Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ trumped Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ by 80 runs to pick their second win in the ongoing 2021 NPCA 50 – over Super League.
Despite a floundering top order that was only saved by skipper Gurdeep Singh’s a run-a-ball 31 batting at 3, an unperturbed Zahid Abbas continued on his merry ways to grit out a 106 – ball 73 runs that featured 9 boundaries and one maximum. Abbas stayed in the middle for thirty overs, stringing together partnerships in the mid – lower order, including 21 with Tarandeep Singh (21) for the 9th and 39 with Hamza Amir (18) for the 8th to take Sir Ali to 10/185.
Taveer Sheikh (2/34), Mehul Patel (2/29), Vraj Patel (2/34) and Jolet Abraham (2/25) shared the wickets for the visitors.
Ngara were poor in their run chase, the top three batsmen returning ducks, including a golden duck from Rajiv Sutaria off the very first ball of the innings. Mehul Patel faced 102 balls to be the last man out but he could only manage 23 runs adding 46 runs for the 7th wicket with Nikul Patel who scored 28 off 32 balls.
Irfan Illahi was the golden arm for the hosts with 4/36 out of his entire allotment; paceman Eugene Ochieng backing him up with 2/11 from 5 overs and leggie Gurdeep Singh picking 2/17 off 6 overs to wrap up their visitors for 105 runs with 100 balls to spare.
Sir Ali’s skipper says that their win was good but their top order needs to pull up. “It was a good match for us to win but we need big scores on the board. We’re only three games in and we have found ourselves 2/3 wickets down in three or four overs.”
Speaking to kenya-cricket.com, Abbas echoed his skipper’s sentiments and credited his innings to patience at the crease. “I wanted to see off the overs and get the scoreboard ticking up to the batting powerplay. The wicket was quite easy to play after the 15th over and I wish the top order had stayed put. There is a bit of moisture in the morning that makes it a bit difficult to bat so it makes it easy to give away your wicket if you do not choose your shots carefully. I went in with one mind, to play straight/cover and that is why I batted through,” noted Abbas.
He credits his teammate Irfan Illahi for a brilliant 4/36. “He is bowling very quick, speeds of up to 140 and on a skiddy wicket, he is almost unplayable.”
Nikul Patel feels that Ngara could have had a better chance if their top order gave them runs. “Our top four are not giving us runs and that puts the middle – lower order under a lot of pressure to perform. Our fielding is good but we have to back it up. At the end of the day, we could not recover from the poor start we had with the bat,” states Patel.