The CCA pro 40 league has lived up to its bidding. It promised excitement and delivered exhilaration. An unbelievable weekend of cricket that saw fortunes sway one way then the other to finally settle at unbelievable extremes that thrilled all those who were on hand to witness the matches.
The first match of the weekend saw the former champions and much fancied Coast Gymkhana ‘A’ play hosts to Simba Union (SGSS). Coast Gymkhana were sent in to bat by Simba Union captain Zuher Ladak and immediately had to grapple with the Gymkhana openers Manoj Patel and Suresh Halai who lit the pitch on fire with shots all over the park, Manoj top scoring with 67 runs. At 100 for 2 wickets by the first water break, a massive score was looming for coast Gymkhana ‘A’. Simba turned to their spinners and immediately the move paid dividends. 8 Coast Gymkhana wickets falling in the space of 110 runs with the final target set for Simba Union at 211 to win in 40 overs, Devarshi Bhrambhatt (30) and Jay Patel 24 resisting the Simba Union bowlers. Yusuf Hussein (2/35), Satpal Singh (2/22), Talha Khan (2/24) and Zuher Ladak (2/48) chipping in with wickets for the visitors.. Simba Union had a brisk start to their chase losing their captain at 70 for 1 wicket. The experience of Yusuf Hussein took the chase beyond Coast Gymkhana with 53 valuable runs. He was ably supported by the veteran all-rounder Satpal Singh (39n.o.), Talhaa Khan (35) and Zuher Ladak (18) who saw Simba Union take the day against all odds by 4 wickets in the 38th over and ebaling them to top the latest standings.
Mombasa Sports Club in the meanwhile accommodated Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj, the latter having an indifferent outing second time round. SCLPS chose to field on what seemed a batting paradise. The MSC openers flattered to deceive as SCLPS sent them back to the pavilion both for nought. Bhavya Thakker (65) partnered his captain Zaheer Abbas Khaku (81) to stabilise the MSC batting taking the score to 255 runs. Neel Karia chipping in with a valuable 22 runs in the middle part of the innings. Ritesh Patel coming in with figures of 4/35. From then on, it all seemed downhill for SCLPS as their batting imploded second week in a row. They were all out 107 runs with Rajiv Sutharia returning impressive figures of 5/22 for MSC.. The only notable contribution was from Paresh Gami with 20 runs. MSC won the match by 148 runs with the best part of 20 overs to spare.
Jaffery Sports Club hosted the league debutants Mombasa Heat on the astro-turf. Simon Phillips, captain of Heat won the toss and chose to bat. Jeremy Fernandes (36), Dr. Rajgopal (38) and Robert Clarke (21) put up a total of 165 runs for JSC to chase down. For JSC Abbas Mawji shone out with 3/27 while Hussein Virjee (2/14) and Ali Karim (2/13) were the other notable contributors to the Heat downfall. JSC batman made short work of the target with the reliable Mohamed Fazal notching up yet another half century in the chase which lasted 19 overs for the loss of 3 wickets. Abbasali Mawji (35n.o.) and MR Tejani (26n.o.) were the other notable contributors to the score card that made the game look one sided.
The last match of the day saw a humdinger display on Burhani Sports Club as they played hosts to Coast Gymkhana ‘B’. BSC chose to bat on their AstroTurf which normally does favour the batsmen. Murtaza Bakir (36) and Hussein Mukarram (30) amongst the BSC batsmen put up what seemed a challenging but gettable score of 170 runs. Anand Patel (51) and the veteran Kamal Gohil (27) seemed to make short work of the total, with the secret being to stay on the wicket, until both lost their wickets to some consistent BSC bowling. Then things fell apart, as Chinua Achebe would have it, when a flurry of wickets, barring Ashish Kerai (31), tumbled with little resistance.. Senior cricketers would have you know that small totals are always the trickiest and it proved so much to the chagrin of Coast Gymkhana ‘B’ as they all fell 8 runs short of the target with a disappointing 7 overs to spare. BSC winning by 8 runs and registering their first win of the season.
The points table makes for some mouth-watering reading as Simba realises the leadership of the board with 39 points after their impressive outing against Coast Gymkhana. Following suit is Mombasa Sports Club and Jaffery Sports Club with 38 and 37 points respectively. The league, cricket lovers, is blown wide open.