East Africa competitions finally under way
The East Africa Cricket Competitions (EACC) kicked off last weekend in Nairobi, Mombasa and Entebbe. Four teams from Kenya and two from Uganda will battle it out over the next month and a half to be crowned 20-over East Africa Premier League (EAPL) and 50-over East Africa Cup (EAC) champions. Here is a breakdown of all the games that took place in the regional competition.
Kongonis v Kanbis Tigers – Nairobi Club
This was the tie of the weekend, with EAC defending champions Kongonis hosting newcomers Kanbis Tigers. Kanbis have been a mainstay in the Kenyan league for the past few years, sweeping most of the trophies on offer in all age categories, and their involvement in the EAC is a major boost for all. The EAPL tie took place on the Saturday and it was Kanbis who emerged victorious in this one. Kongonis batted first and got off to a poor start, after Rudd was dismissed with no score on the board. However, Alex Obanda (86) and Kongonis skipper Collins Obuya (30) steadied the ship, with the home team finishing on 153 for the loss of 4 wickets in their 20 overs. Things started off well for the Kongonis, with Mansukh Jesani departing for 2 runs; however Kanbis skipper Rakep Patel led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 94 (which included thirteen 4s and six 6s) to lead his side to victory with an over to spare.
The sides then met again on Sunday in the 50-over competition, with Kongonis scoring 158 all out in 41.5 overs with Alex Obanda top scoring with 37 runs. Kanbis however found the run chase quite easy, reaching the target in 26.5 overs with four wickets in hand.
Coast Pekee v Rift Valley Rhinos – Coast Gymkhana
Coast Pekee were the whipping boys in last season's tournament, and finished at the bottom of both the EAPL and EAC. However this year they have been boosted by the return of players such as Captain Morris Ouma and former Kenyan skipper Jimmy Kamande, whose experience and skill will hopefully rub off on the rest of the players. Coast batted first on Saturday in the EAPL, and Morris Ouma played an extraordinary innings, scoring an unbeaten century from 65 balls, which included eight 4s and six 6s. He was ably helped by Irfan Karim (28), Nehemiah Odhiambo (18) and Jimmy Kamande (10*), as the coastal side finished with 168 on the board for the loss of two wickets. The Rhinos' run-chase started off quite well, however they lost nine wickets for a paltry 23 runs, thanks to brilliant bowling from Nehemiah Odhiambo (3-15) and Raj Savala(2-15), giving Coast a 65-run victory.
Sunday's EAC match was a different story, with Rift Valley bouncing back from that defeat, winning by 81 runs. Peter Kituku (45) and Dipesh Bhandari (40), were the top-scorers for the Rhinos, with Nehemiah Odhiambo once again the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-38 in his ten overs. Rift Valley managed to score 217 in their 50 overs, bowling out the Coast side for 136 runs.
Nile Knights vs Uganda Warriors – Entebbe
The Uganda derby took place in Entebbe, with the Warriors taking on EAPL defending Champions the Nile Knights. The Knights showed their calibre last season, as they made the final of both the EAPL and EAC, however the Warriors have been boosted by the appointment of Kenyan Legend Steve Tikolo as their coach. The Knights batted first on Saturday, with star batsman Arthur Kyobe scoring an unbeaten 74 runs. He was assisted by Hamza Saleh (54*), with a total of 144-2 being set in their 20 overs. The Warriors managed to chase down the target with two balls to spare, thanks to their top-order batsmen, who all chipped in with good scores.
Sunday's EAC match saw the Warriors continue their fine form, as they bowled out the Knights for 112 runs in 39 overs. Charles Waiswa was the pick of the Warriors' bowlers, finishing with 4-19 from nine overs; while Jonathon Sebanja and Roger Mukasa took two wickets each. The Warriors managed to chase down the total in 26.3 overs, with Ivan Thamithewira top-scoring with an unbeaten half century.
The Competition continues this weekend: the Kongonis are in Mombasa to play Coast Pekee. Kanbis Tigers host the Nile Knights in Nairobi, while the Warriors take on the Rift Valley Rhinos at the Lugogo Oval in Kampala.