Uganda fly into global qualifier

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  • The screams, yells, sprint onto the ground after the final run was scored, the inevitable tear-wiping and crazy partying late into the night were glorious.

There is probably no English word or phrase that could do justice to define the raw over-spilling emotions in Team Uganda’s camp.

The screams, yells, sprint onto the ground after the final run was scored, the inevitable tear-wiping and crazy partying late into the night were glorious.

This was after the Cricket Cranes had outclassed Kenya by 6 wickets in the winner-takes-it-all virtual final at the Gahanga Stadium to win the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Qualifier on Saturday.

That victory, on the cold and chilly evening, was the first African title for Uganda’s men – since 2011 when Uganda pulled off a stiff chase of 148 to upstage favourites Namibia by 6 wickets in-front of a partisan and packed Lugogo.

Return to Globals
The triumph achieved with 8 balls remaining also earned Uganda the sole continent’s ticket to ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier scheduled for mid-next year in either Zimbabwe or Oman.
“It has been a long and tough week for us,” said captain Brian Masaba.

“We lost our 11-match winning streak with that one-run loss to Kenya in the opener and struggled to find our groove against Nigeria. But each player was asked to have a self-reflection to see if they were playing their roles to perfection without adding emotions. This is what helped us to bounce back.”

Uganda patched up two similar commanding 8-wicket wins over Tanzania and Nigeria on Matchday Two before engaging a higher gear to unleash a clinical shift on Matchday Three.

Frank Akankwasa was the Man of Match with an incisive off-spinning spell of 4 wickets for 10 runs as Tanzania got bundled out for 68 runs before Deus Muhumuza (27) and Simon Ssesazi (39) helped Uganda recover from 0 runs for 2 wickets in the first over after both Saud Islam and Ronak Patel fell to Best Bowler Sanjay Kumar Thakor (3/17).

In the virtual final, Cranes’ bowlers led by Frank Nsubuga (1 for 9 in 4 overs) and Henry Ssenyondo (1 for 14 in 4 overs) stifled Kenya into 123 runs for 3 wickets.

The run chase was tense but yet well-paced by the Ugandans, who had 81 runs on board with four wickets down when the heavens opened up. Uganda were four runs short via the D/L Method calculations and it all looked dead.

But the gods were with Uganda as it was only a passing cloud. The umpires indicated that the game would now be a 19-over affair. Cranes needed 118 runs to win – effectively 37 runs from 27 balls.

Man of Match Riazat Ali Shah (43 off 31) and left-hander Dinesh Nakrani (28 off 25) displayed controlled aggression, mixing up the singles and boundaries nicely to help Uganda over the line in the penultimate over.

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