KAMPALA. Something unusual is happening in the Jazz Safari National League for the first time in nearly half-a-decade.
Defending champions Tornado Bee have their fifth successive title ambitions in jeopardy after losing their first match of the season by five wickets to Charity Trust Fund at Entebbe on Sunday.
Cruising to the title has been the order of the day for Tornado Bee, staving off competition from Tornado, KICC, Nile and Challengers with relative ease over the years.
That shocking Entebbe accident in their second round opener left Tornado Bee second with 39 points from eight matches.
It has further blown the title race wide with leaders Aziz Damani, only promoted this year, holding a 10-point advantage after nine outings.
Most importantly, Tornado Bee captain Jeremy Kibuukamusoke should still be regretting the decision to bat first on a damp wicket.
“It was a wrong call,” admitted Kibuukamusoke, whose side struggled to set 194-6 after 50 overs.
“The wicket played well in the afternoon.” And that played into Charity’s hands, making it three wins in nine matches. “Tornado Bee batted too slowly at the start yet our openers did the contrary,” skipper Lawrence Ssempijja noted.
Proof? Tornado Bee were 35-1 after 15 overs and it is a 99-run second-wicket partnership between Akbar Baig (44 off 116) and Lawrence Ssematimba (50 off 70) that temporarily got them out of the rut.
Knock of urgency
Fred Achelam’s 31-ball 38 signified more of his maturity but there was less that came through from the rest of the batsmen because left-arm orthodox bowler Innocent Ndawula (3/43) stemmed the runs flow. The spinner is on form having picked career best figures of 7/54 against Damani over a week ago.
When the wicket let loose in the afternoon, Charity conjured a rare brilliant batting start, with openers Ronald Opio (38 off 55) and Simon Ssesaazi (15 off 25) making 59 runs for the first wicket in 12.5 overs.
Then a 96-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Steven Wabwose (48 off 60) and Man of Match (MOM) Jonathan Ssebanja (56* off 67) steered Charity further ahead.
Lanky Cosmas Kyewuta’s 20* off 18 steered Charity home in 38.5 overs, leaving the stunned opponents led by William Kibuukamusoke in unbearable pain.
Across the Nile River, traditional giants Wanderers secured one of the most comfortable wins of the season when they overcame Jinja SS by 109 runs. In Division Three, Pirates defeated Avengers by 44 runs.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
RESUTS - DIVISION ONE
Nile 156/10 Kutchi Tigers 157/4
Tornado Bee 194/6 Charity TF 195/5
SKLPS 137/10 Premier 139/4
Wanderers 212/10 Jinja SS 121/10