It would be nothing short of a clash of equals when Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ host Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj ‘A’ in a middle-of-the-table Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) showdown on Sunday with two points and momentum at stake.
The hosts have won three matches so far and sit sixth on the table. Samaj, on the other hand, are seventh with two wins from six matches.
The hosts, boosted by a four-wicket win over Swamibapa Cricket Club ‘A’, will be keen to continue with their winning streak. However, the task is easier said than done as Samaj are riding high on a hard fought three wicket – win over Sikh Union ‘A.
Stand – in skipper Harsh Patel and his team toyed with Swamibapa’s batting to bowl them out for a paltry 116 runs and will look to lay another strong bowling show against their Nairobi West neighbours.
Ngara’s dependable all –rounder Tanzeel Sheikh says that the win was a confidence booster going into the next games. “We are banking on the skills we’ve shown can be effective against any team and on a personal level, I feel like I can contribute more with both bat and ball to help the team win.”
The hosts, who have more often than not, under-performed amid high expectations, have been let down by their batting and senior player Nikul Patel is aware of this and hopes that his batsmen will rise to the occasion.
“Batting is still a concern for us. We have not been able to get a good combination and we have been trying to get it right at the top but it doesn’t seem to be working. However we will keep on trying, even rotating until we get it right,” Patel said.
Echoing Patel’s sentiments, Sheikh backs the top order to come through. “Our top order is working really hard with the rest of the team in the nets as well as working on their mind-sets. We believe in them and are aware that they have the skill to perform at the top while we give them the backing and confidence that they deserve. We have altered our training methods slightly and lots of positives are showing already.”
However, Ngara’s batting unit will front up to Lameck Ngoche and Hiten Vekaria, who are known for their ability to strike early.
Chasing the modest score, they lost three wickets for 23 runs and none of the four top order batsmen scored double digits. It took Karan Patel (24) and Nikul Patel (34) for them to secure a win with 19 overs to spare, having been down 3/25 in the 14th over.
It remains to be seen whether the team has what it takes to bounce back in case there is an early wicket – loss in the innings once again.
Ngara’s bowling has done the job so far with Vraj Patel being impressive with two four-fers so far. However, they come up against a formidable Samaj which has proven that it can bat deep if their performance against Sikh Union is anything to go by.
Rahul Nathani emerged from a number of uncompleted starts with an impressive knock of 99 that handed them their second win of the season.
Together with Vishal Bhojani and Hiten Vekaria they form a strong batting unit that will give Vraj, Tanzeel Sheikh and Dhyey Patel something to work for.