Champions Damani shifts focus to Unimoni T20 Cup

A script never opened, read and one never thought of. 
That’s not even enough to describe Aziz Damani Cricket Club’s successful yet historic title defence in the Jazz Safari National League.

On Sunday, Damani scored a rare 100 percent after winning all 14 league matches with a last seven-wicket triumph over Tornado Bee in Entebbe to bag their second topflight men’s club cricket title in as many years. Rare!

It is the first time a team has won all matches and it will become ordinary if another team achieves this landmark. To be honest, not any time soon.

And by the way, it is also strange to imagine that the title race six years was sorted by a bye for four runs when Wanderers’ quest faded through then captain Denis Musali’s gloves from Dennis Tabby to the ropes against Tornado.

Now Tabby at Damani, they wrapped up this title with four matches to go and the cigarettes were out of the packets and whiskey was already flowing down the glasses. “It may look simple,” Damani’s CEO Siva Koti said after the win over Tornado Bee in Entebbe. “... but it was not all easy,” he said.

Winning may seem difficult but maintaining it is even more complex. The results of this season may not tell it all for Damani.
“We had to work hard to retain this trophy. There were two matches that were particularly not easy; Kutchi Tigers and Ceylon Lions,” Koti said.

And granted, Damani family deserved the barbecue and chicken roasting evening in Entebbe on Sunday whose pictures circulated on WhatsApp statuses for players like pace man Charles Waiswa.

But other matches came way easier than expected for example Tornado Bee on Sunday. With four straight titles coming off a 2013-2016 reign, now they were far from that as they were bowled out by Damani for 87 runs in 40 overs. 
Tornado Bee lynchpin Roger Mukasa made 22 runs off 19 balls while Nicholas Kebba had 21 off 80 as national coach Steve Tikolo picked figures of 4/15 in 8 overs.

With the bat, Damani didn’t need their top-order batsmen. Instead, they showed strength and limitless boundaries in class as pace bowler Bilal Hassun top-scored with a half-ton of 61 runs off 38 balls to coast home.

It is a dominance that three-year-old Damani want to expand to other competitions. The side is eyeing the Unimoni National Twenty20 Cup title which bowled off on Sunday. “We don’t want this to appear as a fluke or one-off. We desire to beat the challenge again in the T20s,” Koti added.

CAST OF LEAGUE WINNERS

2018: Aziz Damani 
2017: Aziz Damani
2016: Tornado Bee
2015: Tornado Bee
2014: Tornado Bee
2013: Tornado Bee
2012: Tornado 
2011: Patidar Samaj

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Cricket Cranes captain Mukasa welcomes Africa T20 Cup invite

Cricket Cranes skipper Roger Mukasa says playing in the revamped Africa Twenty20 Cup will give Uganda a ‘priceless’ chance to get international exposure ahead of the Division III International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) in Oman this November.
“We are looking at this opportunity as a priceless one to play against the best franchises in South Africa,” said Mukasa when news filtered in that tournament organisers Cricket South Africa (CSA) had officially announced Uganda as the replacements for Ghana.
The West Africans cited logistical reasons as their notion for pulling out of the expanded 2018/19 Africa T20 Cup which is set to take place in September with the preliminary round on September 14-16 followed by the finals’ weekend on September 23-24.
“We are going to face the best bowlers on the continent and our seamers are going to have to do well against proven hitters of the ball. This will help us improve on our bowling at the death and improving our power-hitting especially in the powerplays,” added Mukasa. Uganda join other African nations including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia in the competition. 
The Cricket Cranes are in Pool A alongside KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns, Western Province and KwaZulu-Natal Coastal. 
The exciting T20 action will take place in 4 coastal venues in Pietermaritzburg, Oudtshoorn, East London and Paarl featuring 12 CSA Affiliates, 3 Associate Members and 5 ICC Africa teams taking place over two thrilling weekends of T20 cricket.
“We are glad Uganda are in because they’re a capable replacement. This event will provide the ideal opportunity for them to test themselves against some of the best young cricketers on the continent. I know Uganda will be ready to compete, and we are excited as we wait for the highly anticipated competition to get underway,” said ICC Africa Development Officer Justine Ligyalingi. Uganda will remain in South Africa following the conclusion of the Africa T20 Cup to play 50-over warm-up matches against KwaZulu-Natal Inland and the South African Academy respectively.

POOLS - AFRICA TWENTY20 CUP

Pool A - Pietermaritzburg: 
KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns, 
KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, Uganda and 
Western Province.
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 ALLAN KYEYUNE

Uganda finishes sixth in World Cup qualifier

Team Uganda return home from Netherlands with a few smiles having avoided the wooden spoon on their debut at the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier.

