HCC, who chased down the hosts' 219-9 with three wickets and 9 balls to spare. The visitors looked well on top early in both innings, but the hosts came back twice to fight their way back into the game, only to fall just short.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, VRA's opening pair Adeel Raja and newcomer Ruben van der Berg started steadily, adding 32 for the first wicket, but after Ali Ahmed Qasim found the breakthrough, inducing an edge to slip form Raja, VRA's top-order fragility came to the fore. Regular wickets followed as Emile van den Burg and Eric Szwarczynski both got in and then got out, before Qasim returned to claim his second opener's wicket to reduce VRA to 71-4.

It fell to skipper Peter Borren to arrest the decline, and he rose to the challenge admirably. A circumspect partnership of 19 in 47 balls with Ashwin Oppu stabilised the innings, and when Werner Coetzee made Oppu the second of his eventual four victims, Quirijn Gunning's arrival at the crease brought much needed acceleration.

The pair's 87 run partnership took the hosts to 178-5 by the 44th over, and even the loss of Gunning, caught off Klaus for 33, did little to arrest the scoring. Despite wickets continuing to fall at the other end, Borren pressed on toward what would have been a well-deserved second Topklasse century, only to fall just short holing out off Coetzee on the last ball going for an impossible 7 over long on.

Nonetheless Borren's 93 off 102 was enough to see him to at least one personal milestone, becoming the day's second batsman to pass 5,000 top-level runs, as well as seeing his side to a respectable total of 219.

HCC looked well in control for the majority of the chase, Tom de Grooth and Tonny Staal putting on 37 for the first wicket, and Staal and coach Jonathan Vandiar putting the visitors well on top with an accelerating 110 run stand for the second. Both partnerships were eventually broken by VRA's new quick Sadiq Mahmood, finding two top edges to dismiss de Grooth and Vandiar for 27 and 61, though with half-chances and regulation catches going begging throughout the first half of the innings the hosts might well reflect that the situation after 27 overs, with HCC at 147-2, was at least partially of their own making.

With Vandiar's dismissal the fightback began however, Raja doing for Staal in the next over for runs short of his half-century, and consecutive wickets for Leon Turmaine, having Hidde Overdijk caught at slip and Coetsee smartly stumped brought VRA back into the game with HCC on 170-5 in the 36th. Borren made that 170 for 6 by trapping Kuiperi LBW next over, and expose the HCC tail. Skipper Mark Jonkman and Joost van Kessel's 37 run stand for the 7th wicket put HCC back on top however, and even Borren bowling Jonkman for 30 with 12 still needed was not enough to deny HCC, Qasim and van Kessel seeing them home with 9 balls to spare.


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