Uganda need Dutch courage

Rallying Cry:Kenneth Waiswa will captain the team in the absence of Uganda skipper Brian Masaba who got injured during practice on the first day of training in Bulawayo. PHOTOS/ICC-ZC

What you need to know:

Despite falling by a marginal 8 wickets to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Tuesday, the Cricket Cranes will know they played easily their best ever T20 game - if team KPIs and processes are anything to go by

There is still a mountain to climb but hope springs eternal in the Cricket Cranes camp that they can grab one of the two tickets at stake to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 World Cup in Australia this September. 

The task at hand here at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in Bulawayo was never going to be easy with Uganda starting as the lowest ranked Associate amongst the last standing eight nations. 

But the Ugandans have warmed to the breeze in Bulawayo and have already claimed a big scalp in Hong Kong - ranked 21st in the world - during a thrilling two-wicket victory finish in the opener on Monday. 

Perfect T20 game

And despite falling by a marginal 8 wickets to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Tuesday, the Cricket Cranes will know they played easily their best ever T20 game - if team KPIs and processes are anything to go by. 

Indeed, it was such a perfect T20 game - Uganda scored 160 runs on a tough surface in difficult windy conditions after managing just 55 runs in the first 10 overs and then watched helplessly as PNG cantered to victory with a display of smart cricket as the conditions bettered out. 

PNG won with 20 balls remaining and it all went down to the pre-match toss that proved decisive as lady luck had proved elusive. 

But the omens could change all of a sudden if Uganda dare to dream differently with three matches left in the tournament for each of the sides here. 

Coach Laurence Mahatlane has always preached to the players about  things like; ‘playing for the badge and creating their own legacies’. 

And on Thursday as Uganda play another One Day International (ODI) side at a Test Match venue – Queens Sports Club – Uganda’s players have a chance to write their own story with victory certainly sealing the semifinal spot.

Notable permutations

Such are the permutations, that Group B remains an open-door affair. Even if Uganda lose, they could still make it to the coveted last four if Hong Kong defeats Papua New Guinea and the Cricket Cranes maintain a good Net Run Rate (NRR).

Batting Maestro: Simon Ssesazi was in fine touch with a half century of 78 runs off 48 balls against Papua New Guinea and will carry Uganda's hopes of a good start against Netherlands today.
 

Netherlands, though, wouldn’t want to suffer a massive defeat to Uganda as it could push them out of the semifinals thus if PNG make light work of Hong Kong.
 
“We don’t want to focus on anything beyond our control,” said coach Mahatlane.

“We want to focus on getting a result against the Netherlands. That’s what is important. I am really excited because we have a golden opportunity to show who we really are and what brand of cricket we can play. We beat an ODI side (Namibia) in April and we can do it again if we execute our game plans and avoid those small margins of error.” 

Netherlands top the log after a 52-run victory over PNG and a 7-wicket triumph against Hong Kong and it will be interesting if coach Mahatlane will change his side and give 19-year-old paceman Juma Miyaji and returning paceman Bilal Hassun after fielding two unchanged sides in the first two matches.

ICC T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
THURSDAY’S FIXTURES

Queens Sports Club

Netherlands vs. Uganda, 10.30am

Zimbabwe vs. USA, 2.30pm

Bulawayo Athletic Club

PNG vs. Hong Kong, 10.30am

Singapore vs. Jersey, 2.30pm

TOMORROW: Semifinal playoffs


ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier

Table Standings - Group A

                              M           W           L             Pts         NRR

USA                       2             2             0             4             3.857

Zimbabwe           2             2             0             4             3.350

Jersey                   2             0             2             0             -1.066

Singapore            2             0             2             0             -6.075

Group B

                              M           W           L             Pts         NRR

Netherlands        2             2             0             4             2.725

Uganda                2             1             1             2             -0.485

PNG                      2             1             1             2             -0.657

Hong Kong          2             0             2             0             -1.169
 

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