The 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League picks up gears this weekend with matches scheduled to stretch through to Monday, 11th October due to the Utamaduni Day holiday. As is the norm, the long holiday also means that teams are set to miss key players set to be out of town for some downtime.
Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’ will be the busiest of the Super League bunch as they play away to Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ on Sunday and Obuya Cricket Academy (O.C.A) ‘A’ at Lenana School on Monday. The Forest Road side, having slipped back to 9th place after their heavy defeat to Ngara Sports Club last week will need their professional players – especially middle order batters Sudhir Kumar Yadav and Deepak Singh – to pull off extraordinary performances to back up skipper Sukhdeep Singh.
O.C.A are out for a renaissance and may just as well need one as they begin clearing out the matches they had missed at the beginning of the season, starting with their Monday match up against Sikh Union. The Lenana boys lie at the bottom of the table with only one win against Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj (SCLPS) ‘A’ but skipper Collins Obuya as stated after their loss to Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ last week, promises a return to form and another elusive win sooner rather than later.
However, they first have to host a scathing Sir Ali who are seething after being buried under 115 runs by Kanbis Sports Club last week. On the bright side, skipper Gurdeep Singh gets to make a return after sitting out his two – match ban alongside his pace bowling brother Tarandeep Singh but the Park road side still face the conundrum of selecting their best performing overseas players between Sandip Adole, Siddarth Mhatre and lone centurion Prinshu Yadav. Mhatre has now sat out three matches in a row in favour of Adole who has returned figures of 7, 48, 1, and 1 from his last four innings.
Admittedly still in the race to the top, Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’ host SCLPS who are floating in 7th place on the ten – team log at Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club. Swamibapa are placed second with a game in hand, their troubling top order finally bearing fruit at crunch time with runs flowing from Morris Ouma and skipper Rushabh Patel. The two sides are a sharp contrast of experience and youthfulness and SCLPS would hugely benefit with the return of Rahul Nathani who has been away for a month owing to ill health to boost their thin batting line up against the star studded hosts.
Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’, on a high after cementing their third place with a win over Sir Ali last week, will be wary of Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ who are closing their ranks on them with just a two – point difference. As they host Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ at their Eastleigh High School fortress, Kanbis seem equally matched with their visitors who are also trying to rebuild around their up and coming players. The two sides are both focused on growing their home grown talent with the exception of Ngara’s Darshan Trivedi who has been rearing to go at the top of the order in his last three matches, not with much success.
Table toppers Stray Lions travel to the “Lord’s of Kenya” to face a seething Nairobi Gymkhana who are reeling from their narrow 22 – run loss to Swamibapa last weekend from a comfortable winning start. Gymkhana will have skipper Kavi Dosaja and pacer Lucas Ndandason back after serving out their two match bans, boosting their chances of bagging a fifth win and getting off the bottom half of the table. Stray Lions only have the top of their batting order to mull over with a struggling Nithin Arvind and Alex Obanda being out injured but the return of Neil Mugabe who looks to be settling at 3 definitely boosts those odds. It remains to be seen whether Francis Mutua gets to be pushed up the order as the season goes along, the season well and truly bagged save for a major mishap.