Damani on track after epic victory over Ceylon Lions

Thumbs Up. Aziz Damani bowling all-rounder Juma Miyagi picked two wickets at the death and scored the winning runs in Kamengo. PHOTO/INNOCENT NDAWULA

What you need to know:

  • Two In The Bag. Aziz Damani made it a perfect pair after two matches after claiming a big scalp in Ceylon Lions by three wickets  at the Serenity Oval in Kamengo on May 22. 

Defending champions Aziz Damani and Ceylon Lions are not even more than 10 years old as entities in the Ugandan cricket fraternity. But they have a budding a rivalry that is the envy of many traditional clubs.

A quick look at this season’s National Men’s 50-over League table standings clearly paints a picture that the two clubs will be the front-runners for this year’s championship that is being played on a one-round basis.

Still setting pace

The Lions of Kamengo are atop with eight points having played six matches, won four and lost two. The Lions’ latest defeat, the second at their own turf – the Serenity Oval – was at the hands of Aziz Damani on May 22 that set aback their title ambitions but gave their opponents belief that they can retain the title.

In what was the most competitive en counter of the season, Siva Koti’s men reigned over Ruwan Jayaratne’s outfit by 3 wickets with 22 balls remaining to maintain their unbeaten record after two matches and move up the log from sixth to fifth.

“We will not see a match like this in the history of this league,” exclaimed Aziz Damani CEO Koti after his team held its nerve to pull off a stiff chase of 225 thanks to the handful of let-offs Ceylon Lions’ fielders and wicket-keeper Steve Wabwose gifted them on the day.

Kenyan imports

Both teams had big name players from Kenya in their match-day sides with Ceylon Lions fielding three; Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya and Nehemiah Odhiambo whereas Damani had all-rounder Emmanuel Bundi.

It was Obuya that outshone the rest with a classy innings of 69 runs off 82 balls despite it being in a losing cause. The game was also the first league match to be streamed live with both clubs catering for the match day logistics – something that Ceylon Lions CEO Jayaratne said would go a long way in improving not only the umpiring standards as they will be able to review their mistakes after the game but also attract more viewership numbers as the game will be sold more to the rest of the fans in Uganda and across the globe. “This is the way to go,” said Jayaratne, also Ceylon Lions’ skipper.

National cricket league 

Result – Men’s Division I
Ceylon Lions 225/9 Aziz Damani 226/7
Ceylon Lions won by 3 wickets
Results – Division II
Nile CC 107/10 A. Damani Devt II 108/5
Aziz Damani Devt II won by 5 wickets
KC Budo 162/10 Jinja SS 82/10
KC Budo won by 80 runs