The highly anticipated contest between Stray Lions Cricket Club and Kanbis Sports Club in the ongoing Npca T20 League turned out to be a one-sided thriller that saw the defending champions cop up a historic seven-wicket hammering.
The match, strategically shifted to Sikh Union Club from the hosts’ grounds at Peponi School saw Kanbis Sports Club bundled out for a lowly 85 runs in 18.1 overs. Narendra Kerai (17) was the first to be dismissed, caught by Collins Obuya off Ibrahim Akello as he tried to loft him out of the park, only to sky the ball within the square in the fifth over. His opening partner, Dhiren Gondaria (05) departed five balls later, via a spectacular run in catch from Praveen Kumar on the ropes.
At 2/21 entered Rakep Patel who steadied the innings with Nelson Odhiambo, rotating the strike to add 33 runs to the third wicket before a bowling change saw Patel play to Bansi Patel at square leg off Sagar Muley’s first ball, having managed 26 runs off 21 balls, inclusive of three boundaries. Odhiambo stayed put until the 17th over when Hiren Varaiya struck to have him bowled on 17 runs off 28 deliveries, the scoreboard effectively reading 9/79.
At his best, Varaiya came back for a fourth to bag four wickets from a maiden over that included two off two balls. in spite of missing his hatrick, Varaiya bowled a terrific spell with turn and variation that additionally had Ramesh Mepani (01) bullet back his first delivery, Gautam Bhudia bowled for a golden duck and Rajesh Varsani caught by Collins Obuya at long-on.
Ibrahim Akello and Bilal Habib bagged 2/09 and 2/12 from their six overs combined, while Sagar Muley bagged 2/12 from 3.1 overs. In reply, Stray Lions had a false start when Akshay Tembhekar was caught short of his crease by Rajesh Bhudia in just the fourth ball of the innings for a duck. Seven balls later with only fifteen runs on the board, Praveen Kumar (08) played back to Rakep Patel in his bowling stride bringing skipper Collins Obuya to the crease.
With all to play for, Collins Obuya smacked an unbelievable, chanceless 29-ball 54, his first half century in this format, capitalizing with four boundaries and five maximums to take his team over the rope in just 9.3 overs, their quickest run-chase of the season. Unbeaten on the other side was his elder sibling, David Obuya (15*), contributing to their unbeaten 57-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Gautam Bhudia (1/08) and Rakep Patel (1/11) were the stand-out bowlers for Kanbis in their combined four overs.
Swamibapa humiliate Sikh Union
The super division of the ongoing Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) T20 League wound up its penultimate Saturday preliminary round matches this past weekend. An unexpected loss to Kenya Kongonis Cricket Club headlined the matches, an embarrassing loss to Sikh Union Club while Nairobi Gymkhana and Stray Lions Cricket Club won big.
Sikh Union Club continued with their torrid run form, succumbing to an embarrassing 105-run defeat away to Swamibapa Sports Club at the Nairobi Jafferey Academy. In spite of Swamibapa electing to bat on familiar turf, Sikh Union managed to bowl them out for 139 runs, courtesy of a steely half century from Alex Obanda, his fourth of the season. With opening partner Nicholas Oluoch copping a golden duck, Obanda went on to add 38 runs to the third wicket with Rikesh Kahar (09) before he was dismissed on 76 runs off 56 balls that comprised of four boundaries and two maximums.
Emmanuel Bundi (15) was the next top scorer as Zahid Abbas spun his way to 3/20 for Sikh Union. In reply, Elijah Otieno paced himself to a terrific line that yielded 6/14 off just 2.3 overs to have Sikh Union wrapped up for a measly 34 runs in just 8.3 overs. James Ngoche backed up the bowling with 3/09 off three overs as the visitors registered five ducks and a top score of 11 from Gurdeep Singh.
This was Sikh Union’s second consecutive loss after last week’s to Ruaraka, bringing their tally to four losses from five matches.
Kenya Kongonis Cricket Club kept their loss tally rolling over the weekend when they suffered a 15-run loss playing away to Ruaraka Sports Club on Saturday. Budding all-rounder Tony Ochieng’ (38) stirred up his batting to lead Ruaraka to 5/151 off their 20 overs. Purshotam Vekaria added 25 runs while Tushar Vaghani was unbeaten on 23.
Kongonis’ pursuit of the score set off in the right direction with skipper Shem Obado and Chris Childs putting on a 47-run opening partnership before the former was dismissed for 32 runs. Childs added a further 30 runs to the third wicket with Dominic Wesonga (11) before Newton Muthee contributed 15 runs at the tail.
However, with wickets tumbling frequently, Childs had to contend with staying unbeaten two runs short of a half century as Kongonis finished on 6/136. Martin Mworia picked 2/22 for the visitors as Harish Rabadia bagged 2/12 for the hosts.
Stray Lions Cricket Club’s hunt for bonus points this time round took them to Samaj grounds where they wrapped up victory in 12 overs to bag a fourth consecutive one.
