Varaiya calls for improved batting show as Kanbis target Lions

Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ skipper Hiren Varaiya has reiterated the importance of his batsmen pulling their weight in Sunday’s Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Super league match against Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ especially after inconsistent performances with the bat in their last two matches.

Emmanuel Bundi bowls for Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ against Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’

The hosts’ batting has developed a reputation for being unpredictable and is expected to come under scrutiny against a well-oiled Kanbis’ bowling unit.

“The guys have been working very, very hard,” the skipper who missed his side’s three opening matches while playing in the Mombasa NCBA T20 Cup, said. “We know Kanbis’ bowling attack is a good one [but] once we bat well, I think we have a very good chance.

In their loss to Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ two weeks ago, their batting came under scrutiny after failing to chase a target of 249 managing on 191.

The story was almost the same against Swamibapa ‘A’ last weekend as they lost six wickets chasing a mere 130 before winning to maintain second place.

“Spending time at the crease will be key and as long as we apply ourselves, spend some time out there, it will get easier. We need, as a batting unit, to stand up in this series and make the difference.”

Apart from their loss to Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ and their comfortable win over Ngara Sports Club ‘A’, Kanbis has bowled out all their opponents – a show that their bowling unit is one of, if not the best in the League.

With the Peponi School track having favoured spinners so far, the hosts will have to be more wary of Kanbis spin trio of Nischay Kerai, Mikul Pindolia and Rajesh Bhudia who have so far bagged 38 wickets between them in seven innings.

Kanbis Sports Club all – rounder Rajesh Bhudia has been impressive with the ball

“We will need to bat the entire innings. We can’t afford to let some overs go un-played. We have discussed and emphasized the need of batting all the way to the end. That’s the only way that we can post a good score,” Varaiya told kenya-cricket.com.

Since joining the Stray Lions’ pack, Alex Obanda has always had a good start but has failed to turn those starts into good scores, something that has played to the disadvantage of the hosts.

In four innings, Obanda has scored 112 runs with a high of 46, a performance that has left Stray Lions’ fans still waiting for his moment to arrive.

Apart from Obanda, Shem Obado has also been a failure with the bat since scoring a century on the opening day. In the last four matches, he has continued to struggle. His performance and that of Nitin Arvind has left the Stray Lions batting line-up depleted.

Shem Ngoche has failed to shine with the bat for Stray Lions since he scored a ton

Arvind has scored 76 runs at an average of 10.86 in his seven matches.

Despite his performance, the skipper still maintains that his deputy Arvind is a vital member of his side.

“Arvind is a good batsman and it’s just unfortunate that things are not working for him. However, I still believe he will get his form back and he will get the runs,” he said.

While the home team will be crossing their fingers that their batting rises to the occasion, the visitors will be praying that nothing changes as far as their batting is concerned.

Apart from two innings, Kanbis top order led by skipper Dhiren Gondaria has been impressive and have always drained their opponents bowling attack with patience in the crease.

The ability to promote lower order batter Pushpak Kerai to the very top of the order is a clear indication of how the Club’s batting is full of ability that can dent an opponent’s bowling unit. 

As is their Club mantra to take a game at a time, Rakep Patel says that the team has been preparing well ahead of the clash. “We are preparing well and not taking any pressure. We have been playing good cricket for the past six weeks and we are not taking any pressure. We just need to keep playing the way we do.”

Whether there will be any changes to their playing XI will depend on whether players who have reported to camp ahead of the Uganda series’ will be available. “Hopefully, (Ramesh) Mepani and Hiren Kabaria will come back but we can’t know the squad because Nelson (Odhiambo) and (Emmanuel) Bundi may be at the camp bubble and I’m not sure what their situation is for Sunday’s game.”

The youngsters in the side (Gondaria, Pushpak Kerai, Sachin Bhudia and Nischay Kerai) have always praised Patel for assisting them in going through the paces during and outside the match. “Yes, whenever they got issues in their game, they always come to me and I always try to share all the experience I have learnt under the coaches I have played under. In turn, they have stepped up very well and that is what we wanted as a Club.”

On Pushpak Kerai taking to opening the innings within a very short time, Patel states, “Opening is very challenging but the good thing about it is that he got a good technique coupled with an eagerness to do well which keeps motivating him even more.”

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