Challengers defeat KCC to lift VR Naidu Cup

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Challengers Cricket Club players and their supporters after victory against Kigali CC on Sunday. (Courtsey)

Challengers Cricket Club won a record third VR Naidu Twenty20 Cup title after seeing off Kigali Cricket Club (KCC) by six wickets at Kicukiro Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Kigali Cricket Club captain Hassan Zaki won the toss and elected to bat first with his side posting 114 runs for a loss of seven wickets in the allocated 20 overs. Opening batsman Kamil Meera scored an impressive 37 runs off 42 balls including four boundaries but his fellow opening teammate Kazim Patel who managed 11 runs was bowled by Geoffrey Ghandi after 6.5 overs.

The on-form Ghandi dismissed Dhavalsin Gohel for a duck with Challengers captain Srinath Vardhineni taking a perfect catch before he claimed four wickets including Harish Patel (11 runs), Zaki who managed 26 runs off 23 balls, Muhammed Zeshan (duck) and Ahsen Ali (two runs).

“This is a great achievement for the club because winning three VR Naidu Cup titles in a row is no mean feat. We played well and deserved to win,” said the 44-year old Vardhineni, who was named man-of-the-match.

With a very widely experienced field of batsmen, Challengers chased the score in 16.2 overs winning by six wickets. However, KCC did not go down without a fight.  Mahebub Shaikh was bowled for a duck by Nirav Shan three balls into the first over before Gohel avenged his early departure in the first innings when he bowled Evode Mutuyimana who had managed 11 runs off 18 balls. Ugandan import Daniel Ruyange posted a match high 38 runs with Subhashish Samal adding 20 runs to complete a hat-trick of trophies in the annual tournament.

In the women’s category, Charity Cricket Club defeated the defending champions White Clouds by 20 runs to emerge champions.

White Clouds captain Veronique Iriho won the toss and chose to field first limiting Charity to 93 runs for a loss of four wickets in 20 overs. Miriam Maina top scored with an impressive 43 runs before teammate Diane Bimenyimana added 17 runs not out.

In the second innings, Diane Karitonda bowled and caught Flora Irakoze in the first over to make clear their intentions. Iriho managed 20 runs but Charity’s bowling attack was too strong for the reigning champions who were limited to 74 all out in 19.3 overs.