Team Abagurusi bag opener but series set to grow into three-franchise affair

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

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Mukankusi returns to Lady Cricket Cranes ahead of Africa Tournament

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)

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Ssesaazi, Arinaitwe lead batting charge, Damani off to a flyer

The race for slots on the senior national team to represent Uganda at the ICC Africa Men’s Twenty20 Qualifier due May will go down to the wire. 
And the UCA Men’s Twenty20 Divisional Tournament is the yardstick for that, then selectors are up for a headache while players are in for a pretty exciting and tight battle.

There is no batsman or bowler who wants to be left out for that showpiece that will be staged on home soil for two months. On Sunday, the run scorers went big and sent out a loud message to the selectors with many crossing the half-ton mark.
Pakistan-born Wasim Butt continued with the form as he made a quick-fire 56 off 28 to guide KICC to a morning 31-run victory over Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo Oval.

The double was complete for KICC, making it three wins in four tournament matches when left-hander Simon Ssesaazi struck a near-accurate half-century of 61 runs in the afternoon seven-wicket triumph over the Tigers.
“This is just the beginning,” said Ssesaazi. He recently made 244 runs in four innings, enough to emerge as best batsman for Uganda on their Sanjay Cricket Farm Tour in India last month.
“I am working hard to get a place on the national team. Then I hope I can keep it and we take it on from there but this is just the start,” added the top-order batsman.

Tigers had 109-9 with Nandikishor Patel making 36 off 31. Patel’s teammates had struggled to negotiate the bowling spells of Lawrence Ssempijja (3/16) and Irfan Afridi (3/17).
The chase was made easy by Ssesaazi, him making five boundaries and two sixes. Another new KICC signing Deus Muhumuza, also returning from India, fired 30 off 33.

“We are disciplined,” KICC skipper Hanumant Katkar stated. “I am happy that some of our players are really performing well,” he added.
The fire didn’t stop there. Left-handers Arthur Kyobe (52 off 27) and Arnold Otwani (45 off 46) punished SKLPS to help Challengers to a morning 108-run morning victory in Kyambogo. In the afternoon, Zephaniah Arinaitwe fired 66 off 39 whereas Kamal Shahzad struck 59 off 26 enroute to setting 239-4, enough to coast to a 158-run victory. Challengers are at 3-1 for the season.

Division one - cricket league

KICC 160/6 Kutchi Tigers 129/7
(KICC won by 31 runs)
Kutchi Tigers 109/9 KICC 115/3
(KICC won by 7 wickets)
Aziz Damani 183/6 Tornado Bees 99/7
(Aziz Damani won by 84 runs)

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Omtex promise more support to Uganda Cricket Association

When Team Uganda made their first-ever trip to India in 2018, they knew nothing about Vijay Patel and his healthy-sport clothing company Omtex.
All they knew was Sanjay Farm’s Swetal Desai who had extended an Olive Branch to Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) through Roger Mukasa and Charles Waiswa whom he had seen playing their trade for the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) XI in 2017.
The brand of cricket displayed by the two senior Cricket Cranes players while in Andhra Pradesh bowled Swetal, who asked the duo to extend a follow-up invitation to UCA.
But when Uganda made its maiden tour they won over more lovers, because of the fearless brand of cricket played with verve and skill, including Vijay.
This relationship between the two (UCA and Omtex) yielded quick fruits with the clothing company designing the current national stripe that is predominantly yellow, a warm-up kit that primarily red and black track-suit with red-stripes.

Good partnership
As a thank you, Omtex gifted UCA, 70 pieces of travelling shirts that national teams that have used as official wear since.
On Uganda’s second visit this year, Uganda has benefitted more from the partnership with Omtex, who provided a set of jerseys, sun-hats and caps for the team to use while on tour. Vijay also offered a set of fielding gloves and a coach from his set-up to tutor the team and six Under 19 players that stayed back in India for extra 15 days (Feb 24 – March 12) in a boot camp. 
“I want to do more to help Uganda develop as a cricket nation,” said Vijay Patel who also gave designer camouflage jackets to Uganda’s best performers on the tour including 16-year-old Juma Miyagi (18 wickets) and batsman Arnold Otwani.
“Maybe in future we grow this partnership to a level where we give you kits bags, fielding kits and training jersey as well as other equipment.”
On a light note, Vijay finished as the best bowler in a Mumbai Corporate League (Agent Jack’s Cup) that his club partakes in.
The six U-19 players in India are scheduled to return just in time for a flight to the World Cup Qualifiers in Windhoek on March 15.

Unimoni T20 Cup quarters Contenders out to lay claim

Aziz Damani’s 100 percent record enroute to the Jazz Safari National League crown earlier this year certainly did not go down well with the rest of the clubs.

Sport hates dominance. With Damani up the throats of many having won the men and women’s limited-overs’ titles plus the Mehta Twenty20 Premier League, a rare sweep beckons.

That’s if they win the Unimoni National Twenty20 Cup which is at the quarterfinal stage now.

However, with the overwhelming yet unusual deployment of foreign stars by other teams, Damani will have their work cut out.
The league champions Damani face a bitter rival in Tornado Bee at the University Oval in Kyambogo this afternoon in a familiar T20 quarterfinal. Specks of bother about Damani come with their record that has seen them play a final and two semi-finals in the last three editions.
“Our goal is to first get into the final then we take it from there,” Damani’s vice captain Brian Masaba stated. “Tornado Bee is hurting and they can be a dangerous side so we are not taking anything for granted.”

