- Published in Women Cricket
From the highs of bossing the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 Africa ‘B’ Qualifier held at Gahanga Stadium, Rwanda in July, the Cricket Cranes have been given a reality check here in South Africa.
Uganda lost only twice in six games at the four-nation showpiece in Kigali enroute to qualifying for the ICC World T20 Africa Qualifier next year then. Fast forward to Pietermaritzburg, Steve Tikolo’s boys had already lost twice from as many games after Day One of the expanded Africa T20 Cup, organised by Cricket South Africa (CSA).
In the 20-run loss to Kwazulu Natal Coastal, the Ugandans were guilty of throwing away momentum while chasing a manageable 163.
From 87 for 3 after 10 overs, Uganda collapsed to 117 for 6 in 16 overs thus managing 30 runs in 6 overs to ‘allow’ the hosts to bounce back into the match and forthwith win it.
In the afternoon game, Uganda suffered a huge 133-run loss to defending champions Kwazulu Natal Inland at the Pietermaritzburg Varsity Oval in what was a listless and insipid show.
Teenager Zephaniah Arinaitwe (35 off 20), on his competitive debut, was one of positive talking points for Uganda as he exhibited flashes of brilliance in an opening partnership with captain Roger Mukasa (24 off 21) of 72 runs in 7 overs.
Uganda will look to end on a high against legendary South African Paul Adams’ Western Province at The Oval in Pietermaritzburg.
KZN Coastal 163/5 Uganda 143/8
Uganda lost by 20 runs
KZN Inland 227/2 Uganda 94/10
Uganda lost by 133 runs
By Innocent Ndawula
For a cricketer, a century is a big milestone for a batsman as is a hat-trick or maiden career wicket for a bowler. At Soroti Light Secondary School, Eunice Alungat is on cloud nine after her first ton.
The teenager now regrets less about giving cricket time after she made 114 runs not out as her side Soroti Challengers bossed opponents JACC enroute a 259-run victory at Jinja Oval on Saturday.
“I felt good,” the 17-year-old said. “…because it had never happened in life to me as a batter,” the right-hander offered.
Alungat only began playing cricket in Senior Two (2015). And that’s the last time a century happened in women’s cricket.
There will be little wonder if Alungat pursues a cricket career after she has completed her Geography, Economics and Art studies next year. “My dream is to play for Uganda’s national team as I am inspired by Joyce Mary Apio and Naome Kayondo,” she says. Kayondo is one of the nine other lady cricketers to ever score a ton in Uganda’s history.
Now opener Alungat will feel she is on the right track after she made 14 boundaries in her knock off 110 balls in 40 overs. “I was patient,” she said. Alungat is the only non-national team player to score a ton, much to her coach Ivan Kakande’s delight.
“She is one of the talented girls in the set-up and a good listener who enjoys the game,” Kakande said of the gem.
ALUNGAT AT A GLANCE
Full name: Eunice Alungat
Date of birth: December 18, 2000
School: Soroti Light SS
Club: Soroti Challengers
Class: Senior 5
Started playing: 2015
Batting style: Right-hand
Bowling: Right-arm slow
Best batting figures: 114 runs not out
By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE
It takes a great level of keenness to notice sweet emotions flying all over the senior national men’s cricket team camp.
And they are all coming at a time after fixtures for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three due November 6-21 in Oman were released on August 22. That very day was Cricket Cranes’ captain Roger Mukasa’s 29th birthday.
On the next day, coach Steve Tikolo celebrated his 21st marriage anniversary in an emotional post on his Facebook account. So howzat!
One underlining factor is that there is no fear or pressure ahead of this crucial showpiece for Team Uganda. The vibes in the non-residential camp are getting better ever since they won the ICC WCL Division IV title in Malaysia back in May.
“After Malaysia, we have added a few players like Ronak (Patel) and Dinesh (Nakrani) and we have continued with our normal progress,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor yesterday.
“Division III is important for us to progress to Division II and it is coming in six months which is not bad in terms of team momentum.”
But the Kenyan legend further warns; “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we still need to do the basics right and we cannot be complacent.”
Like the rest of the team, Tikolo is sparing more time to think on how to tackle the humid conditions of Oman and pass the five-match puzzle at the six-nation tournament.
“The Oman conditions are no different from those of Malaysia and that is in the sense of the same sub-continent type of wickets. We did not see too many in Malaysia but Uganda is one of the few teams that averaged 200 runs.
From what we saw in the ICC World T20 Africa B Qualifier in Rwanda, Ronak and Dinesh have brought in some good morale but batting is an area that we need to work on and as well as tighten the death bowling.”
