Cricket Cranes seek strong finish

Robinson Obuya shows his power. PHOTO/COURTESY OF ICC MEDIA

What you need to know:

Last Big Dance. Having marked a history debut, Uganda will aim to end their journey on a high against a wounded New Zealand side, seeking to turn their batting woes into a tale of redemption.

As the T20 World Cup unfolds in the Caribbean, the Brian Lara Cricket Academy braces for a clash of cricketing contrasts in the early hours of Saturday morning (June 15 – 3.30am EAT).

Uganda, buoyed by their historic debut and eager to make further waves, squares off against ‘wounded’ New Zealand, who are seasoned contenders but have not had things going their way.

It will be Uganda’s last match in a rollercoaster campaign where they’ve grabbed headlines not only for their victory but also for their superb individual bowling and fielding displays.

Unwanted records

Despite their successes, Uganda's batting has been a real concern. The team matched an unwanted record in T20 World Cup internationals by being bowled out for 39, equalling the lowest score ever recorded, a statistic shared with the Netherlands. This has put a spotlight on their batting lineup, urging them to construct more substantial innings and partnerships.

The technical team has been vocal about their desire to see the players translate their training form into match performances. They have preached the need for captain Brian Masaba and Co. to bat the way they train – with structure and purpose – to wrap up their Group C fixtures on a high note.

“The guys must work hard and apply themselves to be able to put up a score. The bowling and fielding have been good, and now the batters must shoulder some responsibility," said coach Abhay Sharma.

Kiwis challenge

Facing Uganda will be a New Zealand side beleaguered by consecutive defeats to Afghanistan (84 runs) and the West Indies (13 runs).

The Black Caps, with their hopes of reaching the Super 8s hanging by a thread, must win comprehensively to improve their Net Run Rate (NRR) and rely on other match outcomes.

“We cannot make excuses and have to find ways. We need to bounce back quickly. Against Uganda, we want to see better and smarter performances. The effort was there (against West Indies), and it's important that we pick ourselves up and go again. We will also have an eye on NRR.”

Anticipated changes

Uganda will be banking on their skipper Masaba and their strong bowling unit to make an impact. Additionally, Fred Achelam, the promising wicketkeeper-batsman, is set to make his tournament debut, potentially adding depth to their lineup.

“New Zealand will come hunting. We will look to play to potential and cash in on any of their lapses,” said Masaba.

As Uganda takes on New Zealand, the team aims to end their World Cup campaign on a positive note. While their bowling and fielding have been commendable, the focus will be on the batsmen to deliver and avoid the pitfalls of previous games. With New Zealand under some pressure, Ugandan have a chance to demonstrate their growth, potential and quick improvement on the world stage.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

Saturday – June 15, 3:30 AM (EAT)

New Zealand vs. Uganda, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, San Fernando

Uganda Probable XI:

Ronak Patel, Simon Ssesazi, Fred Achelam, Riazat Ali Shah, Dinesh Nakrani, Alpesh Ramjani, Robinson Obuya, Brian Masaba (captain), Juma Miyaji, Cosmas Kyewuta, Henry Ssenyondo

New Zealand Probable XI:

Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee Looking Ahead


GROUP C – TABLE STANDINGS

TEAM                                 M           W           L             PTS          NRR

West Indies                      3             3             0             6             2.596

Afghanistan                      2             2             0             4             5.225

Uganda                              3             1             2             2             -4.217

Papua New Guinea          2             0             2             0             -0.434

New Zealand                    2             0             2             0            -2.425