Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ are out to stretch their majestic form which has fetched them four comprehensive back to back victories in the ongoing 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League as they host strugglers Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ on Sunday, 8th August at Peponi School.
Fresh from their fourth hands – down triumph over Obuya Cricket Academy (O.C.A), table leaders Stray Lions are the team to beat so far in the season and the availability of Alex Obanda and Hiren Varaiya asserting their formidability.
Conversely, Gymkhana’s persistently inconsistent performance from experienced players has left them battling ‘relegation’ just five weeks into the season. Stray Lions begun this year’s campaign with authority by beating Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ and Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ before facing Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj ‘A’ and Obuya Academy who were royally thumped by the Peponi School – based side. They are now topping the points-table with 16 points while the Kavi Dosaja-led side are barely floating at the bottom of the table with zero points to their name and a negative run rate.
Gymkhana’s paceman Martin Okoth feels that nothing will change until their senior players step up. “This weekend, we are especially facing a tough opposition and we need to step up as senior players. Our top five has not been performing and that means leaving everything to our youngsters who are not used to the pressure situations witnessed in the Super League.”
“It is not fair that we leave so much baggage to the less experienced players but through no fault of our own, things that used to work for us are not working anymore. Three matches down the line, our batting has not clicked and that is exacerbated by the unavailability of a consistent XI for consecutive Sundays. That just contributes to our team being unbalanced,”
On his form, Okoth tells kenya-cricket.com that it has also played a factor in his team’s results. “I was used to picking five-fers like candy but now, the wickets have dried up for me. I’m training hard and hopefully, everything works out as we keep gelling the team.”
Aarnav Patel and Yash Talati have been dependable with the ball for Gymkhana where the seasoned Ndandason brothers of Oluoch and Okoth have failed to sparkle.
Dosaja top scored with 53 against Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’ last week, with Karan Kaul adding on 23, the team recording three ducks as Gymkhana ended on 172 with a ball to spare.
Stray Lions’ bowling attack has been the most destructive and consistent in the league so far, with their left arm off spinner Shem Ngoche currently leading the bowling chart with 16 wickets. Skipper Hiren Varaiya has added more options in the spin department alongside Krishna Babu who has looked impressive thus far.
With all-rounder Joseph Onyango nursing an injury, the hosts are likely to go with the same team that ran over O.C.A.
Obanda, Praveen Kumar, Krishna Katukala and Gary Chirumuta will lead the home team’s batting before on form Ngoche and Neil Mugabe will control the middle order.