Kahar century spurs Swamibapa to League victory

Sunday November 17 2019

Swamibapa's Rushabh Patel leads teammates in celebrations after winning the Nairobi Invitational Cricket League at Nairobi Gymkhana on November 17, 2019. Swamibapa beat Sir Ali Muslim Club by 80 runs in the final. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |


Kenyan-based middle-order Rakesh Kahar from India Sunday displayed his tone with the bat, cracking a century as Swamibapa beat Sir Ali Muslim Club by 80 runs to lift the inaugural Nairobi Invitational Cricket League (NICL) title at the Nairobi Gymkhana.

Kahar smashed 102 runs that included six sixes and four fives not out as Swamibapa, who won the toss and elected to bat, scored 298 for the loss of eight wickets in 50 overs.

In their chase, Sir Ali, who shocked many to reach the final, managed 213 runs all out in 46.4 overs.

Kahar, who came in at number six, staged a thrilling partnership of 113 runs with Dhwanil Patel in what was one of the highlight of the deep.

Patel, who smashed 59 runs off 54 balls, fell for the fifth wicket off Vishal Kukandi's delivery to bring Swamibapa's score to 250 for 5 in 46.6 overs.

Kahar hit the century in the last over in a match where Rushab Patel was Swamibapa's third highest scorer with 41 after facing 53 balls. It's Ugandan Siranje Nsubuga, who plucked Rushab out for the second wicket as Swamipaba brought their tally to 84/2 in 22.2 overs.


Nsubuga and Dandip Adole claimed two wickets each for Sir Ali.

Kahar might have cracked a century but it was international Maurice Ouma's two crucial catches that sent Sir Ali skipper Gurdeep Singh and Vishal Kukedi out for the fourth and fifth wickets by Lameck Onyango and Jadavji Bhimji that turned around the game for Swamibapa.

Gurdeep managed 46 runs off 64 deliveries before going out as Sir Ali's tally scaled to 161/4 in 34.1 overs. Kukedi, who scored 35 off 21, brought the scored to 166/5 in 35.1 overs before also exiting.

International James Ngoche claimed four wickets but conceded 34 runs while Dhimji took three wickets to take in 37 runs.

The tournament that lasted for three months was sponsored by Mombasa Cement and Hirani Telecom.

"I had a game plan to score in between the line up and the middle order made it happen," said Swamibapa's coach David Tikolo. "Sir Ali had beaten us before but our goal was to win this league unbeaten and we just did it."

Sir Ali skipper Gurdeep Singh rued the wild bowling from his charges. "We conceded 140 runs from the last 15 overs which was quite high. We also dropped several crucial catches," said Gurdeep adding that Swamibapa also fielded well with the two catches by Ouma altering their game plan.

However, Gurdeep praised his charges for reaching their first ever league final in 15 years.