Kanbis Tigers and Kongonis registered crucial wins to book themselves a mouth-watering East Africa Premier League semi-final next weekend.
The Tigers who finished second in the group stages overcame a stubborn Uganda Knights team beating them by 7 runs at the Nairobi Gymkhana ground. Knights had claimed the toss and elected to bowl first on a partly cloudy afternoon.
Man of the match Narendra Patel blasted a quick 48 off 33 deliveries to bolster the innings after they (Tigers) had lost skipper Rakep Patel (14) and fellow opener Harish Vekaria (8) both falling to Faruk Ochimi who impressed picking up 4 for 20. Narendra’s innings included 3 fours and 4 sixes in an aggressive batting display.
Narendra found some late support from veteran Ramesh Mepani who produced a cameo 28 runs from 20 deliveries finding the boundary once and thumping two sixes late on.
The 143 set by Tigers was always going to challenge the Knights who fell short by 7 runs. Rakep and Rajesh Bhudiya did the majority of the damage claiming three wickets a piece, Rakep with 3 for 27 and Bhudiya the more economical one with 3 for 13.
But it was Narendra’s afternoon when he cleaned up the dangerous looking Davis Arinaitwe with 9 runs needed and then brilliantly threw down Ochimi’s stumps at the non-strikers end after they attempted to force a non-existant bye in the final over.
Knights fought bravely but failed to find long standing partnerships that would propel them to the target. John Tumusiime top scored with 37 with skipper Arinaitwe and Frank Nsubuga scoring 26 and 25 runs respectively.
The two teams meet again in the East African Cup at the same venue.
In Mombasa, Kongonis brought to a halt Coast Pekee’s fine run beating them by a comfortable margin of 46 runs in the other play-off encounter in the East African premier league match.
William Rudd stroke an explosive 56 from 34 balls to support Collins Obuya’s patient 39 upfront to help Kongonis post 135. Emmanuel Bundi then claimed three key wickets for 23 including that of inform batsman Irfan Karim (6) to trigger a top order collapse and restrict them to 89 from 20 overs.