Deus Muhumuza wrapped up the stiff chase of 186 with an upper cut shot for six over the third-man region as Uganda delivered a knockout out blow to defeat Kenya by six wickets and go 3-0 in the Easter Series at Lugogo Cricket Oval yesterday.
There is still a game to be played by the friendly foes at Lugogo today but it will be a dead rubber with Kenya only seeking to salvage their dented pride with a consolation win.
Bowling all-rounder Muhumuza (23 off 19 balls) may have hit the winning runs but if it had been a boxing match he could as well have been an undercard fighter on the day.
The two main antagonists that took the fight to the Kenyan bowling and successfully wrestled the match from them were stylish stroke-maker Roger Mukasa and left-hander Shahzad Kamal.
Mukasa opened up early cuts (read chinks) in the Kenyan bowling arsenal with a boundary-filled 30-ball 43 and was unlucky not to reach the half-century landmark after one delivery from Kenya skipper Shem Obado Ngoche (1/46 in 5) kept low and disturbed his furniture.
But by the time Mukasa walked back to the dugout, the scoreboard was reading 74 for 3 in 9.1 overs and he had set a very good platform for his teammates to smoother along without the pressure of a steep run-rate.
Kamal, who ended unbeaten on a matching winning 75 off 55 balls, dug deep with skipper Davis Karashani (19 off 25) running hard between the wickets and picking the odd boundary in sensible fashion to avoid a twist in the tail.
And even when Karashani’s powerful cut short was caught at point by World Cup hero Collins Obuya, it was a little too late for the Kenyans as Uganda needed 58 runs to win from 62 balls – but more importantly with at least a handful of power hitters yet to bat.
“Once again the guys have showed that they can execute what they do in practice,” said Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo, who is coincidentally a Kenyan legend.
“We have been practicing situations like this. But to go 3-up in the series also shows that there is maturity in the side and the team is hungry to deliver and make the combinations work.”
Kenya assistant coach Peter Ongondo was full of praise for Uganda. “Before, Uganda used to play boundary cricket. But now their batsmen are willing to bat for long spells. We have also been awed by their togetherness and teamwork. We came here to teach the Ugandans but we are also learning something,” said the former Kenya opening bowler.
Earlier before the heavens opened, Kenya was coasting along nicely on 165/4 in 36.5 overs with Irfan Karim (65* off 116), Dhiren Gondaria (50 off 42) and Obuya (37 off 48) contributing handsomely.
The rain interruption, though, could not allow them to proceed with their innings and had the match umpires ask Uganda to chase 186 in 27 overs after Duckworth and Lewis Method (D/L Method) calculations – a test they duly passed with flying colours.
By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE