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

Tikolo pleased with avalanche of match winners in Cricket Cranes squad

There were a few murmurs arising from coach Steve Tikolo’s final 14-man side that will represent hosts Uganda at the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament from May 23-31.
Tikolo admitted the difficulty in sieving out the required numbers from a pool of 20. Of course, he had worked with nearly 40 players over the past eight months in a bid to find the perfect blend ahead of the nation’s first international engagement in 20 months.

The recent 4-0 whitewash over Kenya in the Easter Series left not only fans but also Tikolo a rather more pleased figure. “Our cricket has grown in leaps and bounds in the last eight months,” he noted.

The Kenyan legend stated the team’s greatest positive from the Series has been in strengthening the depth of the squad. “We played as a unit. It was not a one-man show,” Tikolo said while highlighting the variety of match winners against the eastern neighbours.

“Whichever player is asked to go out and do the job for the team, they put their hands. Previously, we used to depend on one or two players (Roger Mukasa and Arthur Kyobe) in the batting department. Right now, we have about six or seven players we can depend on.”

Tikolo is vindicated by the figures as Kamal Shahzad has grown to maintain a slot in the top order as backed up by his 107 runs off 114 balls in 4 innings against Kenya.

“Before we used to depend on Davis (Karashani), Frank (Nsubuga) and Charles Waiswa in the bowling department but that has changed too. There is good competition in the team so it ensures the guys will not sit on their laurels and think they have automatic slots.” Tikolo added.

Left-arm orthodox spinner Henry Ssenyondo (7/79 & 2 maidens in 23 overs) and right-arm medium pacer Jonathan Ssebanja (5/83 & 19.3 overs) got bigger dividends than the trio in four matches against Kenya.

The final selection

Team Uganda
Davis Karashani (captain), Brian Masaba (vice-captain), Arthur Kyobe, Hamu Kayondo, Roger Mukasa, Arnold Otwani, Kamal Shahzad, Frank Nsubuga, Henry Ssenyondo, Charles Waiswa, Deus Muhumuza, Jonathan Ssebanja, Irfan Sahibzada and Lawrence Ssematimba
Reserves
Naeem Bardai, Lloyd Paternott, Emmanuel Isaneez and David Wabwire

Best bastmen

East cricket series statistics
Roger Mukasa (111 off 140 in 4 innings)
Kamal Shahzad (107 off 114 in 4)
Arthur Kyobe (84 off 96 in 4)
Hamu Kayondo (74 off 129 in 4)
Emmanuel Isaneez (56 off 88 in 2)
Deus Muhumuza (53 off 64 in 2)
Derrick Bakunzi (49 off 69 in 1)

Best bowlers

East cricket series statistics
Henry Ssenyondo 
(7/79 & 2 maidens in 23 overs)
Jonathan Ssebanja 
(5/83 & 19.3 overs)
Davis Karashani 
(4/95 & 3 maidens in 29 overs)
Deus Muhumuza 
(3/27) in 7.4 overs)
David Wabwire 
(3/70 in 10 overs)
Roger Mukasa 
(2/3 & 2 maidens in 4 overs) 
Frank Nsubuga 
(2/39 & 3 maidens in 14 overs)

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

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