There were no over-the-top celebrations as Uganda outmuscled Kenya by 69 runs in the highly-billed East African derby played at the Nairobi Jaffreys Sports Club Oval at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifier yesterday.
But no one should be fooled. The Baby Cricket Cranes know a thing or two about partying hard. But as the Kenyans jogged around the field for their warm down, skipper Kenneth Waiswa summoned the team for a huddle and quick prayer. They then sat on the oval infront of Uganda’s dugout for a team meeting to review the day’s performance with coaches; Franco Otieno, Jackson Ogwang, Steve Tikolo and David Obuya.
On their faces, it was visible they were happy they had got one over the old enemy but were not about to celebrate in the Kenyans’ faces because the job is only half done with another full round of fixtures to play starting today against Botswana, who suffered their third consecutive defeat after Ghana mauled them by six wickets at the Gymkhana Oval.
“It is not over,” said Otieno, a man who captained Kenya at the U-19 Level in 1998. “We have to remain calm and continue to do well over and over. There are areas we didn’t do well, when we panicked and where we failed to capitalise. We have to continue improving.”
Indeed there were a couple of jittery moments in both innings. When Zephaniah Arinaitwe (42 off38) helped Uganda breeze to 55 inside 7 overs and then connived to lose three quick wickets to stay in a precarious situation at 85 for 3.
The innings was revived by a 36-run fourth stand partnership between Steven Wabwose (44 off 59) and Waiswa (60 off 93) which was toppled by another one of 67 runs by the captain and all-rounder SirajeNsubuga (43 off 55) for the seventh wicket that ensured Uganda set 231.
Then although Kenya crumbled to 26 for 4 in the second innings. The 101-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Kenya captain Sachin Bhudia (52 off 66) and Thomas Ochieng (54 off 101) sent shivers down the Ugandan bowling’s spine and left the field in a disarray.
But Nsubuga (2/38 in 9.4 overs)’s clever dismissal of Bhudia (a caught and bowled) at 128 ignited Kenya’s collapse and the hosts were soon all out for 162 in 46.4 overs.
Today, Kenya run into a wounded Ghana whereas Uganda face Botswana looking to make it four not out as they chase the continent’s lone slot to New Zealand for the World Cup early next year.
By Innocent Ndawula