BetBarter Zambia T10 group stage round-up and finals preview

Zambia Cricket League

Betbarter Zambia T10 Premier League | Lotus Sport Ground, Lusaka

Matchday 3 | 11/07/2020

Report by Kieran Holly and Isaac Lockett 

After the final round of group games of the Betbarter Zambia T10 Premier League, it is time to produce a final round-up of the group stage and a look at the final days action.

The fixtures from matchday 3 were: 

Kitwe Kings vs Kabwe Stars 

Lusaka Heats vs Ndola Blitz 

Kabwe Stars vs Ndola Blitz 

Lusaka Heats vs Kitwe Kings   

Kitwe Kings

Squad: Himal Patel (C), Chetan Reddy (VC), Azhar Bangliwala (WK), Madhawa Kawsha, Azhar Haveliwala, Sarfraz Nomani, Vasim Akram, Joyeb Chand, Bharat Kara, Mahroof Patel, Ayaz Dadabhai, Sanjay Patel, Mohsin Abdhul Hayat, Titus Fernando, Warna Peiris and Bharat Kara.

Results so far:

Victory against the Lusaka Heats by 6 runs

Defeat against the Ndola Blitz by 4 wickets

Defeat against the Kabwe Stars by 6 wickets

Victory against the Ndola Blitz by 10 wickets

Defeat against the Kabwe Stars by 8 wickets

Defeat against the Lusaka Heats by 28 runs

After a mixed bag of two wins and two losses the previous weekend, Kitwe Kings were unable to build upon last week’s performances following their two losses this matchday. 

Taking on Kabwe Stars in the opening fixture of the day, the Kings were put in to bat first on what unfolded to be a frustrating innings. The Kings, helped by a commendable 30 off 26 by Sarfraz Nomani, posted a score of 79 at the expense of 8 wickets. With the ball in hand, the Kings made a promising start. Joyeb Chand opened the bowling, conceding just the 2 runs and ending the over with a wicket courtesy of a brilliant stumping. Despite battling it out to limit the runs, the Kabwe Stars eventually chased the total with 13 balls remaining at a loss of two wickets.

In the final match of the group stages, the Kings came up against the Heats. Bowling first in the game, the Kings bowlers put in a valiant effort against the Heats, but a mesmerizing inning from Javid Patel meant that the Kings would be chasing 118. Praise must go to Ayaz Dadabhai, whose figures read 2-0-12-0. Chasing 118 was a steep challenge for the team but the batting order performed valiantly to make it an entertaining encounter. A score of 40 off 20 balls against some fantastic bowling by Himal Patel outlined his quality. 

Overall, it had been a difficult group stage for the Kings, but this does not mean that it was without moments to be proud of. The overall 10 wicket victory against the Blitz has to be one of the performances of the competition, but it is a real shame that the team were unable to hold onto their momentum from a victory in the first game of the competition against the Heats.

Kabwe Stars

Squad: Joseph Chinunga (C), Godfrey Kandela (VC), Isaac Mwaba (WK), Allan Nsesha (WK), Gladson Kandela, Kanswe Omala, Tausif Panchibaya, Madaliso Mvula, Mohammade Baidu, Mohsin Agaz, Tapson Nyirongo, Ashraf Lulat, Lawrence Mutale, Zakir Patel, James Zimba

Results so far:

Defeat against the Blitz by 8 wickets

Defeat against the Heats by 24 runs

Victory against the Kings by 6 wickets

Victory against the Heats by 5 wickets

Victory against the Kings by 8 wickets

Defeat against the Blitz by 17 runs

Opting to bowl first in the opening game, the Stars shined in the field with a display of acrobatic catches and tidy bowling. In an all-round dominant bowling display, the picks of the bunch include Godfrey Kandala (2-0-15-2) and James Zimba (2-0-8-3). A combined 5 wickets at a loss of 23 runs proved a fatal wound to the Kings. With the bat, in a steady innings the Stars were pulled over the line thanks to a handy 22 in 11 by the Joseph Chinunga, backed up by a powerful display by Isaac Mwaba, scoring 49* in 27.

In their second game of matchday 3, the stars came up against the tournament front runners, the Ndola Blitz. Bowling first against the Blitz, the Stars made an early breakthrough thanks to some fantastic work in the field by Tapson Nyirongo who ran out Craig Stow. Once again, the stand out for the Kabwe stars with the ball was vice-captain Godfrey Kandela, who claimed fantastic figures of 2-0-12-3 to secure his place as one of the tournament’s premier bowlers. Complementing the performance of Kandela, there was a fine display of skilful bowling from James Zimba (2-0-9-1); his slow left-arm orthodox bowling helped to restrict the Blitz to 94-7 off their 10 overs. Mention must also go to Joseph Chinunga for his performance in the field, taking two important catches. In reply, despite a fantastic innings of 28 off 25 balls from Chinunga, the Stars were unable to chase the target finishing on a total of 77-6 from their 10 overs.    

