Classic Lutaaya sails Kayakers to Waterfalls T20

Lutaaya (R) is joined by his mum (2nd R) during the prize-giving. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

Lutaaya, who debuted for the Cricket Cranes in December during the East African T20 Tri-Nation Cup in Rwanda, shared 102 runs for a pivotal second-wicket stand with Anas Baig (27 off 31).

In the end, the show didn’t go to any of the seven foreign players or even stars of the Cricket Cranes.

But, the first-ever Waterfalls Twenty20 Men’s Elite League title went to the Itanda Kayakers because of a young man - Ronald Lutaaya.

The teenage sensation announced himself proper to the local cricket fraternity by scoring a match-winning century of 116 runs for a 29-run win over the Bujagali Rafters in a classic show at Lugogo Oval yesterday.

The championship lived up to its billing after Lutaaya displayed flashes of brilliance at the crease, smashing his first-ever competitive ton inside just 65 balls. 

“I woke up praying for runs for the team,” Lutaaya remarked after collecting his man-of-match prize and later the MVP prize.

Well, he may only be 19 with a 20th birthday to come on March 15 but, Lutaaya has probably lived much longer than one can imagine in the game.

His mother is a familiar figure in the sport. Dezirante Namigadde has been cleaning dressing rooms at the university oval in Kyambogo until she recently lost her job.

As fate would have it, Namgadde took on a similar role at the Lugogo Oval and she was at the dressing rooms’ balcony as he pounced six boundaries and nine maximums, sometimes mimicking her son’s strokes.

Residing at the uniport structures near Namigadde was seven months pregnant with Lutaaya when she got the job at Kyambogo and it is now part of her life.

“I am very happy,” Namigadde told as many people after she had gotten the silverware in the company of her son at the podium, an emotional phase sweeping through the audience.

“She has always wanted me to win,” Lutaaya noted, “She has always been supportive, even when I am abroad,” he added.

Lutaaya, who debuted for the Cricket Cranes in December during the East African T20 Tri-Nation Cup in Rwanda, shared 102 runs for a pivotal second-wicket stand with Anas Baig (27 off 31).

And skipper Riazat Ali Shah, who had played them into the final with a 57-ball 90* against Rafters on Saturday, this time finished with 25* runs off 15 balls. 

Kayakers had set 189-3 after the allotted overs and the chase for the Rafters proved tough, like navigating a waterfall.

“We really handled the pressure well in the most important games,” Riazat stated after picking the trophy from ICT state minister Godfrey Baluku. His opposite Brian Masaba may have stuck in with 33 runs off 24 balls but it felt just not enough.

“Maybe 170 runs was par so 20 extra runs was a little too much,” Masaba reacted.

“Lutaaya was incredible. He played well in the middle overs and took the game away from us,” the Cricket Cranes’ skipper added.

Left-arm medium-fast bowler Rwandan Ignace Ntirenganya (2/38) took the momentum away from Rafters’ early start, picking wickets of Falak Sher and Botswanan Karabo Motlhanka on successive balls in the second over.

When opener Roger Mukasa (38 off 29) seemed to glue it all together with Robinson Obuya (26 off 18) in a 59-run combo for the third wicket, four quick wickets fell again in a space of 13 balls.

Later on, Masaba attempted to reconstruct the chase with the young Ismael Munir (43 off 26) in a 74-run partnership for the seventh wicket but Bilal Hassun (2/31), Riazat (2/29) and Alphesh Ramjani (1/30) held tight.  



Itanda Kayakers 189/3 Bujagali Rafters 160/10 

(Kayakers won by 29 runs) 


Sipi Trekkers 92/10 Itanda Kayakers 96/0

(Kayakers won by 10 wickets)

Bujagali Rafters 175/8 Sipi Trekkers 115/10

(Rafters won by 60 runs)

Itanda Kayakers 133/10 Bujagali Rafters 136/9 

(Rafters won by 1 wicket)

Itanda Kayakers 131/7 Sipi Trekkers 132/7

(Trekkers won by 3 wickets)

Bujagali Rafters 122/8 Sipi Trekkers 123/4

(Trekkers won by 6 wickets)

Bujagali Rafters 155/10 Itanda Kayakers 156/4 

(Kayakers won by 6 wickets)


1 Ronald Lutaaya (Kayakers) 732 points

2 Riazat Ali Shah (Kayakers) 719

3 Roger Mukasa (Rafters) 495 

4 Alpesh Ramjani (Kayakers) 465 

5 Simon Ssesazi (Trekkers) 448


Sipi Trekkers: Orchide Tuyisenge & Kevin Irakoze (Rwanda), Sohail Sami & Blessing Pondani (Malawi)

Bujagali Rafters: Karabo Mothlanka (Botswana)

Itanda Kayakers: Donnex Kansonkho (Malawi), Ignace Ntirenganya (Rwanda)  

Umpire: Olivier Itangishaka (Rwanda)