Windhoek. The old English adage; ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ has never been truer. For Uganda, some things will take long to change. And if you’re a fan, the package comes bigger because the exciting brand of the gentleman’s game that the Cricket Cranes play comes with a cocktail of memorable and jittery moments in equal measure.
One would think that Ugandan teams have an ingrained vice to rock the boat even when the sea is at its calmest.
Playing their second match of the tour – a T20 International – coach Laurence Mahatlane’s boys had a chance of levelling the three-match series and they put themselves in prime position to achieve their desire after being asked to bowl first.
Although the butter fingers remained with four chances put down in the first half of the innings, Uganda’s bowlers were in a fiery mood and had their tails wagging.
Riazat Ali Shah (3/23 in 4) led the way with the trio of Cosmas Kyewuta (1/24 in 4), Jonathan Ssebanja (1/28 in 4), and Kenneth Waiswa (1/23 in 3) in chipping away at the Eagles’ strong batting line-up that could only set 135 for 6 in 20 overs.
Uganda’s batting, strengthened by inclusion of debutant Saud Islam, was expected to coast home without much fuss. But hell broke loose as a couple of rash and undecided shots saw Uganda crumbling to 16 for 4 in 4 overs.
The writing was clear on the wall. Uganda had connived to gift the advantage to Namibia and there was no looking back after paceman Ben Shikongo’s fruitful spell of 2 for 8 in 2 overs.
Waiswa tried in vain with a beautiful cameo of 33 off 31 balls. He first repaired Uganda’s innings with a partnership of 49 with Ronak Patel (19* off 21) during which he smacked three boundaries and two sixes.
Rain then sealed Uganda’s fate as it played spoilsport with the heavens opening as Uganda tried to rebuild at 65 for 5 in 12.5 overs.
The rain that lasted 30 minutes didn’t leave room for more play with the Duckworth, Lewis & Stern (DLS) method calculations showing that Uganda had lost by 20 runs to surrender the series 2-0 with a consolation match to play.
Coach Mahatlane, too, conceded that his boys had taken in pressure.
“There were a lot of nerves shown today since the boys are playing guys going to the World Cup. But for us this is part of the process as we are learning. We must look to continue doing well as I believe we are not too far off where we want to be,” said the 44-year-old gaffer.
The Cricket Cranes take a break today and return tomorrow for a 50-Over (Limited Overs) match before wrapping up the tour on Thursday.