Majestic Cricket Cranes

KUALA LUMPUR.

Blood brothers Frank Nsubuga and Roger Mukasa were easily the standout players as Uganda edged Jersey by seven runs to scoop the Division IV International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.
Victory also ensured Uganda’s new status as a Division III nation - a privilege they enjoyed last year before getting demoted after their no-show in Kampala.
In a game replayed because of Saturday’s thunderstorm-strewn rain downpour at the National University (UKM-YSD) Oval, Uganda managed only 90 runs on a wicket that was slow and turning square.
Former U-19 skipper Kenneth Waiswa (34 off 63) and Riazat Ali Shah (22 off 60), who featured in a solid sixth-wicket partnership of 60 runs, alongside Nsubuga (13 off 23) showed immense maturity to reach double figures on the tricky surface as Jersey’s slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Stevens 4 for 22 enjoyed a perfect day in office.
The low score left Uganda’s dug out under pressure and they were seen pressing hard their calculators and spreadsheets to find out what they needed to stay alive in what has been a cut-throat competition. 
Knowing they needed to bowl at least 20.3 overs before Jersey reached the target 91 to consolidate the No.2 position on the log and make certain promotion to the Division III tier, captain Mukasa unleashed his quartet of spinners including himself to do damage control.
Mystery leg-spinner Irfan Afridi (1/23) and left-armer Henry Ssenyondo (1/29) bowled parsimonious spells but it was Nsubuga and Mukasa, who blew them away like a Tornado.
Nsubuga, who was adjudged Man of Match (MoM), spun cobwebs around the Channel Islanders to return immense figures of 4 for 20 in 10 overs including four maidens to leave the opposition struggling at 47 for 6 just after lunch. 
His younger sibling Mukasa mobbed up the tail-enders with magical figures of 3 for 7 in 4 overs with the last man given out LBW on 83 all out to give Uganda an unexpected but deserving seven-run win in the low-scoring thriller.
Coach Steve Tikolo and his brigade return this afternoon at Entebbe Airport aboard Emirates and the cricket fraternity is set to give the latest sports heroes a fitting reception.

ICC WCL DIVISION IV

Yesterday’s results
Uganda 90/10 Jersey 83/10
Uganda won by 7 runs

Malaysia 257/ Bermuda 168/9
Malaysia won by 89 runs

By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Cricket Cranes continue to make hay in Gujarat

UGANDA’S TOUR OF INDIA
Seven Match Series in Chikhil
Surat City – Gujarat State
GAME 1
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Uganda 129/6 beat ND Warriors XI 75/9 
by 54 runs (with 32 balls remaining)
*Man Of Match: Deus Muhumuza
GAME 2
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Skipper XI Gujarat 108 all out in 19.2 overs
lost to Uganda 112 for 4 in 17.3 overs by six
wickets with 15 balls remaining.
*Man Of Match: Simon Ssesazi

CHIKHIL. India and Qatar are worlds apart in every inch of the phrase. Whereas Qatar remains on track of becoming a first world country, India is gnawing as a third-world nation.

But the latter make up for what they don’t have in infrastructure by being the No.1 cricketing nation in the world, something Qatar may never achieve in eons.

The Cricket Cranes, too, are gradually taking the baby steps and showing that they can adapt and survive in both worlds – the high-end of Doha and lowlife in Gujarat.

From an impressive shift on the national team’s maiden visit to the oil-rich nation, Steve Tikolo’s troops have showed no signs of fatigue after settling into the remote but beautiful Sanjay Farm in Chikhil which is 225 kilometers from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai.

Two games down the road, the Cricket Cranes have not only excited the locals with a free-spirt brand of cricket as justified by the numbers that keep trickling in to watch but have also picked up satisfactorily if not convincing victories. All-rounder Deus Muhumuza mixed hard-running and clean hitting on his way to a Man of Match (MOM) innings of 35 runs as Uganda breezed to a 54-run win on the Tour to India’s opening Twenty20 match against ND Warriors XI.

Uganda set 129 and then bowled out the hosting side for 75 thanks to a brilliant spell of 3 wickets for 5 runs in 4 overs from debutant Dinesh Nakrani.
In the afternoon on Friday, Simon Ssesazi flourished with a chanceless half century of 51 as Uganda secured a six-wicket win against Skipper XI Gujarat in the second Twenty20 match at the Shri Mohanlal Desai Cricket Ground (Sanjay Farm).

The 21-year-old left-hand batsman featured in a 44-run match-changing partnership with Nakrani (15) as Uganda chased down 107 and duly deserved his MOM award – the second on this 16-day long tour.

“The guys are starting to realise their roles,” said coach Tikolo. “But we are still not yet hitting our set targets. We were ran close in these two games and I have told the guys that we can do a lot better. We need to pump ourselves for the remaining games.”

