Uganda continued their winning streak with a commanding 46-run victory over Nigeria at Kyambogo University Oval to make it five in five at the on-going Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Division I Twenty20 tournament yesterday.
The victory sealed Uganda’s qualification to the ICC World Twenty20 Global Qualifier scheduled for Dubai in November. But the task to retain the African title remains half done with a looming Kenyan threat.
Uganda lead the log with 10 points from their five outings with Kenya in second on eight after suffering a 30-run loss to the hosts on Day One.
Kenya, however, boast a better Net Run Rate (NRR) of 3.262. Coach Martin Suji’s side have a NRR of 2.305, meaning Kenya can still take the title if they defeat Uganda in the last match at Lugogo on Friday morning.
But Uganda, spurred on by a strong onslaught from siblings Lawrence Ssematimba (49 off 36), Frank Nsubuga (33 off 18) and Roger Mukasa (25 off 24), showed immaculate awareness of the possible final-day mathematics when they steered Uganda to their highest total of the showpiece (169 for 5) thus far against Nigeria.
Skipper Davis Karashani lost the toss and was asked to bat by his Nigerian opposite Adekunle Adegbola. Ssematimba and Nsubuga, in particular, played with urgency by running hard between the wickets and picking up as many quick singles in their entertaining third-wicket partnership of 56 runs off 39 balls.
Left-hander Arthur Kyobe had earlier given cushion to the innings with a 33-ball-39 that included one boundary and two sixes. “We want to keep the calculators away on the final day,” said Karashani. “After the narrow win against Botswana, you have seen how the guys have responded well by expressing themselves. “It is the same mentality we are going to carry into the games against Tanzania and Botswana (today).”
Kenya though remained in touching distance with a ruthless 98-run win over Tanzania at Lugogo for their fourth victory as the second round got underway yesterday.
Collins Obuya’s luck with the toss continued and it was fireworks throughout as Kenya set 185 for 5 – the second highest score of the tournament after their 204 for 4 against Nigeria in the first round.
Obuya blasted 37 not out off 15, Irfan Karim stroked 37 off 29, Tanmay Mishra made 27 off 19, Aga Ragheb reached 26 off 25 and Rakep Patel added 25 off 24 as every Kenyan batsman contributed significantly.
Only spinner Riziki Kiseto (2/16) stood out from a blunt and luckless Tanzanian bowling arsenal.
Kenya will be looking to continue their title hunt with another authoritative shift against Botswana this morning at Kyambogo Oval.
Uganda 169/5 Nigeria 123/5
Kenya 185/5 Tanzania 87/8
FIXTURES - TODAY
Uganda vs. Tanzania (10am)
Nigeria vs. Tanzania (2.30pm)
Kenya vs. Botswana (10am)
Uganda vs. Botswana (2.30pm)
TOMORROW - FEBRUARY 28
Kenya vs. Nigeria (10am)
Botswana vs. Tanzania (10am)