The East African nation will count many positives from their first time at the global stage of women’s cricket more importantly with the group stage win over Thailand and play-off triumph over hosts Netherlands last week.

Now the Lady Cricket Cranes may have avoided the tail slot but they will feel disappointed by their failure to beat Thailand for the second time in the fifth-place play-off.

Uganda returned home empty handed losing the tournament Plate Cup by 34 runs to Bangkok at VRA Ground in Amstelveen on Saturday.

Coaches Francis Othieno and Grace Mutyagaba had stuck to familiar faces but the bowling unit failed to bottle the Thai top-order which in turn left a load for the second innings.

It is Thailand that had gifted Uganda their first international T20 win during this tournament but knowing the danger in Immaculate Nakisuyi and Gertrude Candiru, the Asians turned on the mojo early.

After Sornnarin Tippoch had asked Uganda to field first, Consy Aweko had Naruemol Chaiwai (4 off 14) caught by Janet Mbabazi to have the scoreboard reading 12-1 in 3.4 overs.

But Uganda’s pressure valve let loose as Nattakan Chantam (44 off 41) and Nattaya Boochatham (38 off 41) shared 52 runs for the second wicket.

The latter then took the score to 105-3 in 18.2 overs after sharing 42 runs with wicket-keeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai (17 off 15) and Thailand coasted to 113-7.

Two ducks from the first three batters graced Uganda’s chase and the by the time Stephannie Nampiina’s 30-ball 29* came through in the mid-order, the battle was long gone.

Uganda finished sixth ahead of UAE and Netherlands while champions Bangladesh and Ireland qualified for the World Cup slated for November in West Indies.

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Squad of 33 Ladies summoned for Global World Cup qualifiers

Uganda Cricket Association has announced a list of 33 ladies to start preparation for the Global Qualifiers scheduled for the European summer of 2018.

Uganda qualified for the Global Qualifiers after they defeated Zimbabwe in the final for the African Region qualifiers in Namibia in August this year.

The list of 33 includes all the 14 ladies who were part of the winning team in Namibia with UK based Naomi Kayondo also included in the 33 ladies line up. UAE based Justine Musubika who features for Pioneer locally is also among those that have been summoned.

The team will be handled by head coach Francis Otieno, who will be assisted by Grace Mutyagaba and Habib Mugalula.

They will commence the non residential training on December 1 at Lugogo, when most of the school girls will be done with school.

Uganda will be battling 5 other regional winners with 2 test playing countries in Ireland and Bangladesh joining associate countries Uganda (Africa), Scotland (Europe), PNG (Oceania) and Hosts Netherlands (Europe

see below the squad;

               PREPARED BY; DENNIS MUSALI

World Cup Qualifier -Coaches keep trust in Arinaitwe

The effort put up in the two warm-up matches against Kenya select sides have defined Team Uganda’s new batting potential ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers.

Regardless, there is still concern notwithstanding ability to score 250 plus runs in games against the Nairobi XI and Kenya’s seniors earlier this week.

The team’s best batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe (pictured bowling) is struggling to perform. “He is going through a patch of poor form,” Team Uganda assistant coach Jackson Ogwang told this paper.

Now in four successive warm-up ties, the opening batsman Arinaitwe has struggled to cross the 25-run mark against the Uganda Select sides and Kenya.

In those innings, his best return was 21 runs in the last tie against Uganda XI at Lugogo last Saturday.

He made 14 runs off 17 balls against the Nairobi Select but struggled further with only 8 off 7 against Kenya XI on a batting wicket at Kanbis Sports Club in Eastleigh this week.

But Ogwang still trusts the 16-year-old. “I believe in his abilities. He just needs one good score to get his confidence back and he is good to go.”

“To beat the odds, we need Arinaitwe scoring. We trust him and shall work with him to improve the figures in one way or another,” coach Francis Otieno noted.

Arinaitwe was Uganda’s best batsman with 114 runs in five innings during the last pursuit for a ticket to the ICC Youth World Cup in Malaysia two years ago.

His best score was a 37-ball 59 in the nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea before Uganda came fourth in the road to Bangladesh.

“I will come better. I need to be patient too,” Arinaitwe offered in a recent chat with this paper.

“He knows what the team requires of him and we’ll back him up,” captain Kenneth Waiswa said.

The Baby Cricket Cranes begin their quest for the lone slot to World Cup slated for New Zealand next year against Botswana at Jaffrey Oval tomorrow.

Uganda last took part at the global event 12 years ago in Sri Lanka.

ICC AFRICA U-19 
WC QUALIFIER - JULY 1-8
PLAYING TOMORROW
Uganda vs. Botswana
Kenya vs. Ghana 
SUNDAY
Ghana vs. Uganda
Kenya vs. Botswana

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

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