Arinaitwe ton ensures Uganda ends on high

 There was no wooden spoon for the Baby Cricket Cranes and more importantly no relegation to the Africa Division II as Uganda wrapped up its bittersweet campaign at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under 19 Africa World Cup Qualifier in Windhoek, Namibia on Sunday.

The last three countries on the log; fiery West Africans Sierra Leone, neighbouring arch-foes Kenya, who were at the last World Cup in 2018 New Zealand and bottom finishers Tanzania will have to go through the ignominy of playing Division II qualifiers next year to earn the right to play at this level again, in 2021.

But that consolation didn’t suffice to the many fans that were pregnant with expectation that this particular generation of U-19s would halt the wait to appear in another World Cup since the 2006 crop that played in the Sri Lanka edition.

It was a little too late for Uganda, even after Uganda mauled Tanzania by 8 wickets with a 226 balls remaining in the last round of this tense, thrilling and action-packed showpiece.

Uganda’s top order batsmen struggled for rhythm early on in the tournament and even when they got starts, they were guilty of not converting.

The only time it happened against Tanzania, coach Jackson Ogwang’s boys steamrolled their opponents Tanzania; making a mockery of their set score of 144 runs by chasing it down in just 12.2 overs.

Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who was the only player with a senior national team cap, oscillated between mediocrity and flashes of brilliance. 
A free-scoring stroke maker Arinaitwe primarily held Uganda’s key to progress because of his prior exposure.
When he muscled a 30-ball 69 against Namibia, Uganda were in dreamland but his dismissal at 74 runs in 7.2 overs signaled the end of Uganda’s hunt for the hosts set score of 250.

Remarkable debuts
Against Tanzania in what the Ugandan contingent in Windhoek termed as their ‘grande finale’, Arinaitwe showed his well-documented destructive nature with a 40-ball 102 that was littered with six boundaries and nine beautiful sixes - an innings of super timing.
Uganda’s bowling which will hardly take too much blame on this particular trip; had earlier on held fort. Opening bowler Juma Miyaji returned stellar figures of 3 for 21 in 9.3 overs and captain Frank Akankwasa’s 10-over spell of spin prized out three scalps for a measly 33 runs.

More positives
There were more positives for the Baby Cricket Cranes as Tanzania’s batsmen; Ashish Shah (40 off 91) and Aahil Jasani (28 off 56) opted to build a wall of attrition with tournament debutants; Pascal Murungi (aged 14) and Edwin Nuwagaba (aged 15), who is Arinaitwe’s younger brother, respectively snared two wickets and bowled a maiden first over in international cricket with the opponents’ innings ending in 48.3 overs.
Such was Uganda’s final flourish but it was a little too late as it will be Nigeria going to first-ever U-19 World Cup.

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Seven-wicket star Afridi, Obanda ton headline T20

In terms of results, none drifted off the script as bookmakers’ favourites KICC, Ceylon Lions, Aziz Damani and Challengers progressed to the semi-finals of the Unimoni National Twenty20 Cup on Sunday.

With that being ordinary, the expectation was that the foreign legion hired would orchestrate class act performances.
It is only Kenyan Alex Obanda who lived up to the billing for Ceylon Lions as they went past sorry Jinja SSS while Irfan Afridi too carried the headlines for KICC in their 29-run victory over Strikers.
Let’s begin with the visitor. Two years ago, Obanda came in and played for KICC who fell short to Challengers in the 2014 T20 final.

On Sunday, Obanda was here but Lions’ business and duly delivered, stroking a quick-fire century of 102 runs off 38 balls after his captain Jonathan Ssebanja chose to bat first.
Often quiet and smiling a little, Obanda enjoyed the crease with an innings littered with 12 boundaries and six maximums. “He made the job quite easy for us all and we now look forward to a team performance in the next stages,” Ssebanja noted.

When the openers fell to leave the scoreboard at 38-2 after 3.1 overs, the Kenyan international had a recovery 91-run partnership with Malindu Maduranga (42 off 24) before Varinder Singh made 61 off 24).
Lions set 267-8 despite Jinja’s Derrick Bwire picking 4-38. But rain interruption had Jinja’s target at 89 runs required in 6.3 overs.

Robinson Obuya got 32 off 19 but Varinder (2/1) had done enough to stop Jinja at 49-2. 
Meanwhile, no bowler had a better outing than Afridi who took parsimonious figures of 7/15 in four overs against Strikers at Lugogo.

The Pakistan-born player was reported by the match officials at the World Cricket League Division III match between Uganda and Denmark on November 9 in Muscat, Oman. 
And he missed the rest of the tournament. Afridi seemed to play with hunger when Strikers’ youthful batsmen attempted to chase a revised target of 152 runs.

