Exciting ties boost 2021 Advanced Players League  

04Sep 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Exciting ties boost 2021 Advanced Players League  

THE 2021 Advanced Cricket Players League (APL) has not been short of pulsating ties, with duels that were played in the first two days of the showdown giving fans the much-needed enthusiasm.

Royal Rhinos cricket team's players in a group photo after confronting Buffalo Blasters in a 2021 Advanced Players League (APL) clash, which took place in Dar es Salaam recently. The squad is regarded as one of the enterprising outfits in the event. PHOTO: COURTESY OF TCA

One of the tournament's first-day ties brought together Royal Rhinos and Buffalo Blasters.

Royal Rhinos were led by Arshaan Jasani, a talented left-hander, and assistant skipper Ali Mpeka.

Buffalo Blasters were captained by experienced cricketer Kassim Nassor assisted by Jitin Pratap Singh.

The tie started with Nassor winning the toss and electing to bat, which was a good decision, but Buffalo Blasters' openers, Issa Kikasi and Dinesh Rabadiya, got out quickly.

Singh had a bit of bad luck as Nassor hit a straight drive, which came off Royal Rhinos' Kartik Syal's hand and hit the stump at the non-striker end, only to get Singh out of the crease same way Nassor got run out.

And with a lot of ups and down, Buffalo Blasters reached 110 runs all out in the 19th over with credit going to Royal Rhinos' pacer Kibwana Salum for taking five wickets.

Jasani, a proper batsman, showed the rest how to bat in slow pitches, proving cricket fanatics, who believe fresh pitches are always slow and not friendly to batsmen, wrong.

He ensured Royal Rhinos come out with a win with no hiccups, and the opener, along with fellow opener Nandakishan Pottachira, put up a 98-run partnership.

With Pottachira getting run out on 35 runs, which included two sixes, Jasani came not out ensuring the side wins with the cricketer posting the first score, which surpassed the half-century mark.

Jasani just knows how to score runs in any condition and that is what a batsman should do.

A cricketer who gets his hands on the bat in a competition should never complain of the pitch condition.

It is all about applying and supplying, the youthful batsman applied himself and supplied runs, which is what is required in the game of cricket.

The performer, whose father, Ayzaz, is a well-known veteran cricketer that has helped Aga Khan Sports Club clinch silverware in many tournaments, is certainly following in the veteran's footsteps.

The opening day ties' best players' prizes went to Royal Rhinos' Kibwana Salum and Tembo Stars' Ankit Baghel, whose squad beat Twiga Titans by four wickets in the first clash.

Salum and Baghel as well turn out for Aces Cricket Club in regional club showpieces.

The second day's first game, which brought together Simba Kings and Tembo Stars, culminated with Tembo Stars having the last laugh after recording a six-wicket win.

Tembo Stars had won the toss, chose to bowl, and got Simba Kings all out for 110 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs courtesy of Harsheed Chohan's four wickets.

The in-form Chohan claimed wickets of Simba Kings' top three batsmen, openers Ivan Ismail and Kheel Suchak, and Jatin Darji, a cricketer slotted in at number three.

The youthful cricketer's showing made inroads through Simba Kings' batting lineup.

Darji was the performer with the most runs as the top-order batsman ended with 46 runs, notching three boundaries and a six.

In reply, Tembo Stars did not have much to worry about, given they had lined up such gifted openers like Ankit Baghel and Nisar Ahmed.

The opener backed their power with clean hitting, cricket lovers saw Ahmed clear Simba Kings' Darji for four huge and flat sixes.

Ahmed was the cricketer with the most runs, he was eight runs short of a half-century, cracking three fours and four sixes.

Ultimately Chohan and captain, Riziki Kiseto, batted to close the game to ensure all was well for Tembo Stars.

Kiseto posted 14 runs not out, Chohan chipped in with seven runs not out. 

The agile Tembo Stars mounted a successful chase for the loss of four wickets in 18.4 overs.

Tembo Stars have managed to maintain a solid showing, which has seen them lead the rest of the pack having posted four wins in as many fixtures as of Thursday.

Tembo Stars and Royal Rhinos had started the event well and were tipped to become some of the tournament favourites based on their game tactics.

Chohan won the best player of the match for this game, thanks to his four-wicket haul. Unity Computer firm sponsored the prize.

With the league fixtures having been set to come to an end yesterday, league leaders, Tembo Stars, second-placed Buffalo Blasters, Royal Rhinos, and Simba Kings, who came third and fourth respective, were well-placed to progress to the last four.

Tembo Stars' four wins in four matches have the league leaders notching a 0.8700 net run rate, Buffalo Blasters recorded victory in three fixtures out of four and ended with a 0.2500 net run rate.

Royal Rhinos had taken part in five clashes, commanding victory in two games and losing three matches, ultimately settling for a 0.5400 net run rate.

Much as Simba Kings were level with third-placed Royal Rhinos on matches won and lost, Simba Kings had ended with an inferior net run rate -0.1100.

The showpiece, organized by Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA), is one of the tournaments hosted on regular basis, seeking to improve cricket promotion in the country.

The showpiece final will take place on September 5 at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club's oval.

According to TCA information officer Atif Salim, Reliance Insurance firm and Azania Bank are this season's APL main sponsors.

The showdown's co-sponsors are G1 Security, Harab Motors, Hitech Sai, Sterling, General Petroleum, and Pepsi.

Twiga Titans are the 2021 APL defending champions, they laid their hands on the 2020 competition's trophy after commanding a four-run victory over Chui Challengers in the final played on August 16.