The Nairobi mini-cricket tournament for Kasarani zone was successfully held at the Sir Ali Muslim Club at the weekend bringing together 20 teams to compete for the end of the term crown. The action began at 8.30am until 5pm and saw some very competitive encounters amongst the schools present.
The schools that took part in this zone were:-
1) Roysambu Primary 2) Mariakani Primary
3) Jovial Academy 4) Muslim Academy
5) Muranga Road 6) Ebenezer School
7) Riverbank Primary 8) Karura Forest
9) Highridge Primary 10) Bright Star Academy
11) City Primary 12) Westlands Primary
It was a tournament that went according to script with the favourites showing their intentions from the off-set with Karura Forest, Highridge and Ebenezer leading from the front in their respective groups. Highridge girls ensured a safe passage from the ‘group of death’ that featured November’s losing finalists Riverbank primary, former champions Roysambu and pre-tournament favourites City Primary.
On the other hand Karura Forest girls made easy work of their opponents to cruise in to the knockout stages of the competition, City girls will however wait for another term to prove their worthiness as tournament favourites after their supposedly fine run ended in disappointment when they fell to perennial contenders Karura Forest at the semi-final stage.
The City girls had opened their campaign with two straight forward victories against Roysambu and Riverbank before falling to eventual winners Highridge by a narrow margin. But that’s as far as they got because despite the fact that they qualified for the semi-finals by being the best of the runner-up amongst the three pools, their batting failed to click in the opening overs of their clash with Karura Forest as they lost three wickets in the first over and two in the next to leave them playing for damage control rather than attempting to set a huge total for their opponents. Their 30 runs did not pose a challenge to Karura who chased the total for the loss of two wickets in 5 overs.
Highridge girls ensured they stood in Karura’s way for the umpteenth time by settling the girls’ final in a super-over (11 to 10 runs) after the two teams tied in their first attempt.
In the boys’ category Ebenezer, Highridge, Karura Forest and Muslim Academy indicated that they were up for it by claiming their groups and booking semi-final places with sure victories in the opening exchanges with the rest of the schools that were reduced to form a chasing pack as early as the completion of the opening two rounds.
At the semi-final stages the big guns in came face to face with each other, Ebenezer had to find their way past Highridge boys for a place in the final while Muslim Academy stood in the way of Karura Forest.
First up was Ebenezer who batted first and piled up 64 runs for the loss of 3 wickets and then stifled Highridge’s chase limiting them to 38 all out in 7.2 overs. Alex Gathara’s 16 runs coupled with Highridge’s wayward bowling did not help matters and the Thika Road based school had set a good total and pressure told almost instantly with Highridge requiring 8 runs per over they attacked and perished to three run outs and two catches trying to clear the boundary in 3 overs thereby settling the game.
Karura Forest made easy work of Muslim Academy scoring 45 runs and then bowling their opponents for 32. Shaban Okumu led with the bat for Karura striking 18 off 10 balls and then skipper Tedison Amulega picked up two wickets in two balls off the 2nd and the 3rd ball of the second over to derail Muslim’s chase.
The stage was then set for the grand finale, Karura Forest and Ebenezer have all been there before and done it and it was just a case of who would make the most of their opportunities to claim this encounter? Strength for strength they were a match for each other, but they needed some inspiration from an individual to settle the tie and Karura Forest found that in Sentayo Leiyo who was eventually named player of the tournament and his early two wickets in the final just confirmed that in a tight match that Karura Forest deservedly won 32 runs to 27.
Neither team had commanded a decent total and it was down to the bowlers to shine after it looked like Ebenezer had done enough Leiyo came back to haunt them with two quick strikes in the opening over and diminished any hopes of Ebenezer surpassing 32 while sending Karura into celebrations with a 5 run cushion.