What you need to know:
- At the halfway stage, Uganda’s opening result at this International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier was as good as known, for many a neutral.
Being a Ugandan sports fan is a surreal affair. Uganda national teams know how to serve up nerve-wreckers and yesterday was no different as the Cricket Cranes got their quest for a World Cup ticket underway with a tense two-wicket win over Hong Kong in a low scoring last-over thriller.
The bowlers did the hard work in the first innings by restricting Hong Kong to just 87 runs for the loss of 9 nine wickets.
At the halfway stage, Uganda’s opening result at this International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier was as good as known, for many a neutral.
But Ugandan sporting teams give so much justification to adages like; “It’s never over until it’s over” and “never count your chickens before they’re hatched.”
Pressure made in Uganda
On a surface that played true without any devilish turn for the spinners and devastating pace for the seamers, Uganda’s batting arsenal connived to throw away the match with uncharacteristic play.
Uganda were four wickets down inside five overs with just 26 runs on board. The usually impressive pair of Simon Ssesazi and captain of the day Kenneth Waiswa were gone for golden ducks, returning Roger Mukasa (6) was guilty for playing a booming drive after scoring a beautiful boundary and sent for a quick shower, whereas steady Ronak Patel (16) got himself needlessly run out.
It took the effort of Man of Match Dinesh Nakrani (11 off 9 & 4 for 12), Frank Nsubuga (10) and crucially the unbeaten 41-ball knock of 28 runs from Riazat Ali Shah to wrestle back the match and rescue the Cricket Cranes from the gallows.
Shah had opening bowler Cosmas Kyewuta to thank as the latter took off for a risky but very high rewarding run on the second ball – his first – of the last over to give him the strike en route to victory with three balls remaining.
Captain Masaba out of tourney
Earlier after captain Masaba was ruled out of both the opener and forthwith the tournament with a finger fracture, Uganda’s bowlers showed their prowess to read the conditions very well.
Uganda gave away only three boundaries and picked up wickets at crucial intervals thanks to the spinning pair of Nsubuga (1/10 in 4 overs) and left-arm orthodox Henry Ssenyondo (1/13 in 4) that set it up nicely for Cosmas Kyewuta (2/21) and Nakrani to keep the Asians quiet.
The victory marked a sweet revenge for Uganda who lost to Hong Kong by 6 wickets just over a fortnight ago at the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Kampala.
“We will take the W,” said coach Jackson Ogwang, who made the big calls on the day in the absence of Laurence Mahatlane, who is expected in Bulawayo this afternoon in time for Uganda’s second match against Papua New Guinea at Bulawayo Athletic Club.
“We didn’t bat very well but look at the positives. This is the best bowling performance I have seen from this team. We must bank on it to ride us to the business end of the tournament. We will also look to bat more sensibly against PNG. We have won and learned some lessons to take forward.”
PNG will be itching to get off the mark against Uganda after they went down by 52 runs to Group B favourites Netherlands at Queens Sports Club.
ICC T20 W. Cup Qualifier
Hong Kong 87/9
Uganda won by 2 wickets
USA won by 8 wickets
Zimbabwe won by 111 runs
Papua N. Guinea 111/10
Netherlands won by 52 runs