Cricket Cranes coach Tikolo preaches belief

It has been eons since Uganda either last scored runs in the excess of 250 or chased down targets of 260 plus in a competitive game.
Uganda’s game, especially with the bat, was all about giving deliveries either a gung-ho or dead-straight bat approach.
In such a scenario, it was either hitting out of trouble and hope luck stays on your side or just playing delivers, especially those from spin bowlers, with a dead straight bat in fear of crumbling or losing wickets.
The art of grafting had been heard of but never applied because it wasn’t in Ugandans’ DNA. And local batsmen’s way of playing was suicidal and not productive over consistent games.

But on Steve Tikolo’s Second Coming as Uganda coach, he has worked overtime to find a formula to Uganda’s batting madness. And although the Cricket Cranes remain a work in progress, the results are starting show.
“We can compete with these sides (foreign franchises) on daily basis and even beat them if we believe in our process,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor after the Cricket Cranes picked up their third win - a six-wicket win over Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy - on this ongoing Tour of South Africa on Monday.

“We have the talent in our side to finish off games clinically with calculated risks. The guys have got to continue playing to their strengths and execute the game plans. Hard work is a must in this game of cricket.”
Uganda play their sixth game against KZN franchise today and will be eager to continue making hay as they prepare for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III showpiece scheduled for this November in Oman.

By Innocent Ndawula

Teenage centurion Alungat dreams of playing for Lady Cricket Cranes

For a cricketer, a century is a big milestone for a batsman as is a hat-trick or maiden career wicket for a bowler. At Soroti Light Secondary School, Eunice Alungat is on cloud nine after her first ton.

The teenager now regrets less about giving cricket time after she made 114 runs not out as her side Soroti Challengers bossed opponents JACC enroute a 259-run victory at Jinja Oval on Saturday.
“I felt good,” the 17-year-old said. “…because it had never happened in life to me as a batter,” the right-hander offered.

Alungat only began playing cricket in Senior Two (2015). And that’s the last time a century happened in women’s cricket.
There will be little wonder if Alungat pursues a cricket career after she has completed her Geography, Economics and Art studies next year. “My dream is to play for Uganda’s national team as I am inspired by Joyce Mary Apio and Naome Kayondo,” she says. Kayondo is one of the nine other lady cricketers to ever score a ton in Uganda’s history.

Now opener Alungat will feel she is on the right track after she made 14 boundaries in her knock off 110 balls in 40 overs. “I was patient,” she said. Alungat is the only non-national team player to score a ton, much to her coach Ivan Kakande’s delight.
“She is one of the talented girls in the set-up and a good listener who enjoys the game,” Kakande said of the gem.

 

ALUNGAT AT A GLANCE 
Full name: Eunice Alungat
Date of birth: December 18, 2000
Age: 17
School: Soroti Light SS
Club: Soroti Challengers
Class: Senior 5
Combination: GEA/ICT
Started playing: 2015
Batting style: Right-hand
Bowling: Right-arm slow
Best batting figures: 114 runs not out

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Cricket Cranes captain Mukasa welcomes Africa T20 Cup invite

Cricket Cranes skipper Roger Mukasa says playing in the revamped Africa Twenty20 Cup will give Uganda a ‘priceless’ chance to get international exposure ahead of the Division III International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) in Oman this November.
“We are looking at this opportunity as a priceless one to play against the best franchises in South Africa,” said Mukasa when news filtered in that tournament organisers Cricket South Africa (CSA) had officially announced Uganda as the replacements for Ghana.
The West Africans cited logistical reasons as their notion for pulling out of the expanded 2018/19 Africa T20 Cup which is set to take place in September with the preliminary round on September 14-16 followed by the finals’ weekend on September 23-24.
“We are going to face the best bowlers on the continent and our seamers are going to have to do well against proven hitters of the ball. This will help us improve on our bowling at the death and improving our power-hitting especially in the powerplays,” added Mukasa. Uganda join other African nations including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia in the competition. 
The Cricket Cranes are in Pool A alongside KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns, Western Province and KwaZulu-Natal Coastal. 
The exciting T20 action will take place in 4 coastal venues in Pietermaritzburg, Oudtshoorn, East London and Paarl featuring 12 CSA Affiliates, 3 Associate Members and 5 ICC Africa teams taking place over two thrilling weekends of T20 cricket.
“We are glad Uganda are in because they’re a capable replacement. This event will provide the ideal opportunity for them to test themselves against some of the best young cricketers on the continent. I know Uganda will be ready to compete, and we are excited as we wait for the highly anticipated competition to get underway,” said ICC Africa Development Officer Justine Ligyalingi. Uganda will remain in South Africa following the conclusion of the Africa T20 Cup to play 50-over warm-up matches against KwaZulu-Natal Inland and the South African Academy respectively.

