Sunshine Ndovus pulled off an exiting run chase last evening at the Nairobi Gymkhana to help them to bag their second consecutive Maniwa Cup T20 Premier League title in the Regular category.
Hiren Varaiya’s knock of an unbeaten 28 from 27 balls was the difference in the final over duel as Ndovus effected a 129 run chase to win the match by 3 wickets over Kifaru Chargers.
Coming in at the half way mark having lost regular wickets to have the score board at 4/62, the ex-Kenya international skipper held the fort on one end to see his boys over the line with only two balls remaining.
His 28 runs may appear under par at any level but they made all the difference for his side after their top two batters in Prashant Srinivas (20) and Krishna Babu (19) went cheaply to leave them staring at defeat with 68 runs still required when the former departed, stumped by Raj Shetty to gift Vinod Kumar his first of three scalps.
“It wasn’t the best moment for me. I was a bit nervous when we were losing wickets in one end but I knew if I stick on the wicket, we will do it,” stated the Stray Lions’ skipper.
Sunshine began their innings on a poor note losing Tathineni Surendra for a third ball duck courtesy of Lokesh Anand in the opening over. Babu and skipper Srinivas held on with a second wicket stand of 39 runs before Vijay Kumar had Babu trapped in front in the seventh over.
Akash Chandran was instrumental with 20 runs off 17 balls further down the order as he added what ended up to be a crucial 30 runs to the 6th wicket alongside Varaiya.
Sent in to bat, skipper Praveen Kumar led the charge for Kifaru with 44 off 43 balls before being bowled by Vasudev with just ten balls to go to complete the innings.
Skipper Srinivas and Vasudev were the pick of the bowlers for Sunshine Ndovus, sharing seven wickets between them to slow down their opponents to 128 runs while losing nine wickets.
After what seemed like a good start at 1/52 for one after nine overs, the two alongside Babu partnered well to reduce their opponents to 63 for 4 after 10.4 overs.
Srinivas picked out Ramesh Bora (14) to break the opening stand with 27 runs on the board before Babu made it 52 for 2 with the dismissal of Pramod Shetty (18).
Vasudev made it 63 for 4 with two wickets in three balls with the dismissal of Raj Shetty and Vijay Kumar for first ball and second ball ducks, respectively.
Kifaru skipper Praveen Kumar was left stranded on one end in the midst of the chaos, with the hopes of getting an innings – changing stand, which he finally got teaming up with Vinod Kumar (17) for a 28 – run fifth wicket stand.
Kumar (Vinod) could only face 11 balls before falling to Srinivas for his first. The skipper went on to add three more wickets of Lenson D’souza (1), Vijay Sharma (0) and Vijish Varma (0) to leave Kifaru hobbling on 95 for 7.
Srinivas ended up with 4/31 as Babu bagged the prize wicket of Kifaru’s skipper.
Earlier in the day, defending champions S&S Acrovent Rhinos beat Sunshine Ndovus by 8 wickets to also clinch the ‘Above 40’ honours for the second time in a row in a low scoring affair.
Sent in to bat, Naresh Kannabiran (19 off 22) top scored in Ndovu’s 5/87 off 15 overs as Siju Vadakke and Suresh Raman picked two wickets-a-piece. An unbeaten 59 – run third wicket partnership between Balaji Krishnan (34) and skipper Bhoopal Sreenivasan (28) helped the Rhinos chase down the score with six balls to spare.