Obanda bludgeons ton to keep Kenya afloat Regional Final

They say, “Form is temporary but class is permanent.” It’s extraordinary to get to display both every time you turn up on a Cricket pitch and Alex Obanda has had the pleasure of displaying both over the last few months, despite injury hiccups that kept him away for close to two months in the middle of the season.

Nigerian bowlers got a feel of Obanda’s firing lane, repaying his dues from their last encounter in Kampala a couple of months ago when he retired hurt, gifting Nigeria their sole win in the series.

In full ‘Aleba ni Noma’ flow today, Obanda struck a crisp ton, his famous gun salute accompanying the nine boundaries and eight maximums he pummeled on his way to an unbeaten 56 – ball 103 that also marked his maiden T20i ton. With that magnificent showcase, Kenya completed their second win of the tournament, beating Nigeria by 8 runs and making a case for a healthier run rate with 38 balls to spare.

Electing to bat, Nehemiah Odhiambo was an embodiment of yesterday’s innings against Uganda, picking up 2/0 in consecutive balls in the form of the newly minted skipper Ademola Onikoyi and Ashmit Shreshta to sum up the first over on the Board.

It took a herculean effort from Sesan Adedeji to top score with 46 runs from 50 balls, to take the score to 4-77 by the time the skipper had him stumped attempting a loft to many in the 14th over. His innings were the most significant alongside Joshua Ayannaike (20) who seemed to find form after being relieved of the arm band after the Pearl of Africa T20 Series in Uganda. The two put on 62 runs in 9.3 overs before departing three overs apart, Rakep Patel upending Ayannaike’s stumps at the close of the tenth.

Isaac Okpe (25) was handy in the back end of the innings to get Nigeria to 6/130 by the close of the innings.

In reply, Obanda lost partners in Gurdeep Singh who walked in and out first up and Irfan Karim who only made a couple of runs before also being bowled by Peter Aho at the beginning of the third over. His unbeaten 130 – run partnership for the third wicket alongside Rushabh Patel helped Kenya sail over the ropes, Patel playing the spectator role with 22 runs from 19 balls.

Aho was the pick of the bowlers for Nigeria with 2/29 from his three overs.

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