POOLS - AFRICA TWENTY20 CUP

Pool A - Pietermaritzburg: 
KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns, 
KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, Uganda and 
Western Province.
Pool B – Oudtshoorn: 
South Western Districts, Free State, 
Gauteng, Northerns and Zimbabwe;
Pool C – East London: 
Border, Eastern Province, Kenya, 
Mpumalanga and Namibia
Pool D – Paarl: 
Boland, Limpopo, Nigeria, Northern Cape 
and North West.

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Lady Cricket Cranes brace for biggest job

The start for women’s cricket in Uganda was quite slow when Susan Luswata took on a handful of girls back in 2001.

Nearly two decades later, the senior women’s national women’s team is now set to grace the grand stage of the game.
Yesterday, the Lady Cricket Cranes were flagged for their biggest assignment ever to Netherlands for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier due July 7-14.

“It is a privilege to be here and we are ready to take on this big chance,” skipper Kevin Awino, said moments after receiving the flag from National Council of Sports general secretary David Katende and former Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) board member Jackson Kavuma.

This moment could have come earlier for Uganda but the nation had lived in the shadow of Zimbabwe and Namibia for long.

Ranked
But now ranked second behind South Africa on the continent and 18th overall in the ICC global standings, there is all optimism heading to Netherlands.

“I believe we have done enough and we are ready to mingle with the big sides,” offered star player Gertrude Candiru who was MVP when Uganda won the Africa T20s last September to earn the Dutch ticket.

The country’s preparations had the Lady Cricket Cranes whitewash Tanzania 6-0 away and as well won the Zimbabwe T20 Women’s tourney in May.

The story is sweeter even with long-serving members like Franklyn Najjumba, Consy Aweko and Carol Namugenyi in the side that will face Scotland, 2016 Qualifier champions Ireland and Thailand in Group B at the eight-nation tournament.

The top two face those from Group A that includes Bangladesh, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and UAE in the semi-finals with the tournament finalists qualifying for the Women’s T20 World Cup in West Indies come November.

Coach Francis Otieno has a chance to blend that experience with youth exuberance that comprises Candiru, Ritah Musamali, Joyce Mary Apio and Immaculate Nakisuyi.

“We are going to represent the whole of Africa and we want to do it well even if it is our first time here,” assistant captain Janet Mbabazi said.

Uganda’s trip to Europe was bankrolled by MTN with Shs5m and support from the India Association of Uganda, among other individuals including a $1000 promise from UCA board member Hanumant Katkar.

Team Uganda: Kevin Awino (Captain), Janet Mbabazi (Assistant Captain), Gertrude Candiru, Rachael Ntono, Consy Aweko, Carol Namugenyi, Franklyn Najjumba, Saidat Kemigisha, Mary Nalule, Rita Musamali, Stephannie Nampiina, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Joyce Mary Apio, Prico Nakitende 
Non-travelling reserves: Evelyn Anyipo, Irene Alumo

Officials: Francis Otieno Ndege (Coach), Grace Mutyagaba (Assistant Coach), Lydia Bakumpe (Manager), Mary Makumbi (Head of Delegation), Hanumant Katkar (UCA Board Member).

ICC WOMEN’S WORLD T20 QUALIFIER 
WARM-UP
July 5: UAE vs. Uganda, VCC 
UGANDA FIXTURES
July 7: Scotland vs. Uganda, VRA
July 8: Uganda vs. Thailand, Kampong
July 10: Ireland vs. Uganda, VRA
July 12: Semi-finals
July 14: Final

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Cricket Cranes have no room for error

Mathematically, it stays in Uganda’s reach to grab one of the two spots at stake to progress through to the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Qualifier scheduled for early next year.
Realistically nothing is a given in sport as upsets remain part of the script whatever the discipline. The Cricket Cranes are in a position where they’re the best to justify this after Tanzania stunned them by six wickets on Wednesday.
One win from their last two games could be just enough for them considering their healthy Net Run Rate (NRR) but they must avoid leaving it late.
Hosts Rwanda will be in their faces seeking their first win of the Africa ‘B’ Qualifier and if their courageous show against Kenya is anything to go by, then Uganda should brace themselves for a hungry and ambitious rival.
“It is always important for the guys to play without fear and to always apply themselves. They must believe in their abilities and look to execute game plans,” Rwanda coach Martin Suji, Uganda’s former coach, said ahead of his second meeting with ex-teammate Steve Tikolo.

T20 AFRICA ‘B’ QUALIFIER

Today’s fixtures in Gahanga
Tanzania vs. Kenya, 10.30am
Rwanda vs. Uganda, 2.50pm
Points Table After Match Day 4

 

 
By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Majestic Cricket Cranes

KUALA LUMPUR.

