Aziz Damani 210 for 6 in 36 Overs  (Riazat Ali Shah (80* off 64, Ghulam Hunzai 37 off 30, Lawrence Ssempijja 1/26 in 8) beat Ceylon Lions 158 All Out in 31.1 Overs (Simon Ssesazi (77* off 77, Varinder Singh 25 off 12, Charles Waiswa 3/28 in 5, Riazat Ali Shah 3/29 in 5) by 95 runs Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) Method
Man of Match: Riazat Ali Shah (80* & 3/29)
It is early days in the season. But can someone out there, or even from anywhere, please stop defending champions Aziz Damani from their title march?
On a rain-hit day, Aziz Damani once again grinded out a superb result – a 95-run Duckworth Lewis & Stern (DLS) victory over Ceylon Lions at Lugogo Cricket Oval to take their winning streak this season to four games.
Following a tough week during which the fraternity looked on powerlessly as Zoe Fellowship Ministries ‘took over’ Lugogo for prayer meetings scheduled every Tuesday coupled with stop-start rainy season, the Lugogo rubber between Damani and Ceylon Lions gave those in the stands something to cheer about.
With both sets of teams clad in new jerseys, Damani (yellow and green gold stripes) and Ceylon Lions (dark blue and yellow stripes) displayed a competitive brand of cricket only for the former to take honours, largely because of the experience and galaxy of national stars in their ranks.
Ceylon Lions skipper Lawrence Ssempijja won the toss and with him welcoming back the bowling pair off-spinner Varinder Singh and medium pacer Collin Abong alongside stylish glove-man Abdallah Ssezooba into the side, he thought it wise to stick in Damani.
And Ssempijja’s decision momentarily paid back quick dividends; with him running out the previous weekend’s half centurion Emmanuel Hasahya (4 off 4) and then proceeding to bowl out wicketkeeper Fred Achelam (27 off 43). Another dangerman Saud Islam was sent packing for a duck by teenager Juma Miyagi (1/42 in 4) whereas Brian Masaba was caught behind for 12 off 28 by Ssezooba off Abong (1/40 in 7).
At that time, Damani were in a spot of bother on 103 for 5 and moments later the rains opened at 119 for 5 in 27 overs. But as the rains continued, they seemingly gave a desired breather to Damani’s dug out.
The umpires’ calculations showed that there was time for nine more overs in a game that was now reduced to 36 overs. And Ceylon Lions’ took the field without warming up the muscles and paid the price as Damani rebuilt their innings.
Only one wicket of Kenneth Waiswa (13 off 42), who was caught and bowled by Varinder Singh (1/39 in 5) fell as Damani piled 91 runs in nine overs to take the roar out of the now tamed Ceylon Lions.
Riazat Ali Shah (80 off 64) remained and was chief damage-inflictor with eight meaty sixes and four boundaries whereas captain Ghulam Hunzai exhibited his monster ball-bashing ways with a cavalier knock of 37*off 30 balls including three fours and two sixes. Both batsmen stayed unbeaten as Damani’s reached 210 for 6 in 36 overs.
DLS calculations stated that Ceylon Lions would need 254 for victory. But despite throwing the kitchen sink at Damani’s bowling, Lions lost quick wickets and at 53 for 3 in 7 overs, it was Siva Koti’s men on top.
Charles Waiswa (3/28 in 5) did damage to the top order. He got Eddie Agaba (5 off 5) caught behind, bowled Arnold Otwani round his legs for a duck and sent Varinder (25 off 12) back to the dressing room for a quick shower.
One Man Army
Only one man left-hander Simon Ssesazi (77 off 77) showed guts of steel with a solid half century that comprised of four fours and seven sixes, and when he was dismissed by Riazat Ali Shah (3 for 29), the game was duly over as a contest at 141 for 5.
The last five wickets fell for 14 runs, skipper Ssempijja managing 19 runs as the last recognizable batsman with the rest of the contribution coming from extras (14).
Ceylon Lions were halted at 154 in 31.1 overs to remain winless out of four outings and with their next fixture against tricky Kutchi Tigers.
For Aziz Damani, it is four-in-a-row now and with a Net Run Rate (NRR) of 3.000 plus, they could soon go into oblivion as their closest challengers KICC, Tornado and Strikers have all lost once and the trio’s NRR is below 1.000.