The enhanced batting efforts in the two ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (CWCQ) warm-up matches has eased tensions and lately created a rare aura of confidence in Team Uganda’s camp in Tuaranga, New Zealand.
Top-order batsmen may have been a little cautious during their 73-run loss to United Arab Emirates on Friday but an excellent execution earned Uganda a morale-boosting 71-run win over Canada at Mount Maunganui on Saturday. That victory not only offered a statement of intent but also gave coach Johan Rudolph’s charges unwavering hope ahead of the CWCQ Group B opener against Netherlands today. “When we got here ten days ago, we quickly wanted to have our top-order batsmen to gel,” captain Davis Karashani disclosed in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor from the team base at the Trinity Whalf Hotel prior to the team’s morning training session yesterday. “Now, everything seems to be working out right. We just have to work on a few more details before tomorrow (today),” the 26-year-old said.
Aside from his economical bowling of 2/13, struggling opening batsman Roger Mukasa showed signs of regaining his mojo with a 42-ball 23 in his 53-run opening stand with Abram Mutyagaba (51 off 79) against Canada. Hamza Saleh top-scored with seven boundaries and one maximum with the highest score of 79 off 84 as Uganda set 245 for 8. Karashani used eight different bowlers as Canada were bundled out for 174 with 28 balls to spare.
Coach Rudolph was impressed by the display. “It’s been very worthwhile arriving early and assessing the playing conditions and the weather,” Rudolph said.
“Our bowling and fielding are good, the batting has been going really well, and hopefully we can carry that form through to the tournament.”
Unlike Uganda, Netherlands have traditionally been strong performers in 50-over cricket over the last decade, and have qualified to the last three editions of the ODI World Cup (2003, 2007 and 2011). “There is really not much to say. It’s a big game for us against the favourites but we understand how important it is to start well in such big events,” Karashani offered.
2001 CWCQ champions Netherlands are the top-ranked team in the pool and their captain Peter Borren, who was born in Christchurch, is looking forward to representing the Dutch in his country of origin.