Uganda and Kenya renew their age-old rivalry at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) Challenge League B showpiece in Oman today.
The animosity, albeit in a gentle manner, exhibited by two sets of players over the years will be a given.
But Kenya, with five World Cup appearances, have always bossed this East African derby and in typical ‘bullish’ character have only left bread crumbs for Uganda, who have managed to sneak meaningless victories over their ‘Big Brothers’ in friendlies, tours and dead rubbers.
Pressure on Kenya
Whereas Kenya have nothing to prove, they cannot afford to slip further in their journey to secure a slot in the 2023 World Cup in India.
They started their campaign with a four-wicket loss to Italy in an insipid display of pedestrian batting and sloppy fielding and will find it even tougher to gel with a new-look side that has three new men; Naman Patel, Jadavji Bhimji aka Malindi and 46-year-old Lameck Onyango.
Their real consolation remains in Uganda’s inability to avoid the pressure cooker. In Oman last year (by four wickets) and recently in Kampala (by one run), Kenya took away victory from Uganda like candy from a baby. At both occasions, it seemed like it had been written in the skies that Uganda would carry the day, but the Cricket Cranes connived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Waiswa forced out
And Uganda must do it without the services of experienced 31-year-old Charles Waiswa, who injured his lower back while fielding in the deep trying to stop a boundary-bound ball in the opening clash against Jersey.
The left-arm opening bowler landed awkwardly on his right knee, forthwith impacted a lot of weight on his lower body as he threw the ball back to the bowler while off balance.
Waiswa lay down in untold pain and was later stretchered off to NMC Hospital in Al Khuwair.
“The doctor said it was nothing serious besides a twitch. He asked us to rest Waiswa for three days before going back for a final review,” said Team Manager Jackson Kavuma.
For Waiswa, he cannot wait to get back in the mix. “I am feeling much better. The doctor gave me a tynor lower back support strap and its worked some magic. I cannot wait to get back on the oval for the next game,” said Waiswa.
But Uganda captain Brian Masaba says the team morale remains high with either one or two of youngsters Kenneth Waiswa, Richard Agamire and Fred Achelam set to make their tournament bow in the Migingo Derby. “This is a familiar rivalry and we know each other too well,” said Masaba. “Our recent one-run loss to them in the Africa T20 Finals in Kampala earlier this year remains a painful memory.
But that’s in the past, we are not thinking too much about it as our focus is on the game at hand. If we execute our game plans, the day will be ours.” On the opposite oval, Uganda’s victims in the opener Jersey entertain Hong Kong on Turf 1 looking to re-ignite their campaign.
ICC CWC CHALLENGE LEAGUE B
Round One Results
Uganda 248/8 Jersey 223/10
Uganda won by 25 runs
Kenya 210/10 Italy 211/6
Italy won by 4 wickets
Bermuda 291/8 Hong Kong 294/7
Hong Kong won by 3 wickets
TABLE STANDINGS (ROUND ONE)
TEAM M W L PTS NRR
Uganda 1 1 0 2 0.500
Italy 1 1 0 2 0.289
H.Kong 1 1 0 2 0.139
Bermuda 1 0 1 0 -0.139
Kenya 1 0 1 0 -0.289
Jersey 1 0 1 0 -0.500
playing today at 9am
Uganda vs. Kenya, OC Turf 2
Hong Kong vs. Jersey, OC Turf 1