Uganda play Hong Kong for top five finish

High Fives. All-rounder Dinesh Nakrani congratulates paceman Bilal Hassun on prizing out a wicket in the placement playoff semifinal against Jersey on Friday. Batting all-rounder Frank Akankwasa runs in to join the celebrations. PHOTO/ICC-ZC

What you need to know:

ICC T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

TODAY’S FIXTURES

7th place playoff final -10.30am

Jersey vs. Singapore, Bulawayo Athletic Club

5th place playoff final – 10.30am

Uganda vs. Hong Kong, Queens Sports Club

3rd place playoff final – 2.30pm

PNG vs. USA , Bulawayo Athletic Club

Final – Gold Match – 2.30pm

Zimbabwe vs. Netherlands, Queens Sports Club

One final dance for the Cricket Cranes at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier here in Zimbabwe.

Today’s dance will not be the biggest dance that the fans envisioned when Uganda arrived in Bulawayo on July 9 for the Global Qualifier whose two finalists will progress to the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia this September.

Those two spots to the World Cup have already been grabbed by host nation Zimbabwe and Netherlands who have played an exciting and fearless brand of cricket and will deservedly face off at the magnificent Test Match venue - Queens Sports Club this afternoon.

Final flourish

But first up at the historic venue that has seen the birth of careers of many Test legends will be coach Laurence Mahatlane’s Ugandan men against Hong Kong in the fifth match place playoff final.

Hong Kong coach Trent Johnston will look at this match as a revenge match whereas Mahatlane will want to right the wrongs in the nervy 2-wicket win over the same opponents in the opening game of the tournament on Monday.

The Cricket Cranes bundled out Hong Kong for 87 runs at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) but lost eight wickets needed 19.4 overs to chase that basketball score – something that left a bitter taste in the mouths of many a fan.

The huge-margin losses to Papua New Guinea (8 wickets) and Netherlands (97 runs) over the last seven days have seen Uganda fall one place in the global rankings to 26th in the world with the impressive Americans, who came here as the lowest ranked country, going up one place to 25th thanks to their last four finish.

Running Game. Captain Kenneth Waiswa and all-rounder Riazat Ali Shah run hard between the wickets for a quick single during Uganda's group fixture against the Netherlands. PHOTO / ICC-ZC

Rankings in mind

Captain Kenneth Waiswa knows if his team takes care of business, like they did in the tense 5-run triumph over Jersey in the placement playoff semifinal on Friday, Uganda’s ranking will certainly improve by some places -  which is  part of the team’s plan and processes to be among the best 20 countries in the world as per the ICC rankings.

“Big effort from the lads against 22nd ranked Jersey. To defend 110 on that historic venue is something that will stay with us forever. Now we have one more push to end on a high,” said Waiswa.

Hong Kong skipper Nizakat Khan will look back to this tournament and feel his 24th ranked side never really got going as they only managed victory in their last Group B game against PNG when they chased down 180-odd before overwhelming Singapore in the placement playoff semifinal.

Seeking winning climax

Today provides an epic day for both teams to exorcise the demons in both camps; for Uganda the ever-present batting Achilles heel and for Hong Kong to get their big boys like Babar Hayat firing again and more importantly keep their winning momentum.

At BAC, Jersey will throw caution to the wind to avoid the wooden spoon against winless Singapore in the morning's seventh place playoff final whereas the United States of America are expected to play out a cracker against PNG in the bronze match in the afternoon as the last-ever Global Qualifier climaxes.

UGANDA PROBABLE XI

1. Roger Mukasa, 2. Simon Ssesazi, 3. Ronak Patel, 4. Kenneth Waiswa, 5.Dinesh Nakrani, 6. Riazat Ali Shah, 7. Fred Achelam, 8. Frank Nsubuga, 9. Juma Miyaji, 10. Bilal Hassan, 11. Henry Ssenyondo.

12th MAN: Frank Akankwasa

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