Three – man down Sir Ali up against roaring Ruaraka

The 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League enters its ninth week this weekend with a spanner in the works thrown by the senior men’s team who will be away on national duty in Uganda for the next three weeks.

Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ invite Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ further up the road to close out their first round of matches with the latter just two points aloft and teetering on fourth place. Ruaraka have pocketed four wins so far, their three match winning streak three weeks ago muddied by an unplayable track at Lenana School which forced them to share points three matches ago before being hammered by Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ the following week by 5 wickets.

Sir Ali will be smarting from the backhand handed to them by Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’ last weekend to stop them dead in their tracks from a fourth consecutive win and sixth overall. With skipper Gurdeep Singh, middle order batsman Zahid Abbas and all – rounder Eugene Odhiambo away on national duty, Sir Ali’s headache with their batting order continues to rest with their middle. Odhiambo has scored the bulk of those runs in the last three matches and with Tony Oching only showing flashes of brilliance and Joseph Owino still to make a mark, it will be difficult for them to get out.

Sir Ali will be missing Eugene Odhiambo

Their top is well cushioned by Siddarth Mhatre and Sandip Adole but without the cover they’re used to from the three, they’ll have to dig deep and beyond to spring a surprise.

Sir Ali’s bowling set is still intact despite missing seamer Odhiambo and they will still be looking to Irfan Ellahi who has picked wickets in all the matches except for last weekend’s. The park road based side will be glad that Abdul Rehman has picked wickets despite lacking with the bat and that he is still rearing to go. Stand in skipper Tarandeep Singh will have to step up with both bat and ball after putting on a brilliant partnership with Odhiambo two weeks ago.

Irfan Ellahi is the leading wicket taker for Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’

Both teams will be looking to close out their first round of the League’s matches on a high after losing their season’s opening fixtures which they embark on next week, against Stray Lions’ Cricket Club ‘A’ for Ruaraka and Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj (SCLPS) ‘A’ for Sir Ali.

Ruaraka will be happy to play at home especially bolstered by their two additional professionals – Ajinkya Beloshe and Sachin Gill. Gill made 59 and picked 2/19 on debut while Beloshe was unbeaten on 43 and picked 1/1 in huge supporting roles with Pushkar Sharma (167*) who made his second century of the League last weekend. Ruaraka will be unbothered with Ellijah Asoyo’s absence, seeing that they won all the three matches they played while he was away on sick leave and the fact that Gill and Beloshe can both bowl.

The hosts look set in their batting line up and will only be hoping that Zephaniah Arinaitwe finally posts the big one. With Vishil Patel now churning out wickets in multiples every weekend and Harshit Vekaria backing up their pros, Ruaraka look set for another winning streak.

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