The old maxim that ‘it’s always good when you have runs on the board’ was illustrated with a vengeance at Hazelaarweg on Saturday, when all three sides who batted first successfully defended their totals. VOC Rotterdam did it twice to claim the Dutch T20 Cup for the second time in three seasons.
Hosts of the finals day, VOC kicked off proceedings by posting 141 for four after Salland’s Victor Lubbers had won the toss and elected to have a bowl.
Max O’Dowd (37) and Corey Rutgers (65 from 48 deliveries) gave their side a fine start with a stand of 80 in twelve overs, and Rutgers and Scott Edwards then added another 40 from 22 deliveries before Rutgers, having slog-swept Talha Ahmed Khan for six off the previous ball, was trapped in front by the left-arm spinner.
Salland did well to limit the damage in the closing overs, Victor Lubbers, the pick of the bowlers with just 13 from his four overs, Akhil Gopinath and Sahir Naqash all cutting out the boundaries as just 14 runs came from the final three.
Rutgers and Ahsan Malik kept the scoring down in the power play when Salland replied, and there were just 19 on the board when, towards the end of the fifth over, Rutgers secured the first breakthrough.
Naqash did his best to keep the chase moving, making 43 from 28 deliveries, but when he was sixth out with the total on 75, 67 were still needed with only six overs remaining.
Gul Nasir stayed to the finish with 26 not out, but wickets kept falling at the other end, and with Jelte Schoonheim taking two for 16 from four overs and Ramdas Upadhyaya two for 18 from three, the innings closed on 117 for nine.
There was a greater discrepancy in the second semi-final, where an HBS Craeyenhout total of 165 for three proved much too great for Punjab Rotterdam, who could only manage 83 for nine in reply.
After winning the toss HBS suffered an early setback when Tobias Visée holed out to Steph Myburgh at cow off Suleiman Tari, but Tayo Walbrugh (42 from 33) and Wesley Barresi put on 56 for the second wicket, and after Walbrugh had had his middle stump uprooted by Mubashar Hussain and Navjit Singh had quickly fallen to Saqib Zulfiqar, Barresi and Ryan Klein added an undefeated 78 for the fourth.
Barresi ended on 59 not out from 46 deliveries, while Klein contributed 43 not out from 28.
Punjab were soon in trouble, Rehmat Zulfiqar falling as he cut Klein uppishly to Benno Boddendijk in the gully and Myburgh clipping Ferdi Vink off his toes to Stephan Vink at midwicket.
The Topklasse leaders never really recovered from this double setback, and with Sander Geenevasen taking four for 16 in four overs, Stephan Vink two for 12 in four and all but one of the HBS bowlers going at fewer than five runs and over, they were never remotely in the hunt.
So it was a repeat of the 2019 final, and in the end it produced the same result.
Rutgers and O’Dowd again started briskly, putting on 62 in 6.4 overs before Rutgers lofted Ferdi Vink to Barresi at deep midwicket and departed for a 22-ball 34.
O’Dowd stayed until the penultimate over, his 60 coming from 48 balls and including three fours and three sixes, but in the end his attempt to clear the boundary for a fourth time only carried as far as Reece Mason on the long on boundary.
Tim de Kok had meanwhile contributed 26, and VOC closed on 151 for six.
Rutgers gave his side a perfect start to the HBS reply when Visée hit the first delivery to Ayaz Durrani at cover point, and when Barresi was bowled by Rohan Malik soon afterwards the Crows’ hopes seemed to rest almost wholly on Walbrugh’s shoulders.
He responded with a 39-ball 50, but the remainder of the HBS batting struggled against a persistent VOC attack, Upadhyaya, Schoonheim and Dirk van Baren, the latter back from suspension in time for the final, all claiming two wickets as HBS were dismissed for 105 and lost by 46 runs.
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