Do-or-die affair

Cosmas Kyewuta celebrates bowling out  Joy Perera during the ICC World Cup Challenge League B game between Uganda and Italy on Friday. Photo / Eddie Chicco. 

What you need to know:

  • Migingo Derby. The Cricket Cranes take on Kenya today but their wins - against Bermuda on Tuesday and Italy on Friday have been light.  Today, it is likely Arnold Otwani will return in place of Emmanuel Hasahya to open the batting with Simon Ssesazi.

The senior national men’s cricket team may have had rough start to the week with a second tournament defeat - by six wickets - to Hong Kong on Monday in the round II of the ICC World Cup Challenge League B.

But upon defeating Bermuda by eight wickets at Lugogo on Tuesday and another seven-wicket triumph against Italy at Kyambogo on Friday, the Cricket Cranes took another ounce of confidence.

And Friday’s victory coincided with Hong Kong (13 points) losing to Jersey by 55 runs in Lugogo, implying the Cricket Cranes regained top spot League B spot with 14 points after nine outings.

Now coach Laurence Mahatlane’s charges are back in control of their route to the ICC ODI World Cup set to be held in India next year.

Certainly, the hosts will hope to complete the Kampala leg on a sounding when they take on neighbours Kenya in the eternal East African duel, dubbed the ‘Migingo derby’ at Lugogo this morning.

“As long as the destiny in our hands and we can control it, that’s important,” said South African tactician Mahatlane after the victory over the Italians.

Now 2003 ODI World Cup semi-finalists Kenya is fourth on the six-team log with seven points from eight matches and after hitting 340-9 to beat Italy by 134 runs on Thursday in Lugogo, coach David Obuya knows they can ignite a flame.


Game at a time

And that’s considering that there is a last match against Hong Kong in Kyambogo on Monday and five more games to play during round III in Jersey in August, Kenya needs a Sunday win too.

“We are just taking it game by game,” skipper Rakep Patel said this week.

“It’s just about keeping it simple. We don’t want to try too hard. We want to play to our processes again,” Uganda’s captain Brian Masaba reacted.

Last September, Kenya lost the ICC Derby Trophy 2-1 to hosts Uganda and then days later, Uganda beat Kenya by six runs to win the inaugural Pearl of Africa T20 Series in Entebbe.

Then in November, the Cranes pipped Kenya by six wickets to win the ICC Africa T20 Qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.

In the League B round I played in Oman, Uganda chased Kenya’s score 253-6 thanks to Ronak Patel’s 106-ball 86 to win by three wickets with four balls remaining on December 5, 2019.

“We all know how Uganda plays cricket. They also know how we play. So, it will be a good game,” Rakep added. On Friday, Italy’s skipper Gareth Berg opted to bat first upon winning the toss but Uganda’s bowlers were clinical with persistent breakthroughs before bowling out the opponents for 120 runs in 36.3 overs.


Vast experience

And that came thanks to early and then timely breakthroughs from Riazat Ali Shah (1/12 five 5 overs), Cosmas Kyewuta (2/31 in seven overs), Henry Ssenyondo (2/36), Dinesh Nakrani (2/25 in eight overs), Frank Akankwasa (1/6 in 2.3 overs) and Masaba’s 1/0 in one over.

The chase appeared easy with man-of-match winner Kenneth Waiswa (35* off 55) sharing a 52-run third-wicket stand with Ronak (23 off 47) before Nakrani finished the job with 25* off 16.

More runs are still required from Ronak, Waiswa, Masaba before Shah and Nakrani up the strike rate. 

Kenya on the other hand, has vast experience in their ranks. Openers Rushab Patel and Alex Obanda, who struck a century of 115 runs off 83 balls against Italy, are known threats.

And so is wicket-keeper Irfan Karim can have a littered wagon wheel on a good day while Collins Obuya, Rakep, Sachin Bhudia and UK-based Tanzeel Sheikh can also take the game away.

Mahatlane will likely return to veteran Frank Nsubuga’s experience in place of Frank Akankwasa while Shah, Nakrani, Masaba, left-arm orthodox bowler Henry Ssenyondo will still need to strike early and in intervals.  

Defeat for Uganda could give third-placed Jersey (12 points) a chance to go top via Net Run Rate (NRR) should they expectedly beat Bermuda in Kyambogo.


ICC WORLD CUP              CHALLENGE LEAGUE B


TODAY’S

FIXTURES - 10AM

Kenya vs. Uganda,

Lugogo


Bermuda vs.

Jersey,

Kyambogo


FRIDAY’S RESULTS

Italy 120/10 Uganda 121/3

(Uganda won by 7 wickets)

Jersey 289/8 Hong Kong 234/10

(Jersey won by 55 runs)

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