KAMPALA. Hosts Uganda recovered from two straight defeats during the ICC Africa Men’s Twenty20 Regional Finals with a seven-wicket victory over Ghana at University Oval in Kyambogo yesterday.
However, the Cricket Cranes still won’t get one of the two tickets to the ICC Global Qualifier due October in UAE as unbeaten Namibia and Kenya are comfortable in pole position.
The men from Windhoek and those from Nairobi are both tied on top of the standings with seven points apiece after their respective matches in Lugogo after Nigeria and Botswana were abandoned because of rain yesterday.
Namibia is top because the ODI nation possesses a superior Net Run Rate (NRR) and the two nations meet in a final of sorts at Kyambogo this afternoon. However, Uganda, on four points in fourth place, could play a small part in who qualifies when they meet Nigeria at Lugogo who still have a chance to UAE with five points in third place.
But the Cranes will be keen on a strong finish in front of their own faithful especially after defeating fellow West African opposition yesterday.
The job was easily done by Riazat Ali Shah who fired his third half-century in national colours of 53* runs off 36 balls for Uganda to meet their target of 114 runs with 29 balls to spare.
“After yesterday’s disappointment, we wanted to come back strong,” said a smiling Shah after picking his man-of-match award.
“It is always good to score such numbers and I hope I will get another one tomorrow (today),” he said.
His first half-ton was 74* off 42 balls against Kenya on July 7, 2018 at Gahanga Stadium during the ICC Africa Eastern Sub-region Twenty20 Qualifier.
Then eight days later, he then hit 96* off 42 balls in a 94-run win over hosts Rwanda.
In Kyambogo, Ghana had set 113-6 after left-arm orthodox spinner Henry Ssenyondo’s restrictions with a spell of 3/14 while Brian Masaba, on his T20 international debut, took 2/14.
The men from Accra had majorly relied on Rexford Bakum (18-run-a-ball), Michael Aboagye (24 off 27) and Daniel Anefie (18* off 14).
In the chase, coach Steve Tikolo did not have usual openers Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who had been dropped after only 22 runs in three innings and Hamu Kayondo who stepped away for academic obligations.
It meant Roger Mukasa and Arnold Otwani were set to open but the former went early for 9 off 8, leaving the score at 15-1 after 13 balls for Shah to walk on.
Otwani maintained the momentum with four boundaries but he was caught behind by wicket-keeper Frank Baleeri off skipper Isaac Aboagye for 24 off 20 but Uganda was safe with 43-2 after 6.2 overs.
ICC MEN’S T20 FINALS
Ghana 113/6 Uganda 117/3
(Uganda won by 7 wickets with 29
Kenya vs. Botswana (Match Abandoned)
Namibia vs. Nigeria (Match abandoned)
Ghana vs. Botswana, 9.30am, Kyu
Namibia vs. Kenya, 1.50pm, Kyu
Nigeria vs. Uganda, 1.50pm, Lugogo