East Africa wrap - playoffs
The East Africa Cricket Competitions playoffs were held over the weekend and they did not disappoint. The Nairobi Gymkhana played host to two nail-biting ties on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the Coast Gymkhana was the place where the Kongonis upset favourites Pekee in the EAPL, while the Rhinos’ tie versus the Warriors in the EAC ended up being a washout. Here is a breakdown of the games:
Saturday: East Africa Premier League playoffs
Kanbis Tigers v Uganda Knights
The Kanbis Tigers hosted the Knights of Uganda at the Nairobi Gymkhana. The two sides went into the match fighting for their tournament lives, with the loser heading home until next season. The Knights won the toss and put the Tigers into bat first; with Captain Rakep Patel opening the batting alongside Harish Vekaria. The Tigers started off well and had 25 runs on the scoreboard when Patel tried to go for a big hit, which found the hands of John Tumisime at third man. Harish Vekaria fell the same way a few balls later, leaving the Kanbis on 25-2 and with two new batsmen at the crease. Dhiren Ghondaria and Narendra Patel steadied the Tigers ship, putting together a 68-run partnership. However, Knights captain Davis Arinaitwe finally made the breakthrough, getting Narendra Patel caught behind for 48. Dhiren Ghondaria (21) and Ramesh Mepani (28) continued the Kanbis cause and though they departed thanks to the bowling of Richard Okia, the Tigers ended up with a score of 142-8 after their 20 overs. The pick of the Knights bowlers was Farouk Ochimi, who got figures of 4-20 in his four overs.
The Knights’ chase started off with the dismissal of Arthur Ziraba with only nine runs on the scoreboard. Things got worse for the Ugandans when Rajesh Bhudiya managed to take the wicket of Abdalah Lubega, to leave the Knights struggling on 17-2. John Tumisime and Benjamin Musoke got them going once again, putting together a partnership of 28 before Rakep Patel stuck for the Tigers to remove Musoke for 11. Patel then took two quick wickets - Ngubuga (25) and Tumisime (37) - to leave the Knights on 93-5. It looked as though the Tigers would have an easy game and book their place in the semifinals, however the Knights lower order managed to chip in with a few runs each to take the game into the last over. The Knights needed around 12 from their last over, but when they lost their captain, the rest of the players crumbled which allowed the Tigers a place in the semifinals of the Twenty over competition. Rakep Patel (3-27) and Rajesh Bhudiya (3-13) were the pick of the Tigers bowlers.
Coast Pekee v Kongonis
The other Playoff tie took place at the Coast Gymkhana, where Coast Pekee hosted Nairobi side Kongonis. Coast won the toss and put Kongonis in to bat first. It looked to have been an inspired decision by Coast captain Morris Ouma, especially after Kongonis danger man Alex Obanda was dismissed early with only 15 runs on the board. Kongonis skipper Shem Ngoche and Kenyan captain Collins Obuya put together a decent partnership of 33 runs, before Raj Savala got Ngoche for 22. Maninder Singh was the next to return to the pavilion after scoring only one run and Collins Obuya followed with 39 runs next to his name to leave the Kongonis on 92-4. It looked like the favourites Coast Pekee would skittle out the Nairobi side; however the Rudd brothers, William and Henry, had other ideas. William scored an unbeaten 56 from 34 balls, while Henry managed to chip in with six not out, setting a score of 135-4 in their 20 overs.
Many would have still thought that the run chase would have been an easy one for Pekee. However, they lost opener Manoj Patel with only 12 runs on the board and when influential batsman Irfan Karim departed for a disappointing six runs, the pressure was there for all to see. With the Mombasa team struggling at 19-2, Jimmy Kamande and captain Morris Ouma were given the task of settling the side back into their groove. However Kamande was dismissed for a duck, while the remaining batsmen could not stay around for long enough to get a good partnership going with Ouma. When Ouma was dismissed to leave Pekee struggling on 44-7; the Kongonis new that the game was all but won. Despite a late attempt by Sagar Karia and Vinit Shikotra to win the match, the run chase was just too much for Pekee, who lost the match by 46 runs.
So the two Nairobi sides will battle it out this coming Saturday at the Nairobi Gymkhana in an effort to book a place in the final alongside the Ugandan Warriors, who topped the log and received a bye directly into the deciding tie. This game will be Live on your World of Champions, SuperSport, from 1:30pm.
