Super League faces litmus test in defining fixtures

The Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) League shifts new gears this week with season defining fixtures on Sunday and during the Mashujaa Day holiday on Wednesday. A busy weekend beckons as the Youth League featuring 8 U – 19 and 5 U – 15 teams also bowls off on Saturday,16th October, with 11 and 29 matches, respectively, set to be played over the next eight weeks.

Karan Kaul’s return will strengthen Gymkhana’s middle order. All photo credits: Raymac

Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ vs Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’

Nairobi Gymkhana may have just blown the Super League wide open again with their 5 – wicket win over Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ last weekend, narrowing the gap at the top to eight points – a two – match win equivalent. With six wins in the bag now after a five – match loss horrific start to the League, Gymkhana should be confident of a spectacular finish, having settled on a stable top order despite the regular chops and changes.

Kanbis’ Rakep Patel is hurtling towards a photo finish in the Super League.

On their part, Kanbis are experiencing a renaissance while going through their bumpiest season in the history of the League, but the back to back wins over Ngara and Sir Ali should give them enough impetus to leave their five season losses so far in the past. With Nischay Kerai serving his four match ban for crowd invasion, Kanbis get an opportunity to showcase another youngster to match up to the hosts’ youthful but talented squad.

Ngara’s triumph over Sikh Union was shortlived.

Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ vs Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’

Ngara will be smarting from last week’s humiliation at the hands of Kanbis who wrapped them up for a paltry 54 runs without a single double digit score on the board. As they face a rampaging Swamibapa who keep on piling their wins with a match in hand, Ngara will be summoning their performance against Sikh Union just two weeks ago to see them through at home, albeit with a visibly diminished line up in the second leg.

Morris Ouma has been making inroads at the top of the order for Swamibapa.

Swamibapa will continue with their ‘a match at a time’ mantra even while being wary of the hosts who beat them in their own backyard in the first leg of the competition. Hopefully, Morris Ouma will be back this week to cement the top order where he has been increasingly useful as the League wears on.

Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ vs Obuya Cricket Academy

O.C.A, bristling with joy after picking their second win of the season against Sikh Union this past Monday walk up to a bruised Ruaraka side outfoxed by Sikh Union on their own turf. A win for O.C.A will probably lift them off the bottom of the table but Ruaraka have a lot of stake as they aim to get to a much desired second place position that Swamibapa is not likely to relinquish anytime soon.

Pushkar Sharma has four tons for Ruaraka this season.

Even as the rest of the top order struggles, Ruaraka’s skipper Pushkar Sharma still has a point to prove to himself a he goes for the NPCA record of most number of tons and maximum runs scored in a season and this opportunity would be as good as any he has found to top up his four tons with a third one at his home ground. However, with Collins Obuya and his nephew, Steve Omwogo having seemingly rediscovered form at the top, it will be easier said than done for the Thika Road side.

Muhammad Kalyan needs to back himself up as the season winds up.

Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj ‘A’ vs Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’

Samaj go into this match holding their three wins close to their sleeves as one belongs to their visitors. The two youthful sides had a close call against each other in the first leg and this week will be a test of who has grown in skill and mental clarity over the last couple of months. Sikh Union seems to have had something click against Ruaraka only to fall heavily to O.C.A the next day. With a four win advantage and a rank higher up at 8th, Sukhdeep Singh’s troops will keep the faith and hope that twice is a charm against this particular opponent, this time away from home.

A sight Stray Lions’ Alex Obanda may not want to relive this weekend.

Sir Ali Sports Club ‘A’ vs Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’

Sir Ali picked up a convincing win away to O.C.A last weekend but only after pulling back the game in the final hour from the jaws of defeat. Third on the log, only a match’s victory separates them from Kanbis while dangling even closer to the middle over pit where two points separate them from Ruaraka.

Shem Ngoche (34 wickets) has been at the helm of the bowling chart all season

Stray Lions may be looking uncertain for the first time this season as they face an opponent who beat them in the first leg for the first time ever at home while bearing the humiliation of last week’s capitulation at Gymkhana. However, with their star studded side, it may just be about time the table toppers make a statement and there is no better opponent for them to make a comeback with.

Super League fans will be keen to see which changes both sides will effect, with their top orders appearing shaky this season, the hosts being the more unpredictable of the two.

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