- Published in National League
The Lady Cricket Cranes side to Kigali has no less than seven players from the highly-rated Soroti Cricket Academy stable.
Coach Michael Grace Ndiko and Ivan Kakande's Lady Cricket Cranes side will be looking to win only their third Kwibuka title. The tournament was initiated by the Rwanda Cricket Association in 2014.
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
Barbara Mukankusi was one of the pioneer figures of the national women’s team in 2001 and actually is the last standing player from that first-ever assembled unit.
However, in recent years, nature’s call forced Mukankusi to sit aside and following the birth of her third child in 2017, she is back to the national fold.
The top-order batter was named among the 40-man squad that is set for early preparations for the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers from May 8-13 in Zimbabwe. “Of late, I have been playing locally but internationally, I last played in 2016,” said Mukankusi.
The veteran’s basis for her selection is the decent batting figures she posted as Pioneer came close to a second Jazz Safari National Women’s League title last year.
“I wanted Pioneer to win the league last year and that’s why I played the way I did. I am only glad the selectors still see potential in me,” stated Mukankusi.
Mukankusi, led the teams for years, reckons there is work to do even if she has history and figures to back her up. “I played last season minus practice because of the busy work schedule and family and we had no coach (at Pioneer),” she said. “(Now) national team comes with full package, coach, I must attend training and so on. I will gain much from this and improve on my performance.”
The training sessions which commence on Monday will have two groups trained in Jinja by Habib Mugalula and at Lugogo by Micheal Ndiko.
The composition is eight from Sixes Challenge champions Olila High, Jinja SSS has seven in, League and T20 queens Aziz Damani have six players as is Soroti Challengers. Olila High School’s Damalie Busingye, too, returns after three-year lull.
FULL TRAINING SQUAD
Rita Musamali, Janet Mbabazi, Rachael Ntono, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Joyce Mary Apio, Stephanie Nampiina, Franklyn Najjumba, Gertrude Candiru, Kevin Awino, Consy Aweko, Carol Namugenyi, Patricia Malemikia, Esther Ilukor, Damalie Busingye, Evelyn Ayipo, Irene Alumo, Leona Babirye, Teddy Ayella, Maria Kagoya, Kevin Amuge, Barbara Mukankusi, Janet Nakiranda, Hope Wanichan, Claire Mushakamba, Mackenzie Ayato, Proscovia Alako, Gloria Obukor, Eunice Alungat, Brenda Nabisalu, Lynet Nakato, Patricia Munguryek, Maria Mwesige, Racheal Achan, Sarah Walaza, Sarah Akiteng, Susan Kakai, Saddick Shakira, Mary Akello, Charity Nyokaru, Eunice Kobusingye Coaches: Habibu Mugalula (Jinja), Micheal Ndiko (Lugogo)