The fans have been gradually increasing in number to watch Uganda’s Tour to India matches here at the Mohanlal Desai Cricket Ground (Sanjay Farm) in South Gujarat, India.
Many of them have gone on to fall in love with the Cricket Cranes and support the coach Steve Tikolo-tutored outfit. Uganda have reciprocated the act by offering the natives as many autographs as per their wish.
But to many Indians, an autograph is not just a mere signature even if it’s from a budding cricket country’s national team player. It is equated to winning a million dollar jackpot in a casino.
And when Uganda wrapped their sixth win of the India Tour Series on Tuesday, the autograph-hunting locals told whoever cared to listen to them in the Ugandan camp that they (Cricket Cranes) would finally go down to highly-rated Bharuch District Cricket Association XI when the team met on the following day in a 40-over encounter.
Bharuch District C.A were the early birds in Chikhil Town having made a 150 kilometers road trip from the South Gujarat border to be in time for the 9.30am (7am Uganda time) pre-match toss yesterday.
Their captain Kayshap Prajapati swaggered into the middle for the toss with an aura of invincibility and when Uganda captain Roger Mukasa asked him to bat first, the former cut a posture of ‘thanks for playing into my hands’.
Prajapati (20 runs off 36 balls) returned to open the batting with Smith Patel (19 runs off 44 balls) played with assuredness as they reached 38 for no loss in 11.5 overs.
But as they were planning to increase the scoring rate, Mukasa introduced his elder brother Frank Nsubuga, an off-spinner, into the attack.
Nsubuga (3 wickets for 8 runs in 7 overs) prized out both openers and Man of Match (MOM) Henry Ssenyondo (5 wickets for 6 runs in 5.3 overs) bowled exciting lines of deceit as the last nine wickets fell for 39 runs to leave the star-bolstered Bharuch C.A all out on 77 runs in only 31.3 overs.
Coach Tikolo’s plea to young openers Simon Ssesazi (13 runs off 23 balls) and Zephaniah Arinaitwe (6 runs off 11 balls) was that they chase down the set target without returning to the dug-out.
But Arinaitwe was back for a quick shower at 21 for 1 in 3 overs and Ssesazi followed at 64 for 2 after 10.2 overs.
Yesterday’s results in Chikhil - 40 overs
Bharuch District C.A 77 runs all out in 31.3 overs lost to Uganda 80 runs for 5 wickets in 14.5 overs by five wickets with 151 balls remaining.
Man of Match: Henry Ssenyondo
Today – 40-Over Match
Sterling Generators vs. Uganda
By Innocent Ndawula