Forget his 19-year national team career but just two years ago at club level, veteran Benjamin Musoke was crowned cricket MVP by the fraternity and journalists’ body Uspa after lifting Tornado to the National 50-Over League title.
The calm and composed batsman had a quiet 2013 and, recently hang up his Cricket Cranes’ jersey but, he is not entirely out. Musoke struck a pivotal 92-ball 63 half-ton to help Tornado a narrow seven-run victory over Jinja SS at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
“When wickets kept falling, I need to be calm so as to give life to our innings,” a tired Musoke, commonly referred to as ‘Benzo’ by his peers, told Daily Monitor. “We should have won the game easily but team mediocre batting was followed by dropping so many important catches.”
The narrow victory moved Tornado to third position with 11 points from three outings while Jinja remained seventh with two points.
Against a spirited bowling unit of coach-player Habibu Mugalula (2/26), Aloysious Odoi (2/38) and Calvin Watuwa (2/20), Musoke firmly backed his captain Frank Nsubuga’s (14 off 39) decision to bat first with five boundaries and a six to move top of the batting charts with 152 runs from three innings.
In at four, Musoke shared a 43-run fourth-wicket stand with Nsubuga and had another 54-run seventh partnership with Robinson Turinawe (28 off 37) before Tornado were bowled out for 166 in 39.1 overs.
Musoke returned with 2/16, Nsubuga got 2/34 while Deus Muhumuza took 3/44 to suffocate Jinja’s early chase. Geoffrey Gandhi was dropped twice before he made five fours and two maximums to score a 55 off 98 but once his wicket fell, Jinja ran out of steam. In the 49th over, Odoi (17 off 50) was caught by Muhumuza at mid-on off Frank Akankwasa (1/14) when they needed seven off seven to win.
“We bowled well but our batting faced a reality check,” Mugalula said. Meanwhile, JACC got a walk over against Makerere, who did not turn up for action at Jinja SS Oval.