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Stray Lions take NPCA title chase to the wire

Dice is certainly cast, with four rounds left in the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Super league; only one team looks poised for glory. It has been for the longest time a three-horse race in with Stray Lions, Kanbis and Swamibapa laying bare their raw intentions to nick the big one.

The weekends past have been topsy-turvy as the trio have had indifferent campaigns especially with duels against each other. The team of the moment would certainly be Stray Lions who have shown real intent of making a serious hunt.

The Peponi School-based outfit has been on a roll of sorts (176 points), what with an almost unblemished display this season and currently leading the standings by 17 points. Incidentally, the team coached by former international Collins Obuya has beaten both of its closest and biggest rivals in the frame and shape of Swamibapa and Kanbis respectively.

Star man Wilkin Mota and Kolkata Knight Riders import Yusuf Pathan has been a revelation this year for the Lions and added three more wickets to his haul against Nairobi Gymkhana after collecting four against Swami last time out.

Veteran Maurice Odumbe is back to his element plus the input of top wicket taker Hiren Varaiya, the red shirts look unstoppable this far. This was the ninth win of the calendar and was sweetened more by their dominant ethic at the crease leading to eight wicket score. Swamibapa only held onto the table for two weeks before collapsing on the chase.

The team that last clinched the championship in 2009 at crucial stages lapsed in concentration, hence going down unceremoniously. The losses to Stray Lions a fortnight ago only underscored their soft underbelly despite having in their ranks quality players like Emmanuel Bundi, Nehemiah Odhiambo and revamped batsman Alex Obanda.

Last Sunday saw Kanbis trample its sworn enemy Swami at its Eastleigh base with a 40 runs victory. Missing out its cream players to the Africa T20 championship in South Africa, the Lavington-based side had no answer particularly for an imperious opening bat of Rajesh Bhudia (six wickets) in the blue end. With a key match coming through against pole sitters Stray Lions in the weeks ahead, Swamibapa must find answers to their game approach fast.

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