Last week was the final week end was the final weekend of group stage matches in the East Africa Cricket leagues. Unlike previously reported by this blog, this wasn’t to determine places for classical semi finals knockout stages. Cricket is way too complicated for that. Instead there will be a 4th and 5th place playoff matches to set up the one semifinal match the following weekend to determine who gets in the finals. confused? Me too.
As it was going it weekend, only Ruwenzori Warriors were the team most assured of their place in the finals round. They were hosting Kanbis Tigers at home. Kanbis being a team needing victory in both games, to be absolutely sure of a shot at finals day. As it was the T20 game was tied with both teams finishing on 137/8 for their twenty overs. Ruwenzori through to the finals; Kanbis securing and 2nd v 3rd playoff match. Where Kanbis’ batting vanished to the following day (and one day batting generally this season) is a mystery the Tigers will have to solve before next weekend. Shot out for 85, they eventually succumbed to a 6 wicket defeat.
The Nile Knights were in Mombasa to take on the vastly improved Coast Pekee franchise. Having been the whipping boys of last season, this season Coast came into the last weekend of group games 3rd in the Premier League and tied on points with Ruwenzori at the top of the Cup. Whereas over the past weeks, it was the batting of Irfan Karim that won them their successes, their double against the Knight came down to the bowling of one Jignesh Patel. Figures of 3 wickets for 8 runs (restricting the Knights to a tournament low of 53/9) in the Premier League, and an amazing 6/20 in the Cup (restricting the Knights to 64 all out) set up easy wins for Pekee.
In the all Kenyan derby of the weekend, Kenya Kongonis were hosting Rift Valley Rhinos. Both teams have struggled to win consistently this season and for this reason were bottom of both competitions. So in a sense their matches were in a way wooden spoon finals. At the end of the day the matches were squared, Kongonis winning the Premier league match by 6 wickets (Alex Obanda scoring 63 to secure the win) and the Rhino’s winning the Cup game by 13 runs.