More surprises expected in elite league

Saturday August 27 2011

 More surprises expected in elite league

 

By Innocent Ndawula

The opening weekend of the East African Elite League sprung up a few surprises. The Rift Valley Rhinos shocked hosts Kongonis by 20 runs and the Ugandan franchise Rwenzori Warriors stunned Nile Knights by 10 runs at Nairobi Club Ground and Kyambogo oval in the respective opening Twenty20 East Africa Premier League duels.

Those two favourites Kongonis and Knights, however, rallied to redeem themselves in the subsequent 50-over East Africa Cup match-ups. Kongonis mauled Rhinos by 162 runs and Knights avenged their loss to Warriors with a 54-run victory in a rain-shortened affair last Sunday.

Only Nairobi Buffaloes left unscathed with two dominant triumphs over Mombasa-based Coast Pekee. Led by new Kenyan skipper Collins Obuya, the Buffaloes powered past Pekee by 7 wickets and nine balls to spare in the T20 clash, before following it up with an easy win in the East Africa Cup rubber. Pekee set 161, thanks largely to Martin Okoth Ndandason’s half ton of 57, but the hosts completed a comfortable chase with 12 overs to spare.

Today, the second weekend of the lucrative showpiece – a brainchild of Cricket Kenya’s CEO Tom Sears – takes centerstage and all six sides in the competition will be aiming to seize early momentum.

Much focus will be on the two Ugandan outfits, who host Kenyan sides, and know they can get one over them under familiar conditions before their own fans.

“We cannot afford to lose to them. We sent a signal last weekend that no side is weak and now have respect of our rivals,” said Rwenzori Warriors captain Lawrence Ssematimba, whose teams squares up with the unbeaten Buffaloes at Lugogo oval.

Coach-player Lameck Onyango, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Irfan Karim , Runish Gudhka and skipper Obuya will be the cogs for the Cricket Tours Africa-financed side that jets aboard Kenya Airways this morning – just in time for the Twenty20 face off at 1.30pm.

“I respect them but I also have match winners like Roger Mukasa (pictured below), Charles Waiswa and Ivan Thawithemwira,” argued the 29-year-old wicket-keeper batsman. Davis Karashani’s Nile Knights will be in Kyambogo oval against pre-tournament favourites Kongonis whereas Pekee host the Rhinos in an all Kenyan affair in Mombasa.

Today – East Africa Premier League (T20)
Nile Knights v Kongonis (Kyambogo)
Coast Pekee v Rift Valley Rhinos (Mombasa)
Rwenzori Warriors v Nairobi Buffaloes (Lugogo)

Sunday - East Africa Cup (50 overs)
Nile Knights v Kongonis (Kyambogo)
Coast Pekee v Rift Valley Rhinos (Mombasa)
Rwenzori Warriors v Nairobi Buffaloes (Lugogo)

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