Abysmal Cricket Cranes thrashed by Hong Kong

Awful. Mahatlane’s reaction tells the complete story. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO

What you need to know:

  • Uganda, on 10 points from seven matches, drop to second place with a Net Run Rate of -0.034 as Hong Kong moved to the summit on 11 points. 

It is difficult to persistently explain sequential losses even if that is part of sport. The national men’s senior cricket team are in that sort of place.

One day, they are carrying some deserved hype for flying high and on another, like yesterday, the Cricket Cranes can’t convince their own lawyers after an unforgivable six-wicket loss to Hong Kong at the on-going round II of the ICC World Cup Challenge League B.

Their coach, South African Laurence Mahatlane, his assistant Jackson Ogwang and team manager Jackson Kavuma cut forlorn figures as they witnessed a bizarre batting display where they were bowled out for a meagre 94 runs in 33.2 overs.

“It hurts, this is not our standard,” captain Brian Masaba said.

His teammates crumbled and many fans struggled to leave their seats after Adit Gorawara (22 off 24), captain Nizakat Khan (24 off 25), Baba Hayat (13 off 29) and Kinchit Shah (15* off 20) had put the Asians over the line in 21.5 overs.

It is now two losses in a row for the tournament hosts, which is a sheer contrast of the five-win sweep under Kenyan coach Steve Tikolo during round I in Oman in December 2019.

Uganda, on 10 points from seven matches, drop to second place with a Net Run Rate of -0.034 as Hong Kong moved to the summit on 11 points. 

The table leader after round III in Jersey in mid-August will proceed to next year’s ICC World Cup Qualifier.

It implies that the Cricket Cranes have no more room for error. They must win their remaining three matches beginning with Bermuda today in Lugogo.

How dour day unfolded

Mahatlane had made two changes from the team that fell to a 62-run loss to Jersey on Friday to strengthen batting.

When Masaba won the toss and chose to bat first, the Cranes were 37-3 after 11.4 overs with Friday’s half-centurion Ssesazi, and the new comers Arnold Otwani and Kenneth Waiswa all gone.

Sensing danger, Masaba (19 off 36) then appeared to knit a recovery through a 43-run fourth-wicket partnership with Ronak (35 off 60) but both departed in a space of seven balls, the board reading 80-5 after 30 overs.

Nakrani and Riazat Ali Shah departed for quick ducks as experienced slow left-arm orthodox bowler Yasim Murtaza (3/23) and 37-year-old right-arm off-break Ehsan Khan (4/17) ran riot.

“I think our batting performance had nothing to do with the wicket. We just didn’t execute. It was a poor batting performance,” said Masaba. 

“To lose six wickets for 16 runs in 10 overs is something that we’ve never done before. We’ve really done nothing that we’ve practiced,” Mahatlane said.

“It is very important that we bounce back. Our destiny (to the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup) is still in our own hands.” 

Two changes are expected in the team with young pace man Juma Miyagi set to return while all-rounder Frank Akankwasa should give the lower batting order some more steel. 

The inclusions could come at the expense of veteran spinner Frank Nsubuga and possibly Nakrani or Shah, both of whom have been off colour.

ICC WC Challenge League

June 20 results

Jersey     275/10
Kenya     179/10
(Jersey won by 96 runs)
Uganda     94/10 
Hong Kong     95/4
(Hong Kong won by 6 wickets)

June 21 fixtures- 10am

Uganda     vs.     Bermuda
Italy         vs.    Jersey