Ruaraka fans shocked by middle order crumble

Ruaraka Sports Club’s fans were treated to a familiar sight at home on Sunday when their first team Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ hosted leaders Stray Lions Sports Club ‘A’. After a strong foundation, wickets fell in a heap as one batsman after another perished. Chasing 267, it was deja vu as they went from 165 for 3 to 213 all out, losing their last seven wickets for 48 runs.

After the day’s play, Ruaraka skipper, Pushkar Sharma acknowledged that this was an ongoing problem and that the team had had a talk about it. “We have to address it, we have also spoken about it,” he said. “Not that we aren’t aware of it.” Being aware of it is one thing, actively taking steps is a completely different thing. Even if they are, it has not paid off, not yet anyway.

After Charith Jayampathi (3 for 47) and Gerald Mwendwa (2 for 42) had reduced the home team to 43 for 3 after seven overs, Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Nitish Hirani revived their chase with a fourth wicket winning stand of 122 runs.

This stand gave them hope of a fifth win of the season but as soon as it was broken in the 31st over by Jayampathi, all their hopes were crushed. Even the availability of Ajinkya Beloshe (23) down the order was not enough to save them from a second straight loss to Stray Lions.

With Arinaitwe (85 off 77 balls) and Hirani (31 off 82 balls) proving too hard to break, skipper Hiren Varaiya used seven bowlers but it was taking long to get the breakthrough as the two positively surged towards victory.

Zephania Arinaitwe top scored for Ruraka with 85 off 77 balls

Arinaitwe hit 10 boundaries and a six before he was brilliantly caught by Nitin Arvind at point.  Even with the dismissal of the Ugandan international with 102 to win and Beloshe getting in the middle, Ruaraka still had big hopes of beating Stray Lions.

But to the shock of Ruaraka’s fans and the opposing team, Beloshe was a shadow of the player that almost gave them victory against Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ as he ‘wasted’ a number of balls.

Where there were singles or doubles he opted not to run and where there was a ball to offer a shot he opted to leave it. With this it wasn’t a surprise when they could only manage to score 25 for 3 wickets after Arinaitwe was dismissed. The run rate kept on rising but there was no urgency in Beloshe and by the time he was getting out trying to hook Mwendwa it was too little too late.

Earlier on, Krishna Babu Katukala played a match winning knock with his second ton in the NPCA Super league to hand his side what ended up as a comfortable total.

Katukala who scored a clinical 105 off 102 balls, shared two vital stands with Neil Mugabe (28) and Jayampathi (47) off 63 runs and 104 runs respectively as he lifted his side from 132 for 5 to a total score of 267 with five balls to play. At first, he linked up with Mugabe after they had been reduced to 60 for 2. But after Mugabe had been caught, they lost two more quick wickets for nine runs before finally landing on a century stand with Jayampathi that included two sixes and seven boundaries.

The stand was brought to an end in the 46th over when Jayampathi was caught on the boundary and Katukala followed two overs later after having hit 11 boundaries and a six. Other contributors with the bat for the league leaders were Jay Mehta (29) and Arvind (15).  Sharma (3 for 39) and Rinkesh Vekariya (3 for 51) were the toast of the hosts’ bowling.

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