Uganda’s latest sensation Arnold Otwani was already talking about playing cricket in International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division II soon after guiding the Cricket Cranes to a five-wicket win over Denmark in the opening game of Division III here in Al Amarat, Muscat on Friday.
The Division II showpiece doesn’t happen until April 18-28, 2019 in Namibia but after his match-winning knock of 88 off 86 balls, Otwani can dare to dream.
“Oh Yeah, I feel so good. It has been more than a year away from the national team. I had some ups and downs but I have worked so hard to be here again,” said Otwani, whose knock comprised of 15 boundaries and helped Uganda reach their target with 82 balls to spare.
“I have proved my critics wrong. I am happy to deliver and this should be the start of many good things to come. I dedicate this award to the coach (Steve Tikolo) because he believed in me.
“Now our main target is to go to Division II. We don’t want to either look back or even go a level down. Even in the next matches our plan is to come hard at the opponents but by playing basic cricket. We are hungry to do well.”
Only two places, for the top two finishers, are at stake from this six-team global event to progress to the Division II in a series of leagues constituted as the qualification pathway to the 2023 World Cup in India.
The 23-year-old Otwani also paid tribute to his fellow top performer on the day Charles Waiswa, who finished with figures of 4 for 25. “Charles bowled very well. He earned all his wickets because he had to hit the deck hard and extract some more pace and bounce from the wicket.”
The Cricket World Cup (CWC) League 2 line-up will be completed by the top four teams from Division 2, who will join Scotland, Nepal and United Arab Emirates. The bottom four teams from the Oman event will play in the ICC Cricket World Challenge League.
By press time, Uganda was taking on USA in a crunch fixture looking to make the Americans pay for having inflicted a 13-run defeat on them during the same event hosted by the former in May 2017 at the lakeside Entebbe Cricket Ground.
It was that loss that condemned Uganda to unchartered territory with their first-ever relegation to the Division IV tier. Luckily, Uganda quickly regained its status by winning subsequent Division IV event in Malaysia May 2018.
ICC WCL DIVISION III, OMAN
Kenya 164 all out in 49.2 overs
Oman 166/5 in 42.5 overs
Oman won by 5 wickets
(with 43 balls remaining)
Man of Match: Kaleemullah of Oman
(4 for 26 in 10 overs including 4 maidens)
Denmark 165 all out in 44.2 overs
Uganda 167/5 in 36.2 overs
Uganda won by 5 wickets
(with 82 balls remaining)
Man of Match: Arnold Otwani
(88 runs off 86 balls (15 fours) & 4 catches)
TUESDAY’S FIXTURES - NOVEMBER 13
Oman vs. Denmark, OCA Turf 1
Uganda vs. Kenya, OCA Turf 2
*All matches start at 8.30am Ugandan time.