It is often said that the third-place playoff encounter is usually the hardest match to play at any tournament across all sports disciplines in the world.
Many international sporting bodies have gone to scrap such fixtures from their schedules and many emerging nations, especially in the cricketing world, could be quietly praying that such duels are not considered any more.
Having given more than 110 per cent in the field during their respective semifinals’ losses to southern African opposition, Uganda (14-run loss to Zimbabwe) and Tanzania (2-wicket to Namibia) still had business to do with one final dance – a ranking rubber – to wrap up things at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Gaborone, Botswana.
Unfortunately, it was Uganda who played out to the mantra of ‘losers match being toughest’ in full throttle like a fully-attended soap opera with a listless performance as they went down to Tanzania by 9 wickets to finish fourth.
Performance to forget
Captain Immaculate Nakisuyi won the toss and elected to bat first but didn’t back-up their decision with an insipid show that included three run out dismissals and a stumping as they limped to 79 all out in 18.4 overs. Nakisuyi and Rita Musamali got 16 runs apiece with only youngster Proscovia Alako reaching the 20-run mark as the rest fell in quick succession.
If the batting was bad, the second innings exposed how fragile Uganda’s bowling and fielding can be on its worst day in office.
Five catches were put down and the number of misfields were more than a handful as Fatuma Kibasu (34 runs) and left hander Saum Godfrey Mtae (36 runs) chased down the score to give the Tanzanians victory inside 14 overs – thanks in no small part to the 12 extras Uganda’s bowlers contributed to the final score of 82 runs for 1 wicket.
The loss could also hurt Uganda’s ranking on the ICC log where they previously placed at 18th – one spot better than Tanzania.