Affable all-rounder Riazat Ali Shah was adjudged Most Valuable Player (MVP) as Uganda defeated Kenya by seven wickets at Gahanga Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda on July 14 to qualify for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Twenty20 Cup scheduled for May next year.
Nicknamed Rizu, the 20-year-old who plies his trade for Aziz Damani Cricket Club in the Jazz Safari National League, was easily the standout player with an unbeaten seven-ball blitz of 20 runs as Uganda avenged their first round loss to Kenya. Overall, Rizu finished among the top four batsmen, top six bowlers and equalled the best fielders’ count with four catches.
He managed 247 runs with a highest score of 96 not out, averaging a staggering 123.5 with a strike rate of 226. And then with the ball, he notched 7 wickets at an average of 14 per scalp and economy of 7.5 from 13 overs to finish among the top six bowlers.
But it wasn’t a one-man show as Uganda grabbed one of the two slots at stake for the East African region to the ICC World Twenty20 Africa Qualifier scheduled for May 2019.
Dinesh Nakrani, 26, with a table-topping aggregate of 320 runs, at an average of 80 per innings and top score of 102 not out in the seven-wicket win over Kenya on Saturday - a feat achieved with seven balls to spare - deserves all the plaudits.
Leg-break bowler Irfan Afridi, too, was among the three-man MVP shortlist with 13 wickets and 34 runs.
Champions Kenya and Uganda joined Nigeria and Ghana to the African showpiece with two more countries expected to make the grade from Africa Zone C (Southern Africa) later this year. The top from the continental showpiece will make it to the Global Qualifer whose top six will reach the World Cup in Australia 2020.
ICC 20 Africa ‘B’ Qualifier
Result - Final Game
Kenya 188/5 Uganda 189/3
Uganda won by 7 wickets
FINAL TABLE STANDINGS
TEAM M W L PTS NRR
KEN 6 5 1 10 2.924
UGA 6 4 2 8 2.725
TAN 6 3 3 6 -0.429
RWA 6 0 6 0 -4.887