By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Mar 17, 2017
Stray Lions have a second chance of qualifying for the 2017 NPCA Twenty20 final when they play against Nairobi Gymkhana in the second qualifier on Saturday.
The winner will face Swamibapa, the defending champions Swamibapa in the final on Sunday afternoon.
Can Stray Lions book their place in the NPCA T20 final for the first time in their history or will the youthful Nairobi Gymkhana break Stray Lions hearts?
Stray Lions got a second chance despite losing to Swamibapa in the first qualifier. According to the rules, if a team loses the first qualifier, they are relegated to the second qualifier where they play the winner of the eliminator which is Nairobi Gymkhana.
Stray Lions have enjoyed a dream season and could well have claimed their place in the final already had it not been for a poor show against the defending champions in the first qualifier where they fielded a weakened side.
Missing a couple of their first team players, Stray Lions tumbled against Swamibapa on their way to their first loss of the campaign.
Nairobi Gymkhana has not had an upper hand against Stray Lions in the previous matches but need a much better showing from their top order.
With the absence of Roger Mukasa, Collins Obuya and Shem Obado in their first qualifier last Sunday, it was expected that Abraham Vadada, Neil Narvekar and Shyam Sundar could measure up will put at the top of the order.
Top order failed
They failed dismally, managing a meagre 41 runs between them. What’s most concerning for the team is the fact that their three top order batsmen couldn’t lay a decent foundation on which the lower and middle order could build on.
If the Stray Lions are to beat Nairobi Gymkhana, their bowlers will have to nullify the skipper Karan Kaul. It comes as no real surprise that when Kaul doesn’t perform, Nairobi Gymkhana lose.
Maurice Odumbe, Hiren Varaiya Obado will all be expected to draining the runs' flow for Nairobi Gymkhana. If Odumbe and his team can make early in-roads, they stand a very good chance of advancing to a debut-season final.
While Stray Lions lost to Swamibapa, Nairobi Gymkhana booked a place in the final without bowling a ball after their opponents Kanbis failed to raise a side. They were awarded a walkover and a place in the second qualifier.
The news was a double blessing for Nairobi Gymkhana as they were heading into the match without their three top players namely Kaul, Lucas Oluoch and Rushab Patel who were with the national team in Nepal
Looking ahead, Nairobi Gymkhana will cross Forest Road over to Sikh Union knowing that they are the underdogs for the clash – something that will suit them perfectly.
They’ve thrived on the underdog tag all season and could surprise.