Topklasse clubs largely had things their own way when the group phase of the Dutch T20 Cup got under way on Saturday, with no sign of giant-killing from their lower-division opponents.
Dutch T20 Cup Holders VRA Amsterdam, for instance, beat Hoofdklasse side Ghausia Rotterdam by seven wickets in a Group D match in Amstelveen, restricting the visitors to 104 for eight and knocking off the runs in 15 overs.
Most of Ghausia’s resistance came from former youth international Asad Saleemi, who made 40 and then removed Vikram Singh with the first ball of VRA’s reply.
When Babar Ali bowled Shirase Rasool with the total on 5 it looked briefly as if the Rotterdammers might be able to defend their low total, but Zamaan Khan held firm, and once he was joined by Mitch Lees the moment of danger had passed. Khan finished on 49 not out, with Lees on 36, made from 26 deliveries with six fours, at the other end.
The other match in Group D featured a clash between two of the Hoofklasse’s leading contenders for promotion to next year’s Topklasse, with Hermes-DVS Schiedam gaining revenge for their opening-day, Tim David-inspired defeat at the hands of Quick Haag.
Batting first at Nieuw Hanenburg after winning the toss Hermes posted 153 for four, with useful contributions from Zaffar Chaudhary (36), Muhammad Yaqoobi (33) and Olivier Elenbaas (36 not out), with Netherlands international Sebastiaan Braat chipping in with a 12-ball 24.
Quick could only manage 140 for seven in reply, Daan Vierling top-scoring with 29 and Chaudhary completing a valuable all-round performance with three for 24.
In Group A Punjab Rotterdam were able to restrict Rood en Wit Haarlem to 90 for five in a match restricted to 16 overs a side, despite a splendid knock of 52 not out in 40 deliveries from Ben Thornton, who hit two fours and two sixes.
The Haarlemmers did well to remove Stef Myburgh, Rehmat and Asad Zulfiqar and Teja Nidamanuru by the time the total was 45, but Yasir Usman’s 15-ball, unbeaten 35, including five sixes, with support from Sikander Zulfiqar saw the Topklasse leaders home by six wickets with 21 deliveries to spare.
In what has some claim to be regarded as the ‘Group of Death’ – VOC Rotterdam had a bye in the first round – Voorburg coped efficiently with the challenge of Hoofdklasse opponents Bloemendaal, skittling them to just 71 and reaching their target in 10 overs for the loss of two wickets.
Sajjad Kamal took three for 10 in his four overs for Voorburg and Floris de Lange four for 16 from three, and De Lange then joined with Righardt Pieterse in seeing his side home.
HCC were similarly untroubled in Group B by Cup debutants Qui Vive Amsterdam, the sole representatives of the Eerste Klasse (Third Division), bowling them out for 77 at De Diepput and needing just 11 overs to complete an eight-wicket victory.
Qui Vive were unable to cope with the wiles of Clayton Floyd, the leading wicket-taker in the Topklasse, who claimed four for 5 from twelve deliveries; Hemanth Kakarlapudi was the only batter to look at all comfortable, making a 29-ball 32 not out.
Tonny Staal’s unbeaten, 34-ball 44 then ensured that HCC reached their target with a minimum of fuss.
Hoofdklasse side VVV Amsterdam put up more of a fight, restricting last year’s finalists Sparta 1888 to 135 for eight, of which Garnett Tarr contributed 74 from 49 deliveries and Mudassar Bukhari 49, with Nikhil Gangta taking four for 18.
But the Amsterdammers were soon reduced to 57 for six in reply, Manminder Singh taking three for 22, and although the tail fought hard, Mohsin Ghaznavi top-scoring with 22, the innings closed on 117 for nine.
There was just one match in Group C, which has been badly disrupted by the late withdrawal of Amsterdam sides Dosti and Groen en Wit, and Kampong Utrecht collapsed to 67 all out at Maarschalkerweerd to lose by 53 runs to Salland Deventer in a clash between Hoofdklasse sides.
Salland made 120 for nine after winning the toss, German international pair Hamid Wardak and Talha Ahmed contributing 23 and 26 respectively, with Kertan Nana taking three for 20 for the home side.
Despite Victor Lubbers claiming two quick wickets Kampong were well placed at 53 for three in reply, but Elam Bharathi’s two for 11 and Akhil Gopinath’s three for 10 turned the game back Salland’s way, the last seven wickets falling for just 14 runs.
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