AGA KHAN cricketers started the season on a sound note after winning the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Cup following a five run victory over rivals, Academy Boys, in the final at the Annadil Burhani venue in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
It was the first major success for Aga Khan, whose victory ensured they maintained their superiority over their bitter rivals, apart from remaining as one of the accomplished outfits in domestic cricket. The winners opted to start batting in the 50-over formatted duel and posted 190 runs, losing all wickets to put themselves in a rather difficult position based on the less impressive total they managed in the innings.
Left handed opening batsman, Seif Khalifa, and the towering Vipin Abraham were the best performers with the bat in the Aga Khan squad during the innings, in which they notched 40 runs apiece to propel their side to the respectable total. Efforts by Academy Boys bowlers that were led by pacer, Benson Mwita, to limit Aga Khan to the lowest score possible somewhat paid off after the Boys' bowlers managed to skittle their opponents' batting order before the latter posted a challenging total.
Mwita, spinner, Kassim Nassor, and emerging medium pacer, Abdallah Mustafa, took two wickets apiece in their respective bowling spells to put Aga Khan's batsmen in check and keep their side's hopes of grabbing a win alive. Despite chasing what was obviously an achievable target, Academy Boys surprisingly failed to reach it as they managed 185 runs, losing all wickets to let the winning chance slip through their hands.
Nassor (44 runs) executed some fine knocks to lead the chase impressively whilst enjoying support from youngsters, Akash Philwani (36 runs), and Nassor Zahoro (28 runs), but the trio's efforts failed to help the side as Aga Khan bowlers mounted stiff opposition during the closing stages.
Aga Khan wicket takers were spinner, Riziki Kiseto, who took three, pacer, Abraham, and medium pacer, Yash Desai, who had two apiece in their fruitful attempts to frustrate Academy Boys' chase. The league is among top flight competitions organized by the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA ) with a view to promote the sport and prepare the players for major domestic and international assignments.