Ugandan international Zephaniah Arinaitwe was stellar in his new found role as a wicket keeper -batsman for Ruaraka Sports Club, making his second half century in a winning cause despite missing out on a ton by 19 runs. This made it the second time in three matches the fiery top order batsman was left stranded in the 80s after managing 85 runs against Stray Lions.
A man who describes his game in very few words, Arinaitwe knows that he’s close. “Everyone thinks of it (getting a hundred) when you get to that point. I just need to convert the 80s now. I’m not happy with them, either.”
Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ are making history in the 2021 edition of the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League, in a way that the Eastleigh High School – based side would like to forget in a hurry.
For the first time in the League history, the defending champions have lost five season matches, including three on the trot before overturning their luck against Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj ‘A’ last week. This weekend, Kanbis made it a brace against Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’, losing their return leg by five wickets at home, one worse than their three – wicket loss at Thika Road two months ago.
Despite the carnage meted against them, Kanbis still sit third on the log with seven wins, with Ruaraka two places below them with six wins and a draw to boot.
Skipper Dhiren Gondaria, reckons that it’s time his troops learnt from their mistakes. “I think we are making the same mistake every time while batting. We left out five overs and were bowled out and we’re also not utilizing the starts that we’re getting.”
Kanbis have lost all their five matches via a failure to defend, only batting out their overs against Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’. They were bowled out with a hefty 19 overs to spare against Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’, 28 balls in their away match against Ruaraka Sports Club, 25 balls in the home return leg and three balls against Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’, albeit insignificant with a five wicket loss.
As far as their bowling is concerned, the skipper decries lack of patience when it mattered the most. “We were not patient at all with our bowling. We tried to take wickets rather than bowling into good areas and waiting for our opponents to make the mistakes.” Perhaps for the same reason, onl Emmanuel Bundi stood out with the ball, picking 2/53 off his 9 overs.
The skipper made his fourth half century of the season on his return from a two – match injury hiatus but that was only enough to get Kanbis 252 runs, a total that Ruaraka chased with 40 balls to spare, his 56 – ball 66 included seven boundaries and two maximums.
Missing out on Nelson Odhiambo who came back hamstrung from Uganda two weeks ago and their lower order mainstay in Rajesh Bhudiya, there wasn’t much support for Rakep Patel in the middle as he went on to record his own second half century, yet, his 57 – ball 53 comprising of seven boundaries and a sole maximum.
Ruaraka’s middle over came through in return, Zephaniah Arinaitwe’s 64 – ball 81 and Ajinkya Beloshe’s 65 – ball 62 powering the visitors to a five wicket win after lucking out against Sir Ali and Stray Lions. For good effect, the visitors made worthwhile partnerships that aided their victory: 75 for the third between Arinaitwe and Keval Bhuva (24), 67 for the fourth between Arinaitwe and Beloshe and 43 between Beloshe and Gill who remained unbeaten on 22 runs.
Elijah Otieno struck gold for the first time for Ruaraka with his season’s best figures of 4/63. He scalped both openers – Narendra Kalyan (38) and Pushpak Kerai (7) in succession, returning to eject a familiar opponent in Rakep Patel and Kanbis stalwart Ramesh Mepani(7.)