By press-time Uganda were taking on a much-polished Surat Cricket Association U-19 side, whose players feature for the Gujarat State U-19 side – a straight feeder to the India U-19 outfit that has just won the ICC Junior World Cup down under in New Zealand.

The team will play three more Limited Over matches and one Twenty20 before they return home on February 23.

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Solid batting gives Cricket Cranes 2-1 lead in Qatar Tour Series

Doha. A rock-solid opening partnership between captain Roger Mukasa and Hamu Kayondo that yielded 89 runs in 13.2 overs takes the credit for Uganda’s T20 six-wicket victory against Qatar.

That triumph edged coach Steve Tikolo’s troops into a 2-1 lead at the on-going Bilateral Series played at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium in Doha on Saturday night.

Cricket Cranes captain Mukasa played second fiddle in the tandem partnership for his score of 40 off 51 balls but Kayondo, who took the Man of Match award, cut loose with a beautiful half century off just 39 balls to take the game away from the hosts.

When Kayondo departed for 51, the scoreboard was reading 100 for 3 and Uganda needed 32 runs to win from 26 balls.

“The coaches always want us to express ourselves with the bat and when I got a chance to open I knew I would make use of the batting powerplay,” said the 27-year-old Hamu, who received a medal from Qatar Cricket Association president QCA president Yousef Jeham Al Kuwari.

Having been the difference in the first two tour matches with the ball, Deus Muhumuza did his reputation as an all-rounder a lot of good.

With 18 needed off 12 balls, Muhumuza smoked two mighty sixes to finish with 24 not out just off 10 balls to seal the game for Uganda with two balls to spare at 133 for 4.

After playing four back-to-back games, the team will take some rest and take in an anticipated breathless sight-seeing tour of Qatar today.

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Sanjay Farm, UCA partner for Cricket Cranes build-up tour

KAMPALA. A busy schedule looms for the Cricket Cranes and Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) have opted to take the bull by its horns in preparation for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division IV in Malaysia as well as the Africa Twenty20 Cup in Rwanda.
To get the preparations started, a provisional squad of 17 will tour Qatar and India for invaluable match practice and exposure as they try to execute what they have been doing in training, thanks to UCA’s partnership with Cricket Sanjay Farm’s Swetal Desai.

On the backdrop of Roger Mukasa and Charles Waiswa’s involvement with the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Select Team that toured India last year, Desai was overwhelmingly impressed by the pair’s talent and pledged to support the development of cricket in Uganda.
UCA chairman Bashir Ansasiira travelled to India for a special meeting with Desai on December 26 last year and the two high caliber personalities fixed the tour for next month (February 17-23).

Team’s potential
Cricket Cranes Team Manager Jackson Kavuma, who alongside CEO Justine Ligyalingi and Operations Manager Martin Ondeko finalised the tour arrangements, said the purpose of this tour was not only to test the team’s potential.
“We are indebted to Cricket Sanjay Farm and Desai who are going to facilitate a bigger portion of our budget,” said Kavuma.

“The purpose of the tour is to also unleash cricketing skills in the remote part of South Gujarat and it will also hopefully open new dimensions for Uganda cricket.”
Before heading to India, coach Steve Tikolo and his men will camp in Qatar for a series of T20 and 50-over rubbers against the national side that is littered with classy players from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

SQUAD TO QATAR, INDIA

Batsmen: Roger Mukasa, Hamu Kayondo, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Simon Ssesaazi, Shahzad Kamal, Lloyd Patternot
All Rounders: Deus Muhumuza, Brian Masaba, Frank Nsubuga, Kenneth Waiswa, Irfan Afridi Riazat Shah
Wicket-Keeper: Fred Achelam
Spinner: Henry Ssenyondo
Pace Bowlers/Seamers: Charles Waiswa, Trevor Bukenya, Bilal Hassan
Reserves: Emmanuel Isaneez, Steven Wabwose.

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By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Lady Cricket Cranes take preps for Holland job to Tanzania

Build-up games
Today’s games
Game 1: Uganda vs. Tanzania
Game 2: Uganda vs. Tanzania

Kampala. Ordinarily, there is a hangover that breeds after one attains an achievement.
But for the Uganda national women’s cricket team, it must have been a brief one after they garnered the title at the ICC Africa Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers in Windhoek, Namibia last September.

In December, victorious coach Grace Mutyagaba and his superior Francis Otieno embarked on preparations for the ICC Global T20 Qualifier which bowls off July 3-14 in Netherlands.
The team broke off for the festive season on December 22, resumed training on January 8 and yesterday, the selected 14 players flew out to Dar-es-Salaam for a build-up tour against hosts Tanzania.