Speaking of bowling and spin-favouring wickets in the Arabian Peninsula, Tikolo interestingly has more medium pace bowlers (Charles Waiswa, Bilal Hassun, Riazat Ali, Deus Muhumuza, Jonathan Ssebanja and Nakrani) than spinners (Irfan Afridi, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga plus part-timers Brian Masaba and Mukasa) in the team. But he sees things differently.
“Let’s not look at one side of the pace bowlers’ game. Don’t forget that Dinesh, Deus and Riazat can get you runs,” Tikolo argued.
“As a technical bench, we will not assume anything. We shall do our ground work and hopefully be in Oman at least three days before the tournament.”
Paying back the faith
On Tuesday, Tikolo repaid the faith in teenage batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe who has been scoring centuries for fun over the past three months.
He is into the team selected by the UCA Selection Committee that will represent Uganda at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) hosted Africa T20 Tournament due September 14-16 before taking part in three 50-over warm-up matches against Kwazulu-Natal Inland and the South Africa Academy teams set for September 17-21. But Ronak is unavailable, Jonathan Ssebanja has again been overlooked whereas Ssenyondo joins his little brother Simon Ssesaazi in the reserves of the notable selections and omissions made to the Rainbow Nation.
Then after the buffer month of October, Uganda will start its quest for Division II cricket against Denmark and USA on November 9 and 10 in Muscat but the gaffer hasn’t put much focus onto the itinerary that has three reserve days and as many off-days.
“At the end of the day, the rest days will be a benefit for all teams unlike the previous WCL tournaments where there are back-to-back games which take a toll on the players,” concluded Tikolo.
TEAM TO SOUTH AFRICA FOR T20s
Players: Brian Masaba (vice captain), Fred Achelam (wicket-keeper), Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Roger Mukasa (captain), Hamu Kayondo, Dinesh Nakrani, Muhammad Irfan, Frank Nsubuga, Charles Waiswa, Kenneth Waiswa, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Bilal Hassun, Riazat Ali Shah
Reserves: Henry Ssenyondo, Simon Ssessazi, Emmanuel Issaneez
Officials: Jackson Kavuma (Manager), Steve Tikolo (Coach), Jackson Ogwang (Assistant Coach)
POOLS - AFRICA T20 CUP
Pool A - Pietermaritzburg:
KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns,
KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, Uganda and
Pool B – Oudtshoorn:
South Western Districts, Free State,
Gauteng, Northerns and Zimbabwe;
Pool C – East London:
Border, Eastern Province, Kenya,
Mpumalanga and Namibia
Pool D – Paarl:
Boland, Limpopo, Nigeria, Northern Cape
and North West.
By Innocent Ndawula & Darren Kyeyune
As the lights dimmed on Season 6 of the Kampala Boys Sports Club (KBSC) Premier League, Keshwala Boyz etched their names into history books as only the second franchise to win back-to-back titles on Saturday (July 21).
Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Board Trustee Ranmal Keshwala’s team defeated Haandi XI by 44 runs under the floodlights in a pressure-game that was watched by an animated and packed-to-the-rafters Lugogo Stadium.
Haandi XI, who also came close last season before falling short in the playoffs, must have been believing that this was their year after captain Irfan Afridi won the toss and stuck in Keshwala Boyz. Their plans to stifle star-studded Keshwala Boyz batting line-up seemed to be on course with the scoreboard reading 59 for 2 in 10 overs.
But when Afridi introduced himself into the attack, Ronak Patel (47 off 37), Rakesh Kahar (38 off 24) chanced their arms at anything within their reach enroute to smoking the Cricket Cranes mystery bowler for 56 runs in just four overs at 14 per over.
The set 148 runs – a target that was within Haandi XI’s reach. But Haandi went for glory and paid the price for their gung-ho style. From 30 for no loss after 3 overs, Rakesh Kahar (3/14 in 4) and Dinesh Nakrani (2/26 in 4) pegged back the batsmen to give Keshwala Boyz the advantage at 33 for 6 in 7.3 overs.
Procession to victory
From then on it was a mere procession to victory for Keshwala Boyz despite one defiant knock of 49 off 35 by all-rounder Bilal Hassun, who took a perfect consolation prize in Man of Match for the final.
“We deserve this trophy and we are still hungry to pocket another one next year,” said Ranmal, soon after UCA chairman Bashir Ansasiira handed over the glittering trophy and Shs10m cheque to the winners. Runners-up Haandi pocketed Shs5m plus a trophy and their star man Gurpreet Singh also scooped the Best Bowler’s accolade with 26 wickets.
The climax was every fan’s dream with lots of entertainment as well as UCA, who benefitted with a cash tonic of Shs15m from KBSC to help develop the game further at the grassroots level.
