King-maker: Obanda’s brace of tons wraps League victory for Stray Lions

It’s just two matches left for Stray Lions Cricket Club ‘A’ to close out the 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over season but their opening batter Alex Obanda is seemingly just getting started.

The stylish opening batter topped up his 130 – run knock against Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ last week with an unbeaten ton to help Stray Lions beat Sikh Union Sports Club ‘A’ by a resounding 9 wickets.

In the match that was reduced to 36 overs, Obanda remained unbeaten on 112 runs from just 59 balls, smacking 13 boundaries and five maximums to help Stray Lions walk out of Sikh Union Sports Club with the Super League trophy, two matches left to play to the end of the season.

Skipper Hiren Varaiya picked two wickets for Stray Lions. Photo Credits: Raymac

A sharp contrast to his off the top batting, the minimally – worded Obanda is delighted with his form that has come in the knick of time. “I’m very happy, on the whole. It definitely feels good to be greeting runs right now, after missing five matches while on international duty and the subsequent injury break. With the task ahead, it makes me feel ready,” he tells kenya-cricket.com.

Obanda has been in fine form this year, picking the batter of the series in the NCBA T20 series that concluded in August with 400+ runs for Burhani Sports Club who won the tournament, his Stray Lions’ skipper Hiren Varaiya picking bowler of the tournament.

Overseas batter Deepak Singh has had a lull after an explosive start to the season.

He also top scored for Kenya and came second overall in the Derby series against Uganda in September from his two innings with 99 runs and was 7th placed in the subsequent Pearl of Africa T20 series with 112 runs from five innings.  All the above preceding the ton (140) he scored for Ceylon Lions in Uganda just before their T20 League was suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed in June.

Sukhdeep Singh made 74 runs for Sikh Union

His back to back tons and a half century against Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ have propelled him to the top ten of the batting cards, with 431 runs from 8 innings, placing 8th and second for the Club after Krishna Katukala whose impressive run with the bat this season places him third with 558 runs from 16 innings, a ton (105), therein.

Obanda put on an unbeaten 139 second wicket partnership with Neil Mugabe who played a supporting role with a 40 – ball 43, three fours and three sixes to his name to get to the total in just 111 balls, an innings which Sikh Union’s skipper Sukhdeep Singh admitted to being “outplayed.”

Stray Lions wicket keeper Anish Chaudhery celebrates the departure of Sukhdeep Singh

Despite making it to second on the batting log with 602 runs, the skipper who has played a handicapped innings for the chunk of the season feels that there’s little to write home about if his team is at the bottom.

“We did bat okay-ish. Once again, I got runs but needed contribution from the rest of the guys. As a team, we were outplayed but as an individual, I’m happy to be consistent in contributing to the team to get decent totals,” states Sukhdeep.

“Coming into the last two games, we need to wind up with wins, no matter what. We’ve been doing well with our bowling all season, so we just need to give our best and try to win. If out of the playing XI six contribute big runs, we will be having a very good batting booster,” says the skipper as Sikh Union plans on hosting Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ and across the road neighbours Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ this weekend and the next.

Gerald Mwendwa picked 3/32 for Stray Lions. Photo courtesy.

The hosts posted 170 runs in 33.4 overs having been inserted, the skipper not surprisingly top scoring with 74 runs from 61 balls, inclusive of 6 boundaries and three maximums. Their overseas opener Sudhir Kumar Yadav managed 25 runs at the very top with last man Gurleen Singh staying unbeaten on 21 from 16.

Gerald Mwendwa led Stray Lions’ bowling brigade with 3/32 form 7 overs. The left arm orthodox duo of skipper Hiren Varaiya and his Senior Men’s team counterpart Shem Ngoche picked two wickets – a – piece alongside Krishna Katukala.

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