“This gives players a different challenge,” coach Otieno explained the importance of the trip to the coastal city moments after the team had been flagged off by Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) administrator Martin Ondeko on Friday.

The team will play six T20 matches against Tanzania beginning today until Wednesday. Normally, Uganda tours Kenya, so why the change?
“We played Kenya before Dubai (2016) and Namibia (2017) trips. So this is a change is menu for the players. And besides, Tanzania is such a strong side that they have something we can pick from them,” Otieno said.

Four players who were part of the Africa T20 triumph including tournament MVP Gertrude Candiru (malaria), Carol Namugenyi (work), Naomi Kayondo (school in UK) and Joyce Mary Apio (form) miss out.

But their voids will be filled by returning Claire Mushakamba as well as eager and enterprising debutants Irene Alumo, Evelyn Anyipo and Esther Ilukor.
In July, Uganda will be featuring at the Global Qualifier alongside Thailand, UAE, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Bangladesh and the Dutch for the first time.

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By Darren Allan Kyeyune & Innocent Ndawula

Senior side to offer Baby Cricket Cranes final test

Uganda cricket has consistently taken the stick since the nation suffered shock relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division Three last month. 
The interest for the gentleman’s game is not as huge as it was before May 23 on and off the oval. 
And the tiring mental constructs will take a while to fade away, more evidenced by low batting totals in recent Jazz Safari National League ties. 
The current senior men’s team generation has hinged on the class that partook at the 2004 and 2006 ICC U-19 World Cup tourneys. 
The inevitable feeling is to have new blood take up the spots.

The nation has a chance to forget the misery should the current U-19 side beat the odds and qualify for next year’s ICC Youth 50-Over World Cup in New Zealand. 
Unlike before, the Baby Cricket Cranes must finish top ahead of Kenya, Botswana and Ghana at the regional qualifier in Nairobi. 
“This team bats deep and that should do the jugular for us,” team’s coach Francis Otieno told Daily Monitor following a series of training sessions at Lugogo.

Squad cut in size
Otieno and assistant Jackson Ogwang trimmed their squad from 25 to 14 while dropping familiar names like Joseph Byaruhanga, John Gabula, Ronald Kinene, Juma Miyagi and Collins Okwalinga. 
Aziz Damani’s Kenneth Waiswa, who was dropped for the ICC WCL, is skipper and knows what’s at stake. “If we qualify for the World Cup, we can change the face of Ugandan cricket like it happened in 2006,” said the promising medium pacer. 
Waiswa will be deputized by Zephania Arinaitwe and the pair has two trial matches against their seniors tomorrow and on Saturday at Lugogo Oval. “Giving Arinaitwe means he must play with responsibility.” Otieno reasoned.

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By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Mehta Group boosts Cricket Cranes

Cricket Cranes’ bid to lift the ICC World Cricket League Division Three trophy received a shot in the arm following the unveiling, by Mehta Group, of a sponsorship package worth Shs45 million.

The deal, signed at the weekend in Lugazi, will cater for among others players’ allowances, team bonuses and team kit for the upcoming six-team showpiece scheduled to bowl off next Tuesday (May 23).

According to Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) CEO Justine Ligyalingi, the partnership with Mehta began in 2012 and is only being revived.

“Mehta has been supporting cricket activities in the country with sponsorship to teams such as Nile Knights in the East African Premier League as well as the Women’s T20 League.

“Today, however, is special and we would like to thank Mehta for the financial support towards the men’s team for this upcoming event,” Ligyalingi said after appending his signature to the deal along with UCA chairman Bashir Ansasiira and Mehta Group CEO Anil Shah.

Although the deal will cater for the men’s national team, Shah promised to extend financial help to the ladies’ team as well. 
“Our commitment towards cricket development is unquestionable. This is just the beginning. Next will be the ladies,” Shah said, before urging the players to give their all during the 10-day event.

Uganda open their campaign against Canada at Lugogo Oval on May 23 and team captain Davis Karashani believes they have got what it takes to move a division up.

“The mood in the camp is positive. We have a great physio (Habiba) and she is working hard to ensure all the niggles are gone ahead of our opener. The squad is also littered with players of quality and I am positive they will make the country proud,” Karashani said.

Oman is expected to be the first country to jet in on Thursday with the rest USA, Canada, Oman, Malaysia and Singapore arriving on Saturday and Sunday. UCA will unveil the new team jersey tomorrow.

ICC WCL DIV III
UGANDA’S FIXTURES 
May 23: Uganda vs. Canada - Lugogo Oval
May 24: Uganda vs. Singapore -Entebbe Oval
May 26: Uganda vs. Oman -Kyambogo Oval
May 27: Ugandavs. Malaysia - Lugogo Oval
May 29: Uganda vs.USA - Entebbe Oval

By CAESAR ABANGIRAH

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