A comfortable opening partnership of 38 runs between Rahul Rabadia (27) and Chirag Pindoria (18) bowled off Samaj to a good start before skipper Collins Obuya dismissed the former by a return catch. The match went downhill from there on for Samaj, losing 4/16 to find themselves at a precarious 5/66 in 13.2 overs. A rearguard effort from Rashmin Bhuva produced a 21-ball 20 but the hosts stumbled yet again to lose their bottom half for only 11 runs as David Obuya stormed into the action to effect five stumpings.
Sagar Muley made a grand entrance to the Lions’ den with 3/14 off his three overs while Bilal Habib added 2/13 off three overs to his wicket tally. Stray Lions wrapped up victory in just 12 overs despite losing five wickets in the process with Praveen Kumar finishing unbeaten on 32 runs from 31 balls. Debutant Akshay Jhambekar converted his fruitless fortunes with the ball to a 14-ball 30 that included five boundaries and a first-ball maximum.
Jay Raghwani was the star with the ball, bagging 4/32 for Samaj in a fantastic spell that had all his victims dismissed via catches.
Over at Forest Road, the neighbourly duel between Premier Club and Nairobi Gymkhana sealed a fourth convincing victory for Gymkhana, setting their highest total while at it, 3/202.
Electing to bat, skipper Karan Kaul led from the front with a 37-ball 49 before he was the last to depart with the scoreboard on 180 runs. Currently on a tremendous form, Irfan Karim contributed a 37-ball 49 before he was caught off Ankit Patel in the 11th over. Prashant Srinivas added a 25-ball 26 before limping off on a sore knee, breaking off his 75-run partnership to the third wicket with his skipper.
Premier’s sloppy bowling contributed to their undoing, accumulating 37 negligibles which were highlighted by 21 wides. Despite the hail or runs, Ankit Patel (2/38) and Vijay Patel (1/24) stood out with the ball for the hosts. In reply, Premier looked good on a 35-run opening partnership between Darshit Patel (22) and Parth Patel (17) but losing 3/16 had their middle order crumbling with the board on 4/53 after 11 overs. Raj Savala and Nikul Patel spun their way to 4/23 and 3/27 respectively, engineering the hosts’ mid-bottom order collapse.
Even Sandip Patel’s 20-ball 33 was not enough to stitch the innings, only aiding in a 41-run partnership to the 5th wicket with Ankit Patel (11) as the hosts folded for only half the score in 18.2 overs.
Sunday wrapped up the penultimate weekend of the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) T20 League preliminary matches with exhilarating wins for Swamibapa Sports Club and Kongonis Cricket Club. A tense, albeit thrilling encounter at the Nairobi Gymkhana saw Swamibapa Sports Club outmanouver the hosts by 22 runs to maintain their hold at the top of the table.
Some quality bowling from Nairobi Gymkhana meant that Swamibapa could only manage a competitive 7/135 from their 20 overs. A shaky start saw them lose Saumil Patel (07) who was landed in Irfan Karim’s gloves and Nicholas Oluoch (00),bowled two balls later all in the fifth over by Bhavya Thaker.
Alex Obanda then muscled up a 35-ball 27 inclusive of four boundaries on his way to rebuilding the innings with a 38-run partnership for the third wicket with Morris Ouma (14). Rakesh Kahar (23) and Nehemiah Odhiambo (09) then added 30 runs to the fifth wicket before Emmanuel Bundi joined the party, finishing unbeaten on 26 runs.
Bhavya Thaker had impressive figures of 3/14 from his entire contribute while Nikul Patel bagged 2/28. In pursuit of the target, Gymkhana lost Abdul Najmi (05) and Kavi Dosaja (02) cheaply with only 28 runs on the board. Star batsman, Irfan Karim (23), was run out by Morris Ouma in the eighth over, leaving his skipper Karan Kaul (35) to soldier it out to the 18th over. Kaul managed a 45-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Lucas Oluoch who stayed unbeaten on a 25-ball 24.
With 52 runs required off the last four overs, the target look achievable with the set batsmen in play but the return of Nehemiah Odhiambo to the run up killed their dreams when he had Kaul caught by Nicholas Oluoch off his fourth over, in an economical spell of 2/07 off his last two overs.
Elijah Otieno completed his spell on 1/17 after coming back to concede just four runs in the penultimate over of the second innings. At Nairobi Club, Kenya Kongonis Cricket Club were back to winning ways with dominant in a 8-wicket win over SCLPS after four consecutive losses since their opening win against Sikh Union Club. SCLPS managed to ruffle up 7/97 as the Kongonis trio of Martin Mworia (2/15), Martin Okoth (2/15) and Dominic Wesonga combined their ten overs to bowl a fiery spell.
With the top – middle order crumbling at 5/41, a seemingly fruitless effort from the bottom yielded runs from Hiren Vekaria (29), Ravi Rabadia (22) and Kaushik Hirani (20).
Kongonis made quick-work of the total, pummeling Samaj’s bowlers to nail down victory in just 14 overs, losing only two wickets in the process. Shem Obado highlighted his return to form with an unbeaten 24-ball 43 inclusive of six boundaries and two maximums with James Whitnel making 25. Promoted to opening the innings in the absence of regular opener Chris Childs, Emmanuel Opura made an important 18 runs, with a 47-run opening stand alongside his skipper Shem Obado. Shyam Rabadia picked respectable figures of 1/03 off his two overs for SCLPS.