Ugandan sides dominate regional finals
It may have been a competition devised to improve standards in Kenya, but there must be a few red faces inside Cricket Kenya that next weekend's finals will be dominated by the two Ugandan sides. Rwenzori Warriors, the form team, will meet Nile Knights in the Twenty20 East Africa Premier League on Saturday and then the Knights take on Kongonis in the 50-over East Africa Cup the next day.
Conspiracy theorists had been working hard all week given that Nile Knights had to beat Rwenzori Warriors on Saturday to ensure they pipped Rift Valley Rhinos into second place in the East Africa Premier League. One Ugandan side, already through to the final, would throw the match to allow another through, so the argument went. As it was, it was a close game which the Knights won by five wickets with three balls to spare. Arthur Kyobe was the hero for the Knights, making 83 from 54 balls out of his side's 127 for 5.
Rift Valley Rhinos, meanwhile, did all they had to with a three-wicket victory over Kongonis in a low-scoring rain-affected match which produced 111 runs and 17 wickets. Needing a seemingly paltry 54 from 15.2 overs, the Rhinos slid to 29 for 7 before squeezing home off the final delivery.
The biggest upset came when Coast Pekee, without a win in either format, stunned Nairobi Buffaloes to record a 13-run victory. Nadeem Ahmed's 91 steered Pekee to 170 for 4, their biggest total of the competition by some way, and Buffaloes came up short as their innings subsided in a spate of run-outs.
With Kongonis already through to the East Africa Cup final, the attention was again centred on the winner-take-all match in Kampala, and again the Knights beat the Warriors - while the result 24 hours earlier had not impacted on the Warriors, this defeat meant they missed out on the final. The Warriors batting let them down as they crumbled to 114 chasing 225 to fall to a 110-run defeat.
Nairobi Buffaloes ensured there was no repeat of Saturday's humiliation by inflicting a 101-run defeat on Coast Pekee.