Kampala. Wonders never cease happening in Ugandan cricket.
New comers Aziz Damani are seated top of the eight-team log with 55 points from 10 matches and literally three wins away from a maiden top-flight league title on the first time of asking.
More surprising is Kutchi Tigers who have surged from a casual fifth to second, on 48 points from 11 matches after beating Charity Trust Fund by 169 runs in Kyambogo on Sunday.
That fifth straight win was as a result of two centuries from Shantilal Raghavani and Ronak Patel. The pair is part of the Indian quartet which includes Aezaz Kothariya and Dineshkumar Nakrani, that has changed face for Tigers from an average side to a title bidder.
“Without them, it would not have been easy to second,” acknowledged Tigers’ captain Alphesh Hirani.
“They have brought in a wealth of experience at a time when most of us are unfit and with busy work schedules,”
During this time, Tigers have struggled with injuries to Nehal Bibodi, Nandi Kishore and Lalji Gondariya.
The four men from Gujarat were flown in by sponsor Ranmal Keshwala to particularly play for the Keshwala Boyz in the Rainbow Night Cricket Cup. But their contribution to Tigers has been immense.
Raghvani took the man-of-match award thanks to his 136-ball 164, the league’s highest individual score of the season thus far.
But Ronak celebrated his 28th birthday in style with a second ton in four matches after stroking an unbeaten 81-ball 106.
“I am happy to celebrate my day in this way,” said Ronak who has played with Axar Patel, currently with India on the tour of Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Nakrani has played in the famous Ranji Trophy alongside India skipper Virat Kohli, Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and spinner Ravindra Jadeja. Little wonder, all this experience pushed Tigers to 371-3, a target Charity could hardly meet. The youthful side Charity attempted a response in pursuit of atleast a bonus point through opener Simon Ssesazi (87 off 93) and Jonathan Ssebanja (49-run-a-ball) but they were bowled out for 202 runs in 37.1 overs after Dinesh Kumar’s spell of 5/26 in 6.1 overs.