Surprises as Kenya's new leagues get underway
East Africa Elite League
The East Africa Elite League - the new regional Twenty20 competition - finally got underway at the weekend and the first round of matches produced two upsets as Kongonis and Nile Knights, two of the pre-tournament favourites, lost their opening games.
Nile Knights travelled to Kampala and lost to Rwenzori Warriors by ten runs after seeming poised for victory before losing late wickets.
The biggest surprise came at Nairobi Club where Kongonis skittled Rift Valley Rhinos for 87 , and that in itself was a recovery after they were reduced to 37 for 6. But from 30 for 1, Kongonis lost nine wickets for 37 to lose by 20 runs, former national captain Jimmy Kamande leading the rout with 3 for 10 from his four overs.
The only game to go as expected was at Coast Gymkhana where Nairobi Buffalos bowled out Coast Pekee for 99 and then eased to a nine-wicket win with nine balls to spare.
East African Cup
The following day the same teams met in the opening round of the East African Cup, the 50-over tournament, but this time there were no upsets.
Kenya Kongonis put their loss behind them to thrash Rift Valley Rhinos by 162 runs. Rakep Patel (100*) and former national keeper Kennedy Otieno (80) added 134 for the third wicket in a total of 269 for 3, and the visitors limped to 107 in 39.3 overs.
Nile Knights also got some measure of revenge with a 54-run (D/L) victory over Rwenzori Warriors. The Knights were in trouble on 112 for 5 before Davis Arinaitwe (55) and Deusdedit Muhumza (78) helped them recover to 292 with a sixth-wicket stand of 95. After a rain break, the Warriors were set 166 from 20 overs, but crumpled to 42 for 6 before eventually limping to 111.
The only side to mount a successful chase were Nairobi Buffalos who eased to an eight-wicket win with 12 overs to spare after dismissing Coast Pekee for 161.