Youngster Zephaniah Arinaitwe, playing with a stomach bug, threw caution to the wind and put on a batting masterstroke with a 51-ball ton of 107 runs to ensure Uganda started their three-match 50-over build-up for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III scheduled for Oman in Novermber on a winning note by six wickets.
The 17-year-old complained of stomach pains in the first innings as he kept wickets - for the second time on this tour - after captain of the day Brian Masaba had lost the toss and been asked to have a bowl.
Arinaitwe handed over the glove-work duties to left-hand opening batsman Simon Ssesazi for the rest of the innings as the hosts Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy set a commanding 269 for 4 in the allotted 50 overs at the Pietermaritzburg City Oval yesterday.
But Arinaitwe returned after the lunch break to open the innings and he batted in a ruthlessness manner - hitting everything in his range enroute to 16 boundaries and four sweetly timed sixes, and by the time he fell Uganda was just 119 runs away from victory at 151 for 2 in 16.3 overs.
“I love scoring quick,” Arinaitwe, in his ever cheerful manner told Daily Monitor.
“Getting these centuries in quick time is what I would love to do for my country always. It gives me great joy to know that I can give my team a chance to win.”
It was St John SS Mukono student’s sixth century of the season that has also seen him notch 197 off 66 balls last month at the Hayer StarField Tournament in Nairobi and a double-century in the Schools Cricket Week Qualifiers - a couple of months ago.
Hamu Kayondo (78 not out off 78) and Riazat Ali Shah (53 off 39) got half centuries during the chase that saw Uganda keep the Academy Boys calm and it was fitting that captain Masaba (4* off 7 balls) got the winning runs.
At the weekend, Uganda wrapped up its Africa T20 Cup campaign with two sensational victories against Western Province and eventual ‘Pool of Death’ winners Easterns in Group A. The team takes some rest today and will be back into the mix for another build up tomorrow.
By Innocent Ndawula