Damani has Jamaican Javian McFarlane available but Tornado Bee has recalled Kenyan old guards Obuya brothers Collins and David to back up Roger Mukasa, Deus Muhumuza and Australian Mitch Horrocks among others. “T20 has not been our hunting ground over the years. But there is a chance to fight for silverware this season,” said Tornado Bee captain Jeremy Kibuukamusoke. “We have lost a bit of our thunder but the team with the most perfect strategy on the day will win,” he added.

Over the years, no side has executed better T20 strategies than holders Challengers who are on course to make a three-peat and four title in five years. Having finished second in Group A behind KICC, they now face stubborn Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo this afternoon.

Short code exponents
And they are not taking any chances. Club proprietor Mohammed Vaheed has brought in experienced Zimbabwean ODI players in captain Hamilton Masakadza and Timycen Maruma.

Also, Indian Abdulahad Malik of India Premier League (IPL) franchise Rasthajan Royals is here. “We are going for a treble implying a bigger task on our hands and we have great inclusions,” opening batsman Arthur Kyobe disclosed.

Kyobe is set to open with Hamu Kayondo. Malik, who boasts of the highest ever fourth wicket partnership (202*) with Manpreet Juneja will bat at three and Masakadza is expected to walk in at four. Tigers’ captain Alphesh Hirani remained tight-lipped but they have quietly brought in India-born Kenyans and retain a livewire in Dinesh Nakrani and 2015 winning captain Ankit Patel in their ranks.

The foreign legion doesn’t stop because after topping Group B, Ceylon Lions are now interested in the silverware and have brought in a Sri Lankan and Kenyan Alex Obanda to face Jinja SSS at Kyambogo this morning. In Lugogo, two-time finalists KICC are banking on high-flying batsmen Wassim Butt and Suleman Sharif when they meet explosive and brave youngsters of Strikers.

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Cricket Cranes to make light weather of Oman

Team Uganda have calmly settled into the Arabian Peninsula of Oman ahead of their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III campaign.

With Uganda set to play its opening match on Friday (November 9), Uganda Cricket Association chairman Bashir ‘Badu’ Ansasiira worked his magic to send the Cricket Cranes for at least four days of acclimatization here in Muscat.

All seems to be going according to plan for the team based at the five-star City Seasons Hotel as the team continues with preparation and adapting programme.

“We are grateful to Mr Khimji Kanak the director of KR Group here in Oman who has hosted and ensured our desire to acclimatize becomes a reality,” said Jackson Kavuma, the Cricket Cranes Team Manager.

“He has taken care of a large chunk of our logistics to ensure that we have a decent place to put our heads and also access training facilities. This preparation is priceless as the team embarks on a tough but possible mission.”

The Cricket Cranes arrived in Muscat in the wee-hours of Monday morning, had a cardio session including gym, swimming and stretching at the hotel’s rooftop pool and did shake off the jet-lag proper yesterday with fully-fledged training session at OC Turf for two hours.

The season is winter here but doesn’t differ too much from that of Uganda with the conditions hot and air staying dry. The team will continue to adapt before taking on Denmark and USA on two back-to-back days (Friday and Saturday).

Acclimatizing. ItThe Cricket Cranes arrived in Muscat in the wee-hours of Monday morning, had a cardio session including gym, swimming and stretching at the hotel’s rooftop pool and did shake off the jet-lag proper yesterday with fully-fledged training session at OC Turf for two hours.

By Innocent Ndawula

Olila beat Pioneer to edge closer to title

Olila High School bolstered their chances for a maiden crown in the Jazz Safari National Women’s League after they beat direct rivals Pioneer by five wickets in Entebbe on Saturday.
 Oila, T20 champions a year ago, are courting league success after they wrapped up their five matches of the season with a sounding win to keep top of the six-team log.

 “It was good,” Olila’s team manager Felix Musana said after Olila inflicted first season defeat on Pioneer. “We executed as per our game plan and we are close enough to the title,” he said.  
 Pioneer, champions in 2015, had won all their opening three matches but fell in Entebbe and could mathematically be out of the title race after a rather below-par batting show.
 With Olila opting to field after winning the toss, Pioneer struggled to match the task at hand with skipper Barbara Mukankusi making 26 runs off 78 balls.

 As wickets fell under Joyce Mary Apio’s (5/23) command, Kenyan Quentoor Abel held Pioneer’s innings with an unbeaten knock of 33 runs off 46 before they were bowled out for 125 runs in 41.4 overs.
 Now Olila smartly chased the target with Esther Ilukor (29 off 27) and Sarah Akiteng (23 off 48) batting into their own favour. Abel had put up some resistance (2/30) with the ball but Olila was home at 126-5 in 28.1 overs. 
 Olila finished their season top with 23 points from five outings and Pioneer (16) in second can’t reach that target even if they win their last game.

Notwithstanding Jinja’s Claire Mukashamba’s 52* off 68, Damani relied on a half-ton from Margaret Banja (52 off 71) and an all-round show from Immaculate Nakisuyi (20 off 12 and 3/15) to take their tally to 12 points after three games.
 It means Damani must win their remaining two matches with bonus points to be champions or elsewhere, Olila’s tally is enough.

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