'Malindi' bowls Sikh Union to Twenty20 semis

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Nov 25, 2021
  • Shikotra put on crucial stands to get his side back into the match. He came to the crease with scores at 47 for 4 in the eighth over and batted through the remaining overs. (SNA File Photo)

Jadavji ‘Malindi’ Bhimji’s four-wicket haul over Swamibapa at Nairobi Club propelled Sikh Union into the semi finals of Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Twenty20 Championships.

They beat Swamibapa by 17 runs after electing to bat first. Sikh Union recovered from 65 for 6 to post 132 for 8 in their allotted 20 overs. Raj Shikotra top scored with 56.

In reply, Swamibapa, who were aiming to win their first major title after several years were left reeling at 45 for 4. And, although Mitesh Sangani’s knock of 33 and Francis Otieno’s 30 did offer them a glimmer hope, the climbing run-rate and a flourish of late wickets proved decisive as they finished on 115 for 8, with bowler Bhimji claiming 4 for 15.

The victory was especially emotional for Sikh Union’s batsman Gurdeep Singh, who said: “It was a remarkable effort by the boys. We were confident even though we fell a few runs short. All credit to the team because we played according to our plan and we were also lucky.”

Swamibapa captain Otieno added: “We were strong in our bowling and fielding departments. But the batting was a big disappointment as we lost two early wickets. We were still trying to get singles and twos but with each over the required run-rate climbed. The nerves kicked in and we played some bad shots; but then that is all part of the game.”

Earlier, Shikotra had put on crucial stands to get his side back into the match watched by a small crowd. Coming to the crease with scores at 47 for 4 in the eighth over after the dismissal of Sikh Union’s top order batsmen, Shikotra batted through the remaining overs to lead his side to 132 for the loss of nine wickets.

Innings started on a sour note

Sikh Union’s inning started on a sour note when Ugandan import Arnold Otwani was caught on one and Nadeem Ahmed followed on a golden duck both to James Ngoche to leave his side on 21 for 2. They found themselves on 29 for 3 when Himanshu Dixit was also caught to Elijah Otieno on one when he failed to connect a bouncer.

Opener Gurdeep Singh who all this time was able to play Swamibapa’s bowlers with so much confidence became Ngoche’s third wicket when he was stumped on 35 from 31 balls. His departure paved way to Shikotra who faced 39 balls for total of 56 which included five boundaries and a six.

Indeerpet Singh was the third highest scorer for the visitors with 11 runs. In reply, Swamibapa got off well with Alex Obanda and Otieno scoring 36 runs in six overs before Obanda was bowled by Bhimji. He scored 21 runs from 23 balls.

Bhimji was at it again, an over later when he had Maurice Ouma caught on one. New acquisition Nelson Mandela was the third victim for Bhimji when he was caught by Shikotra on three in the ninth over to leave the home side on 47 for 3.

Nehemiah Odhiambo was trapped in front on one too and at 49 for 4, Swamibapa was headed to post a low score. But a fifth wicket stand of 43 between Otieno and Sangani gave them hope as the two piled up runs.

The stand was finally broken when Otieno was caught and bowled by Indeepret Singh. Sangani followed immediately and this seemed to have been the final nail on Swamis inning.