Sunday: East Africa Cup
Kanbis Tigers v Uganda Knights
The Tigers and the Knights locked horns again at the Nairobi Gymkhana, this time in the 50-over East Africa Cup playoff. The Tigers won the toss and decided to field first. The Knights started off on a very slow note, with their openers Musali and Ziraba looking as though they were playing a test match. Indian player Dishant Mehta finally made the breakthrough, taking the wicket of Ziraba (13 from 47 balls). John Tumisime was the next to go, scoring five runs, to leave the Knights on 46-2. Opener Dennis Musali (26 from 66 balls) followed next, which saw the introduction of veteran cricket Benjamin Musoke, who would play with his skipper Davis Arinaitwe. The duo managed a 25-run partnership; however the skipper was the first to go, followed by Musoke to leave the Knights on 84-5. Not many people in the ground thought that the Knights would fight back to get a decent total, however Richard Okia came into the middle and hammered the ball to all areas of the ground. The big-hitting Okia managed a score of 45 which included three fours and a huge six to help his team reach a respectable target of 204 all out. Dishant Mehta was the standout player with the ball for Kanbis, finishing with 3-41, while Lucas Olouch pitched in with 2-38.
The Knights started off their defence with a surprise move of bowling two spinners early on. Frank Nsubuga and David Arinaitwe bowled incredibly, ensuring the Tigers openers didn't get off to the flying start they needed. Arinaitwe then got the wicket of Mansukh Jesani to have the Tigers sitting on a paltry 24-1. Seamer Dennis Tabby was then introduced into the attack, and was rewarded straight away with the scalp of Niraj Patel. Tabby then removed skipper Rakep Patel for seven runs and when young Dhiren Ghondaria was run out for 21, the Tigers were left struggling on 61-4. Top bowler Tabby was in the action once again, getting Dishant Mehta trapped leg before for a duck with the score still on 61. Vinod Rabadia and Narendra Patel were put in charge of fighting back for the Nairobi side, and managed a decent 46-run partnership before Patel was sent packing. Ramesh Mepani and Rajesh Bhudiya were the next to depart for Kanbis, leaving only Rabadia and Luca Oluoch in the middle. The two Tigers ensured that they batted out their entire quota of overs, scoring exactly what was needed per over to keep the Tigers in the game. And with six needed for the win, Man of the match Rabadia (70*) duly stepped up and sent the ball straight back over the bowler’s head to get the win for the Kenyans. Lucas Oluoch was also unbeaten and scored 23 from 27. Despite Dennis Tabby's heroics of 4-36; the Knights returned to Kampala and will be out of the competition until next year.
Warriors v Rift Valley Rhinos
The Warriors hosted the Rhinos in Kampala on Sunday. The Ugandans have already booked their place in the final of the EAPL and were looking to extend their time in the Cup competition. Rhinos captain Hiren Varaiya won the toss and put the Ugandans in to bat first, which proved to be a masterstroke with his bowlers claiming the scalps of Martin Ondeko and Michael Ndiko early on to leave the Warriors on 5-2. Roger Mukasa and Warriors player-coach Steve Tikolo managed to steady things, adding 35 runs to their score, before Mukasa was dismissed by Nelson Odhiambo. Odhiambo then struck with his very next delivery, getting the wicket of Captain Lawrence Sematimba for a golden duck. The Rhinos continued taking wickets at regular intervals, and managed to dismiss the Ugandan side for 132 inside 38 overs. Steve Tikolo top scored with 27, while Nelson Odhiambo was the pick of the Rhinos bowlers, taking 5-36.
The Rhinos would have been buoyed by their fielding performance, and they knew that a win was now in sight. However, things didn't start off well for them, with Joseph Onyango being caught LBW by Waiswa for seven. Abraham Alema then clean bowled Peter Kituku to leave the Kenyan side on 24-2 at the lunch break. The heavens opened during the lunch break, and despite hopes that it would stop, Mother Nature had other plans, and the game was washed out. This meant that the Warriors went through to the semifinal of the East Africa Cup as they had finished the group stages in second place. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Rhinos, who returned to Nairobi dejected and out of the competitions till next year.
SEMIFINAL – EAC
So the Kanbis Tigers and Warriors will take on each other next Sunday at the Nairobi Gymkhana for a place in the final. Coast Pekee booked their spot in the EAC final after topping the log after the group stages. This game can be watched live on SuperSport, with coverage beginning at 9:15am.