Support from their affiliate family in Kenya had Kutchi Tigers easily grab fourth place in Jazz Safari Division One 50-Over League.
Absence of that this year made things tough for the Tigers. And skipper Alphesh Hirani easily acknowledges that.
To confirm their topflight status for 2017, Tigers needed a close 21-run victory over Nile in their final match of the season at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
“We are very happy and very excited,” Hirani said of the team’s ecstatic dressing room after the match. “We worked very hard today and deserve it.”
The victory was Tigers’ sixth of the season and took them to 41 points, 11 adrift of safety. But for Nile, the 2015 runners-up remain stuck in some sort of mathematics.
They retained a bonus point, moving to 33 in sixth, just three above Tornado who face Tornado Bee in the title decider this weekend. “Since we were depleted, like it has been all season, we got the point we needed,” Nile’s Martin Ondeko offered. Nile can only survive the knife if title-chasing Tornado Bee beat their sister side.
Tigers will owe their relief much to Shantilal Raghvani. After Kenneth Waiswa (2/31) had Nanji Pindoriya trapped for a duck, the right-hander Raghvani made five boundaries in a half-century of 59 off 54.
His 68-run combination with Rharat Ghodadra (23 off 19) yielded some quick recovery.
Later, astute caution from Nehal Bibodi (38 off 58), Ramesh Gami (44 off 54) and Kanti Vekariya (18 off 26) against Aarya Parikh (3/22) and Ivan Kakande (2/32) helped them to safe 228 total in 46 overs. The start to Nile’s innings was dismantled by Narendra Halai (2/18) before Zephania Arinaitwe got out of hand with 10 fours in a 101-ball 70.
It was however not enough as Lalji Gondariya (4/45) starved the lower order of runs, leaving the Kutchi family elated.