KICC had earlier set 158-7 with Afridi making an unbeaten 31 off 34 while Frank Nsubuga made 42 off 22. 
As Afridi bowled, Derrick Bakunzi (35 off 20) and Perry Wazombe (30 off 21) had tried to withstand his wrath. In the afternoon, Kutchi Tigers flattered to deceive with the bat, hence losing by nine wickets to three-peat chasing Challengers while Aziz Damani made light work of Tornado Bee in Kyambogo.

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Arinaitwe ton lifts Uganda

Youngster Zephaniah Arinaitwe, playing with a stomach bug, threw caution to the wind and put on a batting masterstroke with a 51-ball ton of 107 runs to ensure Uganda started their three-match 50-over build-up for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III scheduled for Oman in Novermber on a winning note by six wickets.

The 17-year-old complained of stomach pains in the first innings as he kept wickets - for the second time on this tour - after captain of the day Brian Masaba had lost the toss and been asked to have a bowl.
Arinaitwe handed over the glove-work duties to left-hand opening batsman Simon Ssesazi for the rest of the innings as the hosts Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy set a commanding 269 for 4 in the allotted 50 overs at the Pietermaritzburg City Oval yesterday.

But Arinaitwe returned after the lunch break to open the innings and he batted in a ruthlessness manner - hitting everything in his range enroute to 16 boundaries and four sweetly timed sixes, and by the time he fell Uganda was just 119 runs away from victory at 151 for 2 in 16.3 overs.
“I love scoring quick,” Arinaitwe, in his ever cheerful manner told Daily Monitor. 
“Getting these centuries in quick time is what I would love to do for my country always. It gives me great joy to know that I can give my team a chance to win.” 

It was St John SS Mukono student’s sixth century of the season that has also seen him notch 197 off 66 balls last month at the Hayer StarField Tournament in Nairobi and a double-century in the Schools Cricket Week Qualifiers - a couple of months ago. 
Hamu Kayondo (78 not out off 78) and Riazat Ali Shah (53 off 39) got half centuries during the chase that saw Uganda keep the Academy Boys calm and it was fitting that captain Masaba (4* off 7 balls) got the winning runs. 
At the weekend, Uganda wrapped up its Africa T20 Cup campaign with two sensational victories against Western Province and eventual ‘Pool of Death’ winners Easterns in Group A. The team takes some rest today and will be back into the mix for another build up tomorrow.

By Innocent Ndawula

Ajmal’s trainee Raheel revels in maiden ton

Muhammad Raheel Sanwar became the third centurion of the Jazz Safari National League after he scored a ton of 107 runs to help KICC beat Patidar Samaj by 296 runs at Kyambogo Oval on Sunday.
The Pakistani-born player joined Nanji Pidoriya and Arthur Kyobe as KICC got a perfect start to their second round with a fifth win in eight matches.


“It was a fine innings,” said Raheel, who moved to Uganda three years ago after training under Pakistan international Saeed Ajmal in Faisalabad, Punjab.
“I scored about 15 centuries in Pakistan but this is my first here,” said the owner of Raheel Motors and Chop & Shop companies. “I had not trained for eight months. I decided to come back and help the team. I just played fearless cricket.” added the former Nile and Wanderers’ player, having had a 188-ball 84 against Charity the previous weekend.


After captain Hanumant Katkar opted to bat first, KICC were staring at a fourth defeat when they reeled at 16-2 after 11 minutes of their innings. 
But Raheel, in at four, first combined with Falk Sher in a third-wicket combo of 107 runs before the latter finished with 57 off 58. Raheel would later fall after amassing 10 boundaries and two maximums in a 121-ball innings.


There would have been another century from Siraje Nsubuga but his 12 fours took him as far as 99* off 92 balls and Suleman Sharif’s 53 off 30 took KICC to 378/6 - the highest league batting total in nearly a decade. 
And yet to register a win, the mountain was too steep for Patidar to climb. Sharif registered figures of 5/36 in nine overs while Katkar got 2/12 in four overs, taking off the opponents’ wheels who got bowled out for 79 in 20.2 overs. Aman Singh made 21 off 19 while Prasant top-scored with 23* off 27.

 

Jazz Safari National League

WEEKEND RESULTS
Division One

KICC 375/6 Patidar 79/10 
*(KICC won by 296 runs)
Division Two
Budo 164/8 JACC 83/10 
*(Budo won by 41 runs via D/L)
ACC 195/10 Tornado 93/10 
*(ACC won by 102 runs)
Strikers 251/10 Wanderers 137/10 
*(Strikers won by 114 runs)
Jinja SS vs. Premier
*(Match washed out in Jinja)
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