- Published in International Competitions
Team Abagurusi showed that old is golden, indeed, when they took an assured series 1-0 lead against Team Kisementi after scripting a six-run triumph over the latter at the University Oval in Kyambogo on February 9.
The build-up to the clash that saw a return of many yesteryears’ superstars to the oval for the first time in eons was dominated with a war of words between two camps as the players plotted to oust each other.
And although the younger Team Kisementi, comprising of corporates and previous league players, were the odds-on favourites to win series opener, Team Abagurusi rendered the pundits’ predictions useless as they stunned their foes in the charity themed friendly battle.
Peter Sawyer fell seven runs short of a deserved half century but his 38-ball-43 stood out as Abagurusi set 136 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. Openers Norman Batanda (13 off 11), Robert Kisubi (19 off 38) and captain Latimer Mukasa (18 off 17) also reached double figures as slow bowler Allan Ssematimba registered impressive figures of 3 for 4 in 2 overs for Kisementi to restrict Abagurusi’s piling on a bigger score.
Needing to move at 6.8 runs per over to win, all looked like smooth sailing for Team Kisementi with Paul Kaheru (41 runs off 36 balls) still out in the middle. But when he was clean bowled by William Kibukamusoke (1/30) in the 10th over, the wheels came off Kisementi’s chase.
Derrick Buwembo, who had earlier put in a good fielding shift, blossomed with 22-ball 17 and Cyrus Kibukamusoke added 10 off 2 balls (one six and one four) but it was a little too late as Kisementi run out of overs with three wickets in hand.
Former Uganda all-rounder Andrew Othieno with figures of 3 for 11 in four overs was chief destroyer of Kisementi as his spell played a pivotal role in ensuring Abagurusi carry the day.
Stopping the celebrations
But Kisementi captain Elly Kibuka Mukasa aka Sober said it was early days in the series for the Abagurusi to brag about anything. “This is going to be a long series. You cannot afford to celebrate now in a seven-match series,” said Mukasa. “We also played hospitable to our elders. We wanted to motivate them to come back. But again, they wanted to win more than we did. Our body language in the field was poor and I call upon my players to start training so that they’re better when we meet next month.
Abagurusi captain Latimer Mukasa termed the day as a ‘perfect outing’ and urged the Bagurusi to stay fresh for what he said ‘will be an exciting series that will last the distance’.
Daily Monitor has also learnt that the organisers of the series, which will ride along a charity theme, are in advanced talks with another social group within the fraternity to increase the teams participating in the series from two to either three or four in a bid to make the series more involving and exciting.
ABARUSI - KISEMENTI SERIES
Results – Game One of Seven (Feb 9)
Abagurusi 136/7 Kisementi 130/7
Abagurusi won by 6 runs
MATCH DAY SQUADS
Team Abagurusi: Norman Batanda, Robert Kisubi, Peter Sawyer, Latimer Mukasa, Andrew Othieno, Kaushik Kuldeep, William Kibukamusoke, Abu Mayanja, Paul Nsibuka Luswata, Paul Ayo, Michael Nuwagaba, Steven Lumonya, George Ndiko
Team Kisementi: John Trust Mayeku, Paul Kaheru, Daniel Ligyalingi, Elly Kibuka Mukasa, Bashir Ansasiira, Nicholas Kebba, Derrick Buwembo, Robert Mukobe, Cyrus Kibukamusoke, Fred Lutaaya, Dunstan Nsubuga Kamunvi
Friendly tours are not all about winning. But in sport, winning is, most of the time, everything. And if results are anything to go by on this Bilateral Cricket Series, Uganda can count themselves victors since they have triumphed over the senior men’s Qatar side twice after four games.
The East Africans blemish has been the two losses to the Qatar President’s XI – a mixture of the emerging players, senior squadsmen and those yet to make the grade to represent the gulf nation.
