Back to back KBSC Night Cricket titles for ‘classy’ Keshwala Boyz

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.

TOP PERFORMERS
MVP:
Rakesh Kahar (Keshwala Boyz) 1128 points
Best Bowler:
Gurpreet Singh (Haandi XI) 23 wickets
Best Batsman
Riazat Ali Shah (Damani Hunza) 343 runs

FORMER WINNERS
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

Lady Cricket Cranes brace for biggest job

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.

Ranked
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 
WARM-UP
July 5: UAE vs. Uganda, VCC 
UGANDA FIXTURES
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

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Cricket Cranes have no room for error

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

Ceylon Lions plot surprise for Damani

Aziz Damani Cricket Club is intent to defend their Jazz Safari National League title in style.
It is a priority that has been followed up by three opening wins of the season against Strikers, Kutchi Tigers and Premier.
The latter 262-run victory last weekend was spiced up by an 80-ball 102 ton by Saud Islam in Kyambogo.
“So far, so good,” Damani all-rounder Brian Masaba said. “It’s a good start. But we don’t want to leave any room for complacency. We want to do it better than we did it last year,” he said.

Now Damani heads to Lugogo Oval today to face a stubborn Ceylon Lions that has blown more cold than hot in their first three matches.
“We should be doing better,” their opening batsman Simon Ssesazi said. Last weekend, the left-hander made just 15 runs but those double figures marked an improvement considering he struggled with just single digits. “I feel better than when I was in Malaysia. Now facing Damani which has coach Steve Tikolo and seven other national teammates, I know a thing or two and try out for a big score.”

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Saudi meal for Uganda at Easter

At the back of the minds of the senior national team players, the clock is ticking fast to the ICC World Cricket League Division Four Championship.
That imminent showpiece comes April 28 - May 5 in Malaysia and each second counts for coach Steve Tikolo’s charges.
The Easter weekend will see his side physically and mentally away from their families as Team Uganda fine-tunes preparations for the Asia mission with a Bilateral Series against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The five-match Series begins today when Uganda faces the men from the Middle East in a T20 blitz at the University Oval in Kyambogo.
“Our target is to win here as we prepare for our next tournament in Kuwait,” captain Muhammad Afzal said, as his coach Liaquat Ali translated, at the Series’ launch in Lugogo yesterday. “The weather is quite pleasant and we believe we shall put up a challenge,” added Afzal.
Their Pakistan-born coach Ali played for Pakistan Islamic team from 1986-1988 and has coached in Saudi since.
“The Saudi tour gives us the opportunity to work on areas such as team strategy, plans and combinations and look to perfect them before Malaysia,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor following a lengthy selection meeting on Wednesday night. Key is how skipper Roger Mukasa consolidates the batting unit that comprises of experienced Hamu Kayondo and Shahzad Kamal as well as youngsters Simon Ssesaazi, Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Simon Ssesaazi.
There should also be a final toss of the coin between wicket-keepers Fred Achelam and Arthur Ziraba.
Spinners Irfan Afridi, Frank Nsubuga and Henry Ssenyondo will need company of seamers like the Waiswas Charles and Kenneth, Deus Muhumuza and Brian Masaba.
The East African nation last sat on a cricket table with the Saudis back at the Four-Nation Series in September, 2016. “I wish to state that they are a good team. I believe we are up and ready for the challenge at hand.” Tikolo recalled the previous meeting in Nairobi. “When we played them in Nairobi, they seemed a balanced side with a strong batting line up, two good opening bowlers and some good spinners. An area that they lacked a bit in was their fielding.
That might have changed since it’s about 19 months now since then. We just need to focus on our game, make sure we back ourselves and play good cricket.” Tikolo added.

SAUDI ARABIA TOUR OF UGANDA

BILATERAL SERIES ITINERARY
TODAY - MATCH 1 (T20- 2PM)
Uganda XI vs. Saudi Arabia XI
Game to be played at Kyambogo

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA     

Saudi visit to help players polish up for Malaysia trip

From the look of things, Uganda Cricket Association vowed to never take things for granted after the country got relegated at the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Three championship last May.
Today, nearly all teams are accorded more attention by UCA than usual ahead of international engagements. The feeling of not enough done is still abound the senior men’s national team at it prepares for the ICC WCL Division Four championship in Malaysia next month.
After recent visits to Rwanda, Qatar and India in the last six months, the Cricket Cranes will now host the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a nine-day Bilateral Series in Kampala.
“We did a lot of purifying in Qatar and India,” said Cricket Cranes’ captain Roger Mukasa. Uganda lost 3-2 in the Qatar Series but was much better with a 7-1 win in the Tour of India.
Top-order batsman Mukasa reckons preparations for the April 28 - May 5 trip to Malaysia still need a test from the Saudis.
“We are not resting,” the Tornado Bee player stated ahead of the four limited-over matches and one T20 tie at Lugogo and Kyambogo starting tomorrow throughout the Easter weekend. “We needed some trials games to help players polish up a few things at individual level.” Mukasa added.
His coach Steve Tikolo does not differ much. “We achieved what we wanted to in (Qatar and India) but the way forward is simple, we have to keep training,” the Kenyan legend said in a recent interview.

The tour

BILATERAL SERIES ITINERARY
March 28: Saudi team arrival
March 29: Rest day
March 30: 50-Over Match (Kyambogo)
March 31: T20 Match (Kyambogo)
April 1: 50-Over Match (Lugogo)
April 2: Rest Day
April 3: 50-Over Match (Lugogo)
April 4: 50-Over Match (Lugogo)
April 5: Departure

By Darren Allan Kyeyune & Makhtum Muziransa

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