Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ return home for only the third time this season to host Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ in the Super League division as the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League enters its eighth week.
The last time Ruaraka played at home opened up their luck as they began a four – match winning streak against current table leaders Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ by 3 wickets. This, after suffering two heavy defeats against Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ and Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’.
Ruaraka’s wins were propelled by their professional players – the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) trio of Brian Masaba , Kenneth Waiswa and Zephania Arinaitwe alongside Pushkar Sharma who chipped in with both bat and ball.
With the departure of Brian Masaba (79 runs, 3 wickets) and Kenneth Waiswa (107 runs, 3 wickets) back to Uganda for national duty, Ruaraka were not going to exist in a vacuum and have beefed up their squad with two more professional players; Sachin Gill and Ajinkya Bhisole to beef up their batting order. The two are both right handed middle order batters while Gill doubles up as a medium pace bowler.
Ruaraka would be looking to answer the questions they were asked by Nairobi Gymkhana last week as they were knocked over for 124 runs in 32 overs to gift them the hosts their first win of the season.
They don’t have to look further than their inconsistent middle order, though. While Pushkar Sharma has had starts and even recorded a ton before, there hasn’t been much support aside from Zephaniah Arinaitwe who has been ticking but not reached implosion as expected.
As for the lower order Harshit Vekaria has played a one-man contest, always trying to rescue Ruaraka with the bat and also making purchase with the ball, but even he, Pankaj Bhudia and Skipper Purshotam Vekariya would have to dig dipper in a time of need.
Ruaraka are lucky that their bowlers have always been on song and that they can count on them to defend if the batters turn up. Vekaria and Harshit Varsani will be the ones to look out for as well as Vishil Patel who looked to be rediscovering his form in their last match.
Elijah Asoyo picked two wickets on his return match from medical leave but it was not enough to save his team from the low total on the board.
Ngara, on the other hand will be fresh and looking forward to the match after skipping play last weekend as a precautionary measure for Covid – 19.
With a seemingly balanced squad on paper, Ngara only need their top order to come through for them as has been their call since the onset of the season. They have three wins and losses alike in the competition thus far, which leaves them stuck at sixth place, after their opponents, but perhaps their biggest triumph of the season would be the last one they picked over Swamibapa.
With an in form Tanzeel Sheikh batting in the middle, Ngara’s batters just need to give him the necessary support to bat out the overs seeing as he has been left stranded a couple of times despite pulling the team out of distress. That would also mean that Nikul Patel has a easier time finishing matches for them with the bat.
Amit Shukla, Dhey Patel and skipper Mehul Patel may very well need to step up with the ball and back up Vraj Patel, a role that they have picked up well in the past.