– updated with live stream links 5 Sep-
The Dutch T20 Cup will be decided for the fourteenth time at Voorburg’s Westvliet ground on Saturday, with the traditional format of two semi-finals culminating in the final.
Semi Final 1 preview – HBS vs VRA:
Two former winners will contest the first semi-final, with 2019 champions and last year’s beaten finalists HBS Craeyenhout taking on VRA Amsterdam, who took the title three times in succession between 2010 and 2012.
HBS reached the final by beating one of the two Hoofdklasse sides to qualify for last Saturday’s quarter-finals, VVV Amsterdam, by six wickets.
VVV reached 137 for seven, due mainly to Shahrukh Akhtar’s 54 not out, but a well-paced reply saw HBS home with an over to spare, Navjit Singh top-scoring with 34.
VRA’s seven-wicket victory over Punjab Rotterdam followed a similar course: Punjab’s 140 for eight was built on Saqib Zulfiqar’s 46-ball 57, which included six fours and a six, with Peter Borren taking three for 28 and 14-year-old left-arm spinner Luke Hartsink three for 24.
Ben Cooper then steered his side to the win with 62 from 45 deliveries, hitting four fours and two sixes and sharing a stand of 67 with Vikram Singh (31).
HBS will again be handicapped on Saturday by the absence of their meteoric captain, Tobias Visée, who has damaged a tendon in his hand.
They have been boosted, however, by the emergence of Julian de Mey as a middle-order batsman, and while he and Navjit Singh lack Visée’s explosive power, they are capable of contributing significant innings.
In Cooper and Borren VRA have potential trump cards with huge experience behind them, and Borren’s captaincy of a side which combines that experience with several teenage talents – Vikram Singh and Hartsink the most notable of them – is effectively a weapon on its own.
Both sides have performed inconsistently during the short Topklasse season and the outcome here may turn on which switches on more comprehensively.
Semi Final 2 preview – Sparta 1888 vs VCC:
The second Dutch T20 Cup semi-final pits hosts Voorburg against Sparta 1888, sides which finished third and fourth in the now-completed Topklasse competition.
Much attention will centre on Sparta’s Lenert van Wyk, whose unbeaten 118 against ACC in last week’s quarter-final brought his tally for the competition to 482: his Bradmanesque scores have been 102, 108 not out, 80, 3, 71 and 118 not out.
Voorburg, who had the better of Hoofdklasse side Bloemendaal in a quarter-final reduced by rain to six overs apiece, will need to pick up Van Wyk’s wicket early if they are to have a serious chance of reaching the final.
With their new-ball attack of Viv Kingma and Ali Ahmed Qasim the Voorburgers have the potential to do just that, and their captain Bas de Leede will also be a key factor with both ball and bat, his 18-ball 32 not out having seen off Bloemendaal’s challenge.
But Sparta have more shots in their locker than just Van Wyk, with former international Mudassar Bukhari still capable of winning matches on their own, Ali Raza, one of the most destructive batsmen on the current scene, and an attack which also includes seamers Max Hoornweg and Joost Martijn Snoep, and spinner Manminder Singh.
If Voorburg’s international leg-spinner Philippe Boissevain is still sidelined by an ankle injury that will leave a significant hole in their attack, and their young batting line-up may struggle to make enough runs to trouble their opponents.
On the other hand, if Tom de Grooth plays there would be many who would love to see one more hurrah from the man who was Player of the Match in the Netherlands’ epic victory over England at Lord’s in 2009.
Dutch T20 Cup Finals Day Live Streaming
All live streams are on our live page – including links to scorecards and the KNCB’s match centre. Semi final 1 starts at 10:00 CEST.
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originally published 2 September