Tough Indian job for Baby Cricket Cranes

What next? For the fourth match running Uganda bowled well but batting woes surfaced in the West Indies.  PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO

What you need to know:

  • But the weight of the task won’t lower for Uganda.

Team Uganda’s raw chest-thumping has since gone down after the side lost their opening two Group B matches by 39 runs and 121 runs against Ireland and South Africa respectively at the ongoing ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

But life is so sweet, to be at a tournament of such a magnitude, it is as well unforgiving for the minnows.
Of all group teams in pool B, Uganda boasts of the least experience. And as they wrap up group action, it doesn’t get any easier for coach Ivan Thawithemwira.

The Baby Cricket Cranes will take on record four-time champions India at the Brian Lara Academy in Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow. 

“If they push themselves against the big teams, then we will be content with what they will have done,” he said. Now, that’s a total mismatch, not just on paper but in every cricket sense. India is cricket super power and its teenagers  dream of taking on the mantle from the current stars like Virat Kohli.

Kohli was captain when they won the 2008 title in Malaysia, Unmukt Chand then lifted it in 2012 and Prtihvi Shaw did it in 2018.

India’s history in the game is intact while Uganda’s is pretty scanty. In terms of cricket money, the gulf is huge. 

As Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) lays a basket for packages from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) scooped an estimated US$535 million in income during the 2019-2020 financial year. BCCI is estimated to be worth about $2b. 

On the oval, Uganda has a chance to fight though, only if they up the ante with the bat.
Thawi reshuffled openers Ronald Opio and Ronald Lutaaya for Ronald Omara and Fahd Mutagana for the South Africa match but little changed. He also swapped Pius Oloka for Yunus Sowobi in the bowling department. 

But Thawi says there are more changes to make. “There should be changes as long as the tournament goes on, we have to try everybody and see how they fare in this competition,” added Thawi. 

His best bowlers have been Joseph Baguma and Juma Miyaji with skipper Pascal Murungi making necessary impact too. Miyaji and Murungi each have five wickets. With the bat, Murungi’s half-century of 63 runs against Ireland still stands out.

But they face a well-oiled India which defeated South Africa by 45 runs and Ireland by 174 runs. Their opening batsmen Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Harnoor Singh shared 164 runs for the first wicket against Ireland, setting the stage for the side to set 307-5.

Skipper Yash Dhull made 82 runs in the opening match against the Junior Proteas but he didn’t play against Ireland. And perhaps, he could be the player who reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. 

But the weight of the task won’t lower for Uganda. Orthodox bowler Vicky Ostwal snared 5/32 against South Africa and he is one to watch and the Cranes will need rare yet decent leap to get over their big opponents. 

GROUP A: Bangladesh vs. UAE
GROUP B: India vs. Uganda
GROUP C: Pakistan vs. PNG
GROUP C: Afghanistan vs. Zimbabwe


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