Stray Lions close in on NPCA league title

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 25, 2021
  • Stray Lion players at a past game. They beat Ruaraka in the NPCA league on Sunday.(Photo:SNA File)

Leaders Stray Lions survived a scare against Ruaraka Sports Club as they closed in on their first NPCA league on Sunday in a low-scoring game.

Opener Wilkin Mota and former national team skipper Maurice Odumbe took four and three wickets to bowl out the hosts to 116 in 33 overs, a score that seemed substandard even on a slow, low pitch offering some turn.

Stray Lions looked assured of victory when they raced to 47 for not loss but a middle-order collapse almost derailed their chase before they recorded a four wickets win away at Ruaraka Sports Club.

Six wickets fell for only 37 runs sent shivers in the Stray Lions dressing room before an unbeaten seventh wicket stand between Mota and Shem Obado steadied the side to tenth win of the season with 22.2 overs to spare.

Satyajsingh Gohil, Dhruvajisighn Vaja and Purshotam Vekaria each took two wickets as Stray Lions struggled to deal with their determined bowling performance.

Tanmay Mishra and Abraham Vadada put on 47 for the first wicket.

After Mishra was caught, Vadada and Manoj Sai looked to be in a position to see their team through easily until when Vaja had Sai caught on 12. From 47 for no, Stray Lions were 74 for 3 when debutant Salman Ahmed was caught behind on 5.

Six wickets fell for only 37 

Few balls later Vadada was on his way back to the pavilion when he was brilliantly caught behind by impressive wicket keeper Rauhul Chauhan.

Collins Obuya and Praveen Kumar fell in quick succession to leave their side on 84 for 6 Charlotte Edwards fell cheaply in pursuit of the low total but Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor wasted little time adding 32 from 21 balls for the second wicket.

Ngoche and Mota both hit a six and two fours to take the game away from the hosts in a five overs stand.

“I have felt that nervous before but it doesn’t get any easier watching the last few runs. The most important thing is we got a win here,” the relieved Stray Lions captain Hiren Varaiya said afterwards.

“I thought we did well to break the back of that score in the first six overs but then it got away from us a bit.”

Earlier, Stray Lions’ bowlers had impressed after the hosts has elected to bat. Mota struck with the last ball of the first over as Hitesh Varsani’s stumps were disturbed.

Chauhan and Karan Patel put on 25 in five overs Mota got his second when he had Chauhan caught on five. At 27 for 3, Vekaria and Keyur Parmar doubled the scores and got their side to 54.

The stand was broken by Odumbe who trapped Keyur on 11. Vekaria too fell to Odumbe’s spin on 14.

Mota and Obado linked up with four wickets in the middle before Odumbe got his third when he bowled top scorer Gohil on 39 to end on 116 all out.