East Africa wrap: semifinals
The semifinals of the East Africa Cricket Competitions were held over the weekend at the Nairobi Gymkhana, with some amazing cricket being played. Here is a review of the action:
EAPL SEMIFINAL - Kanbis Tigers v Kongonis
It was an all-Kenyan semifinal in the 20-over East Africa Premier League, with the winners of the tie set to face the Ugandan Warriors on Saturday, September 22 in the final.
Kongonis won the toss and batted first, with Alex Obanda and Collins Obuya opening. The two Kenyan Internationals showed amazing form, putting together a huge 142-run partnership. Kenyan skipper Obuya was the first man out, after scoring 51 from 39 balls, which included two fours and two massive sixes. This brought Kongonis captain Shem Ngoche to the crease. Obanda was the next to go after scoring 91 from 59 balls, in a spell which saw him hit eight fours and five sixes. It was now up to Ngoche and new batsman William Rudd to get the Kongonis to a defendable target, and they did not disappoint. Ngoche managed to score a quickfire 47 from just 16 balls, with four fours and the same number of sixes, while Rudd pitched in with six runs. After 20 overs, the Kongonis had managed to score a massive 203 runs for the loss of three wickets. Kanbis' top bowler was Lucas Olouch, who managed to take 2-39, while Rajesh Bhudiya was the only other Tiger who took a wicket, finishing with figures of 1-48.
The Kanbis Tigers started their run chase in good fashion, having 35 runs on the board before Harish Vekaria fell to Amit Shukla. New batsman Dhiren Ghondaria followed Vekaria just one ball later, after playing the ball onto his stumps. Kanbis skipper Rakep Patel and Narendra Patel managed to put together a 58-run partnership, and were doing well scoring the required 10 runs an over. However Collins Obuya made the breakthrough for the Kongonis, getting the wicket of Rakep Patel for 33 to leave the Tigers on 94-3. As has happened throughout the series, the dismissal of Rakep Patel saw a mini collapse, with five wickets falling for just 29 runs. Dishant Mehta and Lucas Olouch tried to get the Tigers back in the game, however it was a case of too little too late, with the Tigers scoring 157-9; giving the Kongonis a 46-run victory. The standout Kongonis bowler was Henry Rudd, who managed figures of 4-15, while Collins Obuya (3-29) and Amit Shukla ( 2-13) chipped in as well.
The Kongonis will now take on the Ugandan Warriors in the final this Saturday.
EAC SEMIFINAL - Kanbis Tigers v Uganda Warriors
The Kanbis Tigers were in action again on Sunday, this time in the 50-over East Africa Cup competition. They played the Uganda Warriors, who were looking to qualify for their second final of the season. Kanbis won the toss and decided to bat first, a decision that skipper Rakep Patel must have regretted after his side's bad start.
Warriors left-arm seamer Charles Waiswa made the breakthrough with only 16 runs on the board, removing Mansukh Jesani for three. Youngster Dhiren Ghondaria was the next man out, caught behind by Ondeko from the bowling of Brian Masaba. Masaba got his second of the day a few balls later, trapping Rajesh Varsani LBW. The dangerous bowler then managed to get his third, that of danger man Rakep Patel, leaving the Tigers on 50-4. Things got even worse for the Kenyans, as Narendra Patel and Dishant Mehta were sent packing to leave the Tigers on 105-6. Kanbis needed to get a partnership going, and their prayers were answered as Ramesh Mepani and Vinod Rabadia steadied the ship. The two batsmen managed to get their team back on track with a 103-run stand. However, Steve Tikolo finally got his man, getting Rabadia out for 39. The Kenyan legend then got the scalp of the dangerous Mepani who scored 79. The Tigers' tailenders chipped in as well to get their side to a respectable 248 runs from their 50 overs -- a score that many didn't expect them to reach.
The Warriors sent in keeper Martin Ondeko and Michael Ndiko to start off the run chase. The first wicket fell with the score on 18, with Rajesh Bhudiya and Lucas Oluoch teaming up to dismiss Ondeko. The two then teamed up again to remove Ndiko to have the Warriors on 43-2. This, however, brought Roger Mukasa and Steve Tikolo to the crease, and the duo started to build up a fantastic partnership. Player/coach Tikolo played a fantastic game of cricket, taking the singles and leaving Mukasa to make the runs. They managed to put on a 140-run stand before Tikolo was sent back to the change room for 62, courtesy of Rajesh Varsani. Roger Mukasa continued his fine form alongside his brother and Warriors captain Lawrence Sematimba, and reached his century in fine form. He was dismissed straight after, scoring 100 from 84 balls, with 12 fours and one six coming of his bat. Despite losing Ronald Semanda and Jonathon Sebanja soon after, the Warriors won the match by four wickets. The Kanbis Tigers bowlers had an off day in the field, with Narendra Patel (2-33) and Luca Oluoch (2-54) doing well for them.
The Warriors will now take on Coast Pekee in the final on Sunday, September 23, which will also be played at the Nairobi Gymkhana.