There are some good vibes in the senior national men’s team after defeating Kenya 2-1 to win the inaugural 50-Over Derby Trophy at Kyambogo on Tuesday.
Coach Laurence Mahatlane’s charges however cannot chest-thump much as it is only a preparation ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Africa Qualifiers which come next month in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) has taken on the responsibility further to offer the Cricket Cranes some more playing time by inviting Nigeria and Kenya for the Pearl of Africa Twenty20 Tri-Series which bowl off in Entebbe today.
“Special thanks to the three teams. International cricket is now at our doorsteps,” said UCA CEO Martin Ondeko during the tournament launch this week. “It is a very difficult time to organize anything because there are so many moving parts.
“I would like to thank the government for allowing us permission to stage this championship,” Ondeko added before mentioning sponsors Pepsi, Roke Telekom, Uganda Airlines who are offering the tournament MVP a return ticket to Zanzibar Islands.
The three nations are pretty thrilled about this tournament as all teams have immediate assignments in the route to next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
“We focus on the T20 because they hold an international status,” offered Uganda’s captain Brian Masaba whose team faces Kenya again in an opening double-header today.
Mahatlane has some good selection headache beginning at the top of the batting line-up with left-hand opener Simon Ssesaazi hoping for more time in a pool that has Saud Islam, Ronak Patel and Shahzad Kamal.
Then, Frank Akankwasa and Kenneth Waiswa looked to possess polished bats and will cherish to get more anchor-men roles in the presence of Dinesh Nakrani and Masaba.
“We definitely want to win. It’s all cricket, the basics remain the same. It is an important Series coming up as we look to Kigali and definitely, more opportunities for the players to see how many guys can put their hands up,” Masaba added.
Masaba’s opposite Shem Ngoche may have a few niggles in the camp but they have revenge on their minds and as well know the importance of the 13-match show which goes into next week.
“It’s something good for cricket. We got a chance to start the league back home and it’s given us some momentum,” he said. Lucas Ndandason and Elijah Asoyo are doubts.
The Cranes will tomorrow take on Nigeria, which had eight players featuring against the Uganda U19s in Lugogo with the Kaduna State franchise.
PEARL OF AFRICA T20 TRI-SERIES
TODAY’S FIXTURES - ENTEBBE
10am: Uganda vs. Kenya
2pm: Uganda vs. Kenya
10am: Kenya vs. Nigeria
2pm: Nigeria vs. Uganda
ICC DERBY TROPHY - RESULTS
Uganda 229/7 (44.2 Overs)
Uganda won by 3 wickets
Kenya 85/10 (29 overs)
Uganda 87/1 (12.1 overs)
Uganda won by 9 wickets
Uganda 228/10 (46.2 overs)
Kenya won by 78 runs