Batting first proved a winning strategy on a blazing hot Saturday, delivering remarkably one-sided wins for Quick Haag, Dosti, Hermes and VOC. The latter's 62 run win over Excelsior was the smallest winning margin, with HCC's 112 against Dosti the highest 2nd innings total of the day.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first away against ACC at het Loopveld, Quick Haag recovered from an early wobble to post 176, thanks in large part to Ryan Cartwright's counter-attacking 45 from number 10, before fellow overseas player Stephen Kriel blew away the ACC top order in a blistering spell of 5-3 early in the host's innings.

Mangaliso Mohsele and Ahmed Zulfiqar held Quick up briefly with a 39 run stand for the 6th wicket, taking the hosts to 67-5 before Jeroen Brand had Zulfiqar trapped LBW for a top-scoring 28 from 79 and the collapse continued. Kriel retuned to add the scalp of Rehmat Zulfiqar to his tally, finishing with figures of 6-12 as ACC subsided to 96 all out.

Usman Malik had been principally responsible for Quick's early worries, taking 4-29 as the visitors were reduced from 69-1 to 115-8, with Ahmed and Sikander Zulfiqar each chipping in a couple of wickets. Cartwright rallied the Haagenaars however, building partnerships with Jeroen Brand and Asief Hoseinbaks to lift Quick to an eventually more-than-adequate 176 before becoming last-man out courtesy Rehmat Zulfiqar five short of his half century.

The win leaves them level on points with defending champions Dosti-United, who similarly recovered from early difficulties to complete a convincing away-win over HCC. As with the match at het Loopveld, it fell to Dosti's second overseas to rebuild a stuttering innings. Early wickets saw Dosti reduced to 43-3, Ollie Klaus claiming the crucial wicket of Stiaan van Zyl before he could add more than a run to the total.

Werner Coetzee's spin kept the run rate down and the wickets falling in the middle overs, and Dosti looked in trouble on 124-7 when Robbie Frylinck came to the crease. Frylinck would add another 78 with the tail however, 65 from his own bat, before holing out on the last ball of the innings having muscled the total to 202 all out.

The opening combination of Bukhari and Frylinck that had seen VOC skittled for 17 two days before again bore fruit, both striking early to remove openers Tom de Grooth and Tonny Staal as HCC stumbled out of the gate. The innings never really recovered as successive HCC batsmen got in and got out, the hosts eventually limping into three figures in the 35th over before succumbing for 112 all out in 36.4.

Meanwhile at Sportpark Harga, following a brief administrative delay as a couple of under-14 players were cleared to play, a depleted VRA side elected to invite hosts Hermes-DVS to bat first, presumably in the hope of dislodging Stephan Myburgh early and running through a vulnerable-looking Hermes tail. Myburgh was not about to oblige them however, and with support from Haro Seelaar and Nick Statham took the hosts to 167 by the time the second wicket fell.

Luca Borrani stuck with him for a while longer, seeing off 15 dot balls as Myburgh added another 16 from the other end, but Peter Borren dismissed him for a duck, and thereafter the wickets duly tumbled. Hermes added a mere 42 for the next 8 wickets, Myburgh completing his second century in two games before becoming the second of Eric Szwarczynski's three victims, Borren ending with figures of 4-32 and Szwarczynski 3-40 as Hermes finished on 225 all out.

Hermes top three had done more than enough however, as the last 18 wickets of the match fell for 151 runs. Stand-in keeper Statham was called into action repeatedly, finishing with four catches and a stumping, with Ashwin Oppu and Borren's 30-run stand for the 5th wicket proved the only partnership of substance in the 2nd innings. Davi van Slobbe would account for both, with Maninder Singh claiming three quick wickets in between, as VRA collapsed from 76-4 to 96-9.

VRA youth players Salman Mizra and Lancelot Bloemen held the hosts off for a creditable ten overs and took the visitors into three figures, ensuring it would be the last of the day's matches to finish, but Hermes' 116 run victory had long been inevitable.

By then VOC Rotterdam had completed a restorative 62-run win over Excelsior '20 at Hazelaarweg, coming back from a disastrous opening match against Dosti two days earlier. VOC had looked in early trouble again, Tom Heggelman and Rens van Troost both striking early to remove openers Jelte Schoonheim and Tim Ruyters, but Dirk van Baren and returning veteran Bas Zuiderent steadied the innings, adding 45 for the third wicket to take the total to 61-2.

After Zuiderent fell to Gijs Kroesen following a sprightly 24, van Baren added another 23 with Pieter Seelaar before being run out to leave the score at 85-4. Seelaar kicked on even as Sohail Bhatti removed successive partners, Bhatti claiming 4-35 as the Excelsior tail capitulated, Seelaar eventually last man out for 58 having dragged his side to 160 in 39.4 overs.

Tim Etman and Roel Verhagen got Excelsior off to a steady start with a 40-run opening stand, but after Seelaar trapped Verhagen LWB in the 9th over the wheels came off entirely, Umar Baker the principle architect of the collapse as he took 5-17 to rip out the Excelsior middle order, reducing the visitors to 69-8. Adam Woutersen offered some late resistance with a defiant 27 from number 9, but would fail to take the visitors to triple figures, last man out as Seelaar had him caught behind in the 33rd over, Excelsior all out for 98.


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