Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’ quite literally dragged one back to sneak past Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ by 21 runs on their way to recording their first win of the season not too far away from home.
With just two matches left to complete their first round of matches in the 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League, Sukhdeep Singh led from the front with a well – deserved ton just two weeks after being ejected 6 runs short of his maiden career ton against Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj (SCLPS.)
Sukhdeep dedicated the century to his late grandmother. “I want to dedicate my hundred to my grandmother who left us one week before the start of the season. She watched me play for Kenya U-19 at this same venue (Nairobi Gymkhana) and this means a lot to me. This is my best innings so far and more so, contributing to the winning cause. Credits to Deepak for taking the game away and enabling me to take a back seat. That made it much easier for me to get going,” stated Sukhdeep”
The skipper amassed 110 runs from 119 balls, inclusive of 16 boundaries and one maximum, batting through to the 41st over after the Ndandason brothers combined at the close of the fourth over to ensure tourist Sudhir Kumar struck out once again, returning just 7 runs from 13 deliveries; caught Lucas, bowling Martin.
With Aarnav Patel claiming Harpreet Gill (8) and Muhammad Kalyan (7) cheaply and in succession, it was the skipper and his overseas find Deepak Singh who changed the trajectory of the match with a 103 – run partnership for the fifth wicket that got Sikh Union to 5 – 187 when Deepak departed.
Deepak survived being grassed in the cordon on 12, punishing the bowlers with 53 runs off 40 balls in a vicious innings that included four boundaries and five maximums, in an innings that had him cruising upwards of a 188% strike rate before Lucas Ndandason slowed things down on one end to grant Amish Amin temporary relief from copping maximums ball to ball.
The skipper was finally down on his luck when debutant Stian Smith held on to Arnav Patel’s first ball of the 41st as he attempted a sweep shot that went straight to deep mid-wicket. Too little too late, though, after surviving a dropped catch at slips while on 30. Singh was Patel’s first victim in a stellar performance that earned him his season’s best figures of 5-38, bettering the 4-35 he picked against Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ on debut.
Himanshu Dixit’s return to play after suffering a concussion (against Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’) was low key, posting just 21 runs from 22 balls but with no one else stepping up, he turned out with the third best figures.
Gurmanjot Singh was none the wiser in his second outing for the visitors, managing just 14 runs out of the 12 deliveries he faced.
Speedster Martin Ndandason played a supporting role to finish with 2/29 from his 9 overs.
Nairobi Gymkhana begun in haste but Shay Shah (9) was sent back in equal fashion, his stumps knocked back by Dixit in the 4th over.
Coming in early, Hashvardhan Patel had time for a well-constructed 54 from 58 balls that included six boundaries and one maximum, earning himself the top scoring tag with his second half century this season. Patel teamed up with Babariya Tirth (31), who continued to look solid at the top in only his second Super League appearance, to add 61 runs to the second wicket before Jassim Matharoo struck to remove the latter in the 16th over, caught by Dixit.
Gymkhana then lost wickets in clusters, 2-3 to have them at 4-119, Veer Dave making his highest score of the season and also registering only his second double digits so far with 40 from 49 balls as he extended the score to 5 – 169 having added 50 to the fifth wicket with Dominic Wesonga who chipped away for 41 off 74.
Soon after, they lost 2-0 (Yash Talati -18, Lucas Ndandason – 0) at 7-216 which translated to 3-6 at 8-228 when Wesonga departed in the 46th over. With 39 runs left to win, Martin took on the chase but hit one too many and was captured attempting to go long a third consecutive time by Deepak Singh to gift Matharoo his fourth wicket for 18 runs, 25 runs short of the target.
Only four runs went up with the tenth wicket as Gymkhana folded 21 runs below target on the first ball of the penultimate over.
Matharoo completed his spell with 4/38 from 9 overs while Deepak Singh and the stylish Harpreet Gill shared two wickets-a-piece for the across – the – road neighbours.