Rakesh Kahar (Keshwala Boyz) 1128 points
Gurpreet Singh (Haandi XI) 23 wickets
Riazat Ali Shah (Damani Hunza) 343 runs
2013: Wines & Spirits
2014: Wines & Spirits
2015: Aziz Damani
2016: Cosmos Warriors
2017: Keshwala Boyz
2018: Keshwala Boyz
KBSC PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON 6
Result – Season 6 Finale
Keshwala Boyz 148/6 Haandi XI 104/10
Keshwala Boyz won by 44 runs
Result – Plate Cup final
Avengers 61/10 Abacus 62/2
Abacus XI won by 2 wickets
By INNOCENT NDAWULA
The start for women’s cricket in Uganda was quite slow when Susan Luswata took on a handful of girls back in 2001.
Nearly two decades later, the senior women’s national women’s team is now set to grace the grand stage of the game.
Yesterday, the Lady Cricket Cranes were flagged for their biggest assignment ever to Netherlands for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier due July 7-14.
“It is a privilege to be here and we are ready to take on this big chance,” skipper Kevin Awino, said moments after receiving the flag from National Council of Sports general secretary David Katende and former Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) board member Jackson Kavuma.
This moment could have come earlier for Uganda but the nation had lived in the shadow of Zimbabwe and Namibia for long.
But now ranked second behind South Africa on the continent and 18th overall in the ICC global standings, there is all optimism heading to Netherlands.
“I believe we have done enough and we are ready to mingle with the big sides,” offered star player Gertrude Candiru who was MVP when Uganda won the Africa T20s last September to earn the Dutch ticket.
The country’s preparations had the Lady Cricket Cranes whitewash Tanzania 6-0 away and as well won the Zimbabwe T20 Women’s tourney in May.
The story is sweeter even with long-serving members like Franklyn Najjumba, Consy Aweko and Carol Namugenyi in the side that will face Scotland, 2016 Qualifier champions Ireland and Thailand in Group B at the eight-nation tournament.
The top two face those from Group A that includes Bangladesh, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and UAE in the semi-finals with the tournament finalists qualifying for the Women’s T20 World Cup in West Indies come November.
Coach Francis Otieno has a chance to blend that experience with youth exuberance that comprises Candiru, Ritah Musamali, Joyce Mary Apio and Immaculate Nakisuyi.
“We are going to represent the whole of Africa and we want to do it well even if it is our first time here,” assistant captain Janet Mbabazi said.
Uganda’s trip to Europe was bankrolled by MTN with Shs5m and support from the India Association of Uganda, among other individuals including a $1000 promise from UCA board member Hanumant Katkar.
Team Uganda: Kevin Awino (Captain), Janet Mbabazi (Assistant Captain), Gertrude Candiru, Rachael Ntono, Consy Aweko, Carol Namugenyi, Franklyn Najjumba, Saidat Kemigisha, Mary Nalule, Rita Musamali, Stephannie Nampiina, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Joyce Mary Apio, Prico Nakitende
Non-travelling reserves: Evelyn Anyipo, Irene Alumo
Officials: Francis Otieno Ndege (Coach), Grace Mutyagaba (Assistant Coach), Lydia Bakumpe (Manager), Mary Makumbi (Head of Delegation), Hanumant Katkar (UCA Board Member).
ICC WOMEN’S WORLD T20 QUALIFIER
July 5: UAE vs. Uganda, VCC
July 7: Scotland vs. Uganda, VRA
July 8: Uganda vs. Thailand, Kampong
July 10: Ireland vs. Uganda, VRA
July 12: Semi-finals
July 14: Final
Mathematically, it stays in Uganda’s reach to grab one of the two spots at stake to progress through to the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Qualifier scheduled for early next year.
Realistically nothing is a given in sport as upsets remain part of the script whatever the discipline. The Cricket Cranes are in a position where they’re the best to justify this after Tanzania stunned them by six wickets on Wednesday.
One win from their last two games could be just enough for them considering their healthy Net Run Rate (NRR) but they must avoid leaving it late.
Hosts Rwanda will be in their faces seeking their first win of the Africa ‘B’ Qualifier and if their courageous show against Kenya is anything to go by, then Uganda should brace themselves for a hungry and ambitious rival.
“It is always important for the guys to play without fear and to always apply themselves. They must believe in their abilities and look to execute game plans,” Rwanda coach Martin Suji, Uganda’s former coach, said ahead of his second meeting with ex-teammate Steve Tikolo.
T20 AFRICA ‘B’ QUALIFIER
Today’s fixtures in Gahanga
Tanzania vs. Kenya, 10.30am
Rwanda vs. Uganda, 2.50pm
Points Table After Match Day 4
By INNOCENT NDAWULA