The defeat against the Blitz rounded off the group stage for the Stars but it is one that the team can reflect positively on with some fantastic performances. The bowling unit for the stars was exceptional as a collective throughout the tournament. 

Lusaka Heats

Squad: Mukesh Medium (C), Ashish Desai (VC), Mehul Patel (WK), Viswanadha Mudunuri, Mohammed Sohel Kadva, Aditya Kelkar, Deepak Siroya Bowler, Javid Patel, Nainesh Patel, Hashmi Sayyed, Nitin Jesani, Sebaj Patel, Babu Hayden, Manoj Patel and Irfan Galiya. 

Results so far:

Defeat against the Kings by 6 wickets

Victory against the Stars by 24 runs

Defeat against the Blitz by 9 wickets

Defeat against the Stars by 5 wickets

Defeat against the Blitz by 31 runs

Victory against the Kings by 28 runs 

Opening the innings with the ball in the second match of the day, the Heats, despite economical spells by Javid Patel (2-0-15-0) and Mukesh Rankwar (2-0-16-1), failed to keep the Blitz contained resulting in an imposing 111 to chase.  In the second innings, the Heats batted steadily and built momentum through Javid Patel (23 from 20) and Aditya Kelkar (26 from 18). Unfortunately, following their dismissals the run rate began to slow again, thus falling short by 31 runs. 

The performance against the Kings will live long in the memory of the Heats players, especially Javid Patel. Coming in at 3, Patel scored a hugely impressive 75 off 30 balls, the highest individual score of the competition so far. His ability to adapt his hitting to the bowling style and the clean striking of the ball really set his innings apart. Complementing this was a handy 21 from 12 by Nitin Jesani. The fantastic performance from the Heats set up a score of 118 – 3 from their 10 overs. To complete the victory for the Heats, the entire bowling unit contributed with a fantastic display, with the pick of the bunch being Viswanadha Mudunuri’s return of 2-0-19-3.

The Lukasa Heats group stage has been one which has shown glimpses of real promise. Despite only the two victories for the team, there have been glimpses of some real talent within the team. There have also been moments where the luck did not side in the Heats favour, especially in the field. On the whole, the quality of their performance is not quite justified by the results. That being said, there are certainly moments to be proud of.   

Ndola Blitz

Squad: Robert Rogers (C), James Squire (VC), Connor Fletcher (WK), Chris Mai, Calion Harris, James Badcock, Aiden Hawksworth, Keyle Russel, James Green, Devan Cowley, Oliver Snart, Thomas Vermaark, Richard Parker, Greg Geldenhuys and Craig Stow.

Results so far:

Victory against the Stars by 8 wickets

Victory against the Kings by 4 wickets

Victory against the Heats by 9 wickets

Defeat against the Kings by 10 wickets

Victory against the Heats by 31 runs

Victory against the Stars by 17 runs

The day certainly belonged to the Blitz! Explosive batting and tidy, economical bowling has been rewarded by two considerable victories in the final group stage games. 

Despite losing Hawksworth in the first innings to a plush LBW, Connor Fletcher and James Green quickly steadied the ship and had the bit between their teeth, producing scores of 43 off 24 and 23 off 11, respectively. Ball in hand was a bowling masterclass, with all the bowlers having an economy below 11. Two pacers in particular stood out, James Green (2-0-12-0) and Greg Geldenhuys (2-0-18-3).

The Blitz put in a fantastic performance against the Stars to round off their group stage. Being asked to bat first, the stars scored 94-7 from their 10 overs. Both Connor Fletcher and James Green maintained their form from their previous performances. Fletcher scored a responsible 22 off 19 balls and was arguably the solidifying batsmen throughout the innings; Green’s batting took a different approach and scored 22 off 8 balls but both knocks proved to be crucial for the Blitz. When attention turned to defending the target, the entire bowling unit performed to a high level with 4 bowlers managing an impress economy rate of 7 or below; James Green (2-0-14-0), Greg Geldenhuys (1-0-4-1), Robert Rogers (2-0-13-1), James Squire (1-0-6-0).

The Blitz definitely have been the team of the tournament so far. With the 5 victories so far, the team look favourites to win the tournament, but the question will be whether or not the deal can deal with the added pressure of knock-out cricket.    

A look at today’s action: 

In the eliminator, the Ndola Blitz take on Kabwe Stars . A tasty fixture to start the day; both sides have displayed immaculate bowling throughout the group stage

The qualifier consists of the Lusaka Heats against the loser of the eliminator. It would be expected that both the Blitz and the Stars would be favourites this fixture, however the Heats will have more energy and momentum from the victory in their final group stage game. Nothing can be ruled out.

The Final will consist of the winner of the Eliminator against the winner of the Qualifier. It’s all set to be an exciting final day of cricket at the Zambian capital with a full round up of the Finals Day to follow!

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