But in all four games played, Steve Tikolo’s boys have acquainted themselves well and run the opposition close even the lost matches as justified by the 13-run and 12-run loss in Game One (Twenty20) and Game Four (45-Over rubber) respectively.
Brand of cricket
Captain Roger Mukasa and his brigade have won over some local fans along the way for their never-give-up attitude and brand of cricket.
But all that could count for nothing in the eyes of the partisan fans back at home if the Cricket Cranes don’t seal the initiative in the tour-ending Twenty20 match at the Asian Town International Cricket Stadium today.
“We want to win,” said Mukasa without thinking twice. “But even if we lose, we want to do so after doing the basics right and playing to the team strategy. We have a big squad here and the coach wants everyone to put in a good number of games under their belt.”
Qatar National Sports Day
The series decider happens on a public holiday for the natives dubbed – The Qatar National Sports Day – held annually on the second Tuesday in February, with the main objective of promoting a healthy lifestyle among its population and celebrate the Qatar’s bid that earned the right to host the Fifa 2022 World Cup.
“Expect a good crowd at the stadium and expect fierce competition from us. We want to show our crowd that we can do well in the ICC World T20 Regional Qualifiers scheduled for Kuwait in April,” said Qatar captain Inam Ul-Haq.
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.
Deus Muhumuza wrapped up the stiff chase of 186 with an upper cut shot for six over the third-man region as Uganda delivered a knockout out blow to defeat Kenya by six wickets and go 3-0 in the Easter Series at Lugogo Cricket Oval yesterday.
There is still a game to be played by the friendly foes at Lugogo today but it will be a dead rubber with Kenya only seeking to salvage their dented pride with a consolation win.
Bowling all-rounder Muhumuza (23 off 19 balls) may have hit the winning runs but if it had been a boxing match he could as well have been an undercard fighter on the day.
The two main antagonists that took the fight to the Kenyan bowling and successfully wrestled the match from them were stylish stroke-maker Roger Mukasa and left-hander Shahzad Kamal.
Mukasa opened up early cuts (read chinks) in the Kenyan bowling arsenal with a boundary-filled 30-ball 43 and was unlucky not to reach the half-century landmark after one delivery from Kenya skipper Shem Obado Ngoche (1/46 in 5) kept low and disturbed his furniture.
But by the time Mukasa walked back to the dugout, the scoreboard was reading 74 for 3 in 9.1 overs and he had set a very good platform for his teammates to smoother along without the pressure of a steep run-rate.
Kamal, who ended unbeaten on a matching winning 75 off 55 balls, dug deep with skipper Davis Karashani (19 off 25) running hard between the wickets and picking the odd boundary in sensible fashion to avoid a twist in the tail.
And even when Karashani’s powerful cut short was caught at point by World Cup hero Collins Obuya, it was a little too late for the Kenyans as Uganda needed 58 runs to win from 62 balls – but more importantly with at least a handful of power hitters yet to bat.
“Once again the guys have showed that they can execute what they do in practice,” said Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo, who is coincidentally a Kenyan legend.
“We have been practicing situations like this. But to go 3-up in the series also shows that there is maturity in the side and the team is hungry to deliver and make the combinations work.”
Kenya assistant coach Peter Ongondo was full of praise for Uganda. “Before, Uganda used to play boundary cricket. But now their batsmen are willing to bat for long spells. We have also been awed by their togetherness and teamwork. We came here to teach the Ugandans but we are also learning something,” said the former Kenya opening bowler.
Earlier before the heavens opened, Kenya was coasting along nicely on 165/4 in 36.5 overs with Irfan Karim (65* off 116), Dhiren Gondaria (50 off 42) and Obuya (37 off 48) contributing handsomely.
The rain interruption, though, could not allow them to proceed with their innings and had the match umpires ask Uganda to chase 186 in 27 overs after Duckworth and Lewis Method (D/L Method) calculations – a test they duly passed with flying colours.
By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE