Shem Ngoche scalped a five-fer to make quick – work of Shree Cutchi Leva Patel (SCLPS) ‘A’ and earn Stray Lions Cricket Club an eight – wicket win and a third consecutive season win.
The left arm off spinner is on a multiple wicket streak, having picked 3/13 and 4/19 in his first two matches.
Cutchi Leva were bowled out for just 100 runs inside 28 overs, only Ravi Rabadia making a considerable knock of 36 runs batting down the order at 8.
The visiting side never seemed to get off the crease, in an innings whereby five ducks boldly featured the regular fall of wickets. Rahul Vishram was the first to depart with the scoreboard on 1, his opening partner Jignesh Kerai holding one end to only manage 21 runs off 43 balls before being accounted for by David Mutua to bring their tally to 5/36.
Ngoche was swift and accurate as he collected Darsh Panchani and Sumit Halai for successive ducks in two balls of the eleventh over for the third and fourth wickets; coming back to wrap up the lower order trio that included his brother Lameck Ngoche (0), Harshin Varsani (7) and Diven Varsani (1).
Ankit Bhanderi was left stranded on a gritty 16 runs that came off 49 balls, not nearly enough runs on the board for the Lions’ lengthy tail.
David Mutua finished on 3/19 off his five overs While Gerald Mwendwa added 2/38 off his seven overs.
SCLPS put six bowlers on the cards but they were not enough to unsettle the hosts.
Stray Lions put on a slow but steady run-chase, achieved just two balls past the halfway mark. Skipper Nithin Arvind and Praveen Kumar begun well, putting up 37 runs on the board before the former was dismissed in the 10th over, trapped leg before by Lameck Onyango for 19 runs. Pro Krishna Katukala (43 off 52) came in at 3, accumulating 5 boundaries in a 67 – run partnership for the second wicket before playing back to Darsh Panchani in the 25th over, the scores at par.
Kumar hit the winning runs to remain unbeaten on 33 runs as the hosts sailed home easy to 2/102.
A jubilant Praveen Kumar stated that he was happy to be in the runs for his team and to watch another brilliant bowling performance from the best seat. “I’m putting in the work with my fitness every day and training with the team on Wednesdays and Fridays. During the match, I just wanted to stick to the basics and keep the scoreboard ticking and it worked.”
Referring to his team’s set up that has players from different parts of the world, he says, “We may have professional players from India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe as part of our squad but every day, it teaches us that cricket is a great equalizer. Out there on the pitch, it is all about the game and coming together to win matches.”