Blood brothers Frank Nsubuga and Roger Mukasa were easily the standout players as Uganda edged Jersey by seven runs to scoop the Division IV International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.
Victory also ensured Uganda’s new status as a Division III nation - a privilege they enjoyed last year before getting demoted after their no-show in Kampala.
In a game replayed because of Saturday’s thunderstorm-strewn rain downpour at the National University (UKM-YSD) Oval, Uganda managed only 90 runs on a wicket that was slow and turning square.
Former U-19 skipper Kenneth Waiswa (34 off 63) and Riazat Ali Shah (22 off 60), who featured in a solid sixth-wicket partnership of 60 runs, alongside Nsubuga (13 off 23) showed immense maturity to reach double figures on the tricky surface as Jersey’s slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Stevens 4 for 22 enjoyed a perfect day in office.
The low score left Uganda’s dug out under pressure and they were seen pressing hard their calculators and spreadsheets to find out what they needed to stay alive in what has been a cut-throat competition. 
Knowing they needed to bowl at least 20.3 overs before Jersey reached the target 91 to consolidate the No.2 position on the log and make certain promotion to the Division III tier, captain Mukasa unleashed his quartet of spinners including himself to do damage control.
Mystery leg-spinner Irfan Afridi (1/23) and left-armer Henry Ssenyondo (1/29) bowled parsimonious spells but it was Nsubuga and Mukasa, who blew them away like a Tornado.
Nsubuga, who was adjudged Man of Match (MoM), spun cobwebs around the Channel Islanders to return immense figures of 4 for 20 in 10 overs including four maidens to leave the opposition struggling at 47 for 6 just after lunch. 
His younger sibling Mukasa mobbed up the tail-enders with magical figures of 3 for 7 in 4 overs with the last man given out LBW on 83 all out to give Uganda an unexpected but deserving seven-run win in the low-scoring thriller.
Coach Steve Tikolo and his brigade return this afternoon at Entebbe Airport aboard Emirates and the cricket fraternity is set to give the latest sports heroes a fitting reception.

ICC WCL DIVISION IV

Yesterday’s results
Uganda 90/10 Jersey 83/10
Uganda won by 7 runs

Malaysia 257/ Bermuda 168/9
Malaysia won by 89 runs

By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Cricket Cranes continue to make hay in Gujarat

UGANDA’S TOUR OF INDIA
Seven Match Series in Chikhil
Surat City – Gujarat State
GAME 1
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Uganda 129/6 beat ND Warriors XI 75/9 
by 54 runs (with 32 balls remaining)
*Man Of Match: Deus Muhumuza
GAME 2
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Skipper XI Gujarat 108 all out in 19.2 overs
lost to Uganda 112 for 4 in 17.3 overs by six
wickets with 15 balls remaining.
*Man Of Match: Simon Ssesazi

CHIKHIL. India and Qatar are worlds apart in every inch of the phrase. Whereas Qatar remains on track of becoming a first world country, India is gnawing as a third-world nation.

But the latter make up for what they don’t have in infrastructure by being the No.1 cricketing nation in the world, something Qatar may never achieve in eons.

The Cricket Cranes, too, are gradually taking the baby steps and showing that they can adapt and survive in both worlds – the high-end of Doha and lowlife in Gujarat.

From an impressive shift on the national team’s maiden visit to the oil-rich nation, Steve Tikolo’s troops have showed no signs of fatigue after settling into the remote but beautiful Sanjay Farm in Chikhil which is 225 kilometers from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai.

Two games down the road, the Cricket Cranes have not only excited the locals with a free-spirt brand of cricket as justified by the numbers that keep trickling in to watch but have also picked up satisfactorily if not convincing victories. All-rounder Deus Muhumuza mixed hard-running and clean hitting on his way to a Man of Match (MOM) innings of 35 runs as Uganda breezed to a 54-run win on the Tour to India’s opening Twenty20 match against ND Warriors XI.

Uganda set 129 and then bowled out the hosting side for 75 thanks to a brilliant spell of 3 wickets for 5 runs in 4 overs from debutant Dinesh Nakrani.
In the afternoon on Friday, Simon Ssesazi flourished with a chanceless half century of 51 as Uganda secured a six-wicket win against Skipper XI Gujarat in the second Twenty20 match at the Shri Mohanlal Desai Cricket Ground (Sanjay Farm).

The 21-year-old left-hand batsman featured in a 44-run match-changing partnership with Nakrani (15) as Uganda chased down 107 and duly deserved his MOM award – the second on this 16-day long tour.

“The guys are starting to realise their roles,” said coach Tikolo. “But we are still not yet hitting our set targets. We were ran close in these two games and I have told the guys that we can do a lot better. We need to pump ourselves for the remaining games.”

By press-time Uganda were taking on a much-polished Surat Cricket Association U-19 side, whose players feature for the Gujarat State U-19 side – a straight feeder to the India U-19 outfit that has just won the ICC Junior World Cup down under in New Zealand.

The team will play three more Limited Over matches and one Twenty20 before they return home on February 23.

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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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