Denmark lose twice in Amsterdam
VRA Amsterdam maintained their superiority over Denmark with two victories in Amstelveen over the weekend, winning a close-fought game by three wickets on Saturday and then taking the second match with a more comfortable six-wicket margin on Sunday.
On Saturday Danish skipper Freddie Klokker won the toss and elected to bat, and, fresh from his maiden first-class century for Derbyshire, looked in good form as he and Michael Pedersen put on 34 for the first wicket. But then he was run out as, going for an over-ambitious second, he failed to beat Adeel Raja's throw.
Pedersen soon followed, bowled by Victor Grandia for 18, and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as VRA reduced the visitors to 115 for six by the 30th over. Leg spinner Mangesh Panchal again bowled well, finishing with none for 29 from a ten-over spell, while at the other end Raja took two for 16 in a first spell of six overs.
Max Overgaard contributed a solid 34 for the Danes, but after he went it was Thomas Hansen and Yasir Iqbal who gave respectability to their side's total, putting on 57 for the seventh wicket in sixteen overs.
Hansen reached a well-deserved fifty, and went on to make 70, off 75 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes, before he was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings, Ryan Maron hitting the stumps direct with a return from the midwicket boundary.
Bashir Shah, playing his first game for Denmark, struck his first ball, and the last of the innings, for six, and the Danes finished on 231 for nine.
Tjade Groot and Wesley Barresi put on 59 for the first wicket in VRA's reply, Barresi hitting 37 off 33 balls in a sustained display of aggression. He was eventually clean bowled off a no-ball from Hendrik Saxe Hansen, but then clipped the next delivery straight to Carsten Pedersen at cover point.
Hansen was bowling well, and was rewarded with the further wickets of Eric Szwarczynski and then Groot, finishing with three for 36 from his ten overs. Bashir Shah removed Peter Borren and Maron, and with Zishan Shah coming back to dismiss Andy Gilder the Amsterdam side were 110 for six and in some danger of defeat.
They were rescued by a 64-run partnership between Garth Brown and Victor Grandia, the latter batting making an excellent 40 from 33 balls before he was bowled by Iqbal. Raja now gave Brown further support, and these two added 51, with Raja making 22 before edging Michael Pedersen to Klokker with only seven runs required.
Brown was still there, however, and reached his half-century as he hit the winning four in the 45th over. His 53 not out came from 73 balls, with just three fours.
Klokker again opted to bat first in Sunday's match, which was played on turf rather than on the artificial surface which had been used the day before.
This time he played a real captain's innings, making 78 before he was fifth out in the fortieth over with the total on 138. The Danes found the going tough against some fairly tight VRA bowling, especially from Remco de Graaff, who bowled Michael Pedersen with the second ball of the game and whose first seven-over spell yielded figures of one for 12.
But Klokker and Overgaard put on 86 for the third wicket in a solid stand, Overgaard making 31 before he was trapped leg-before by Borren.
Once Klokker had gone, Thomas Hansen and Anders Rasmussen contributed valuable runs, with Rasmussen hitting 29 off 27 balls and seeing the side through to 200 before eventually holing out at long on in the final over. The total of 204 for eight was better than had seemed likely in the middle part of the innings, but was unlikely to be enough in conditions generally favourable for batting.
Although the Danes removed both VRA openers with just 45 on the board, Barresi going for a marginally more circumspect 25, Szwarczynski and skipper Darrin Murray steadied the ship with a 53-run partnership for the third wicket.
Szwarczynski was eventually bowled by Bashir Shah for 48, but although Borren did not last long, Murray was again in great form. He reached 80 for the third time in as many innings this season, hitting seven fours and three sixes and seeing his side home in the 41st over.
He was given good support in the closing stages by Maron, who made 24 not out.
For Denmark, Niels Peter Kopperholdt bowled a steady spell for figures of one for 14 of six overs and Rasmussen conceded just 25 off his eight overs and also took one wicket.
The weekend gave the Danish side a valuable work-out in a year which will culminate in the World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Namibia in Novermber, while it confirmed that VRA will again be a force to be reckoned with in the Hoofdklasse this season. Denmark return to The Netherlands in mid-June to take on the full Dutch side in two internationals in Utrecht.