Damani dominance in air after winning T20 title

Ugandan sport has witnessed spells where teams dominate different disciplines. 
The SC Villa of the 1980s’ stands out. The good old Falcons and today’s City Oilers will be remembered for years in men’s basketball.

Tornado Bee had its share a few years ago in club cricket but something bigger could be brewing.
Yet again, Aziz Damani Masaka Cricket Club was at the top of the podium after the ladies clinched their maiden Mehta Twenty20 Premier League title on Saturday.

Only four years old, Damani has swept all accolades on offer on the men’s front bar the T20 title and for the women’s team formed a year ago, the tree is dropping fruits faster than expected. On Saturday, Damani ably chased a target of 103 runs to stop Olila High School from retaining the T20 crown in the final washed by a sizeable number of fans at Lugogo Oval. “Today is our day,” Damani CEO Siva Koti would say at the podium, moments before captain Gertrude Candiru lifted the trophy in company of teammates.

As Right Said Fred’s famous Stand up for the champions played at 6:04pm, the imagination of a firm grip by Damani on Uganda’s cricket would sink in.

Damani’s men are on course to retain the topflight title following six successive wins. 
And for the ladies, coach Yusuf Nanga has laid firm foundation with students from Masaka SS and now blends with stars like Teddy Oyella, Kenyan experience, stars captain Candiru and Immaculate Nakisuyi.

The tournament cusp belonged to Nakisuyi. In the final, she first picked figures of 3/10 as they stopped 2017 winners Olila at 102-9 majorly thanks to Esther Iloku (34 off 32) and Gloria Obukor (19 off 23). With the bat, Nakisuyi showed a fine glimpse of the future by top-scoring with a pivotal 30 runs off 19 balls including three boundaries and a six.

Kenyan import Sarah Bhakita stood out as well with a 22-ball 24 as her experience came to the fore when Olila’s cast forgot the basics under pressure.

Damani were home in 16.2 overs, sparking off celebrations accompanied with Shs1m and as many packs of sugar from sponsors Mehta.

“We tried to play out all our 20 overs,” said winning coach Nanga. “It is important that we have won here which inspires our feeder team, ” he added.

WOMEN’S T20 LEAGUE RESULTS
FINAL
Olila High 102/9 Aziz Damani 106/6 
(Aziz Damani won by 5 wickets)
SEMIFINALS 
KICC 89/9 Olila High 90/1
(Olila High won by 9 wickets)
Aziz Damani 129/7 Pioneer 91/6
(Aziz Damani by 35 runs)

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Jungle fight in Lugogo as Lions, Tigers face-off in Jazz Safari League

Having endured a torrid outing at the ICC World Cricket League Division IV event in Malaysia, Simon Ssesaazi reminded everyone of his batting potential last weekend.

He was ruthless against fellow Cricket Cranes’ players Riazat Ali and brother Henry Ssenyondo enroute to a 77-run-a-ball half-ton but it was not enough as his club Ceylon Lions lost to holders Aziz Damani by 95 runs in Lugogo. That third loss in four Jazz Safari National League matches could be vividly seen in Ssesaazi’s eyes after producing the best batting show on the day.

“We need to act,” the left-hand opener lamented ahead of today’s match against Kutchi Tigers at the same venue. 
“We need to just work on a few improvements, avoid giving away cheap wickets then build partnerships,” he said of his fellow top-order batsmen Eddie Agaba, Arnold Otwan, Varinder Singh, Lawrence Ssempijja and Jonathan Ssebanja.

But Tigers lost their last tie to KICC after an unmatchable display by Davis Karashani (74 off 70 and 3/31 in 8.1 overs) a fortnight ago in Lugogo.

So as Lions bid to roar, Tigers will equally want to be counted in the Lugogo jungle with the backing of Indian trio of Aezaz Kothariya, Devendra Poriya and Sachin Mevada.
Arup Kerai is another weapon for Alphesh Hirani’s team that will looking for a fourth win in six outings.

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

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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Damani eye revenge in face of T20 cricket title

T20 winners
2016: Challengers
2015: Patidar Samaj
2014: Challengers
2013: Wanderers
2012: Tornado

Men’s T20 league
Semi-finals - Today at 10:30am
KICC vs. Kutchi Tigers, Lugogo
Aziz Damani vs. Challengers, Kyambogo
FINAL (3PM)
Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, Lugogo

KAMPALA. It is now only two matches that separate Challengers Cricket Club from a third National Twenty20 League title in a space of four years.
Should they beat the big stumbling block in Aziz Damani at the semi-final stage, another trophy could be within reach.

But there is a strange superstition in sport that it is difficult to lose twice to the same team in a particular competition.
On December 3, 2017, Challengers beat Damani by 16 runs in the group stages and their run has now gone to 10 straight victories.

One senses that one thing on the minds of Damani’s players when the two face off in what appears to be a ‘final before the final’ at Kyambogo this morning.
“We are going to revenge and possibly win the trophy,” Damani skipper Ghulam Hunzai told Sunday Monitor.

The 2014 and 2016 winners Challengers are only playing to cover up for a bizarre show in the longer format. “At the stage we are, we do not want to lose the momentum,” stated batsman Hamu Kayondo.

Damani is sharper with inclusions of Zimabwean Kai Roy and Indian Manoj Sai who made 60-ball 89* against 2012 finalists Charity in the quarterfinals.
But, Challengers’ opener Arthur Kyobe, recently dropped in the national team, could have a point to prove and as well close the 20-run gap between him and leading batsman Roger Mukasa (263 runs).

Meanwhile, no team in the second semi-final between KICC and Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo should be overlooked as Tigers’ imports Indian imports Jaydev Parmar, Rakesh Kahar, Vyas Nisarg and Saumil Patel pose a big threat.

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By Darren Allan Kyeyune

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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World Cup Qualifier -Coaches keep trust in Arinaitwe

The effort put up in the two warm-up matches against Kenya select sides have defined Team Uganda’s new batting potential ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers.

Regardless, there is still concern notwithstanding ability to score 250 plus runs in games against the Nairobi XI and Kenya’s seniors earlier this week.

The team’s best batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe (pictured bowling) is struggling to perform. “He is going through a patch of poor form,” Team Uganda assistant coach Jackson Ogwang told this paper.

Now in four successive warm-up ties, the opening batsman Arinaitwe has struggled to cross the 25-run mark against the Uganda Select sides and Kenya.

In those innings, his best return was 21 runs in the last tie against Uganda XI at Lugogo last Saturday.

He made 14 runs off 17 balls against the Nairobi Select but struggled further with only 8 off 7 against Kenya XI on a batting wicket at Kanbis Sports Club in Eastleigh this week.

But Ogwang still trusts the 16-year-old. “I believe in his abilities. He just needs one good score to get his confidence back and he is good to go.”

“To beat the odds, we need Arinaitwe scoring. We trust him and shall work with him to improve the figures in one way or another,” coach Francis Otieno noted.

Arinaitwe was Uganda’s best batsman with 114 runs in five innings during the last pursuit for a ticket to the ICC Youth World Cup in Malaysia two years ago.

His best score was a 37-ball 59 in the nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea before Uganda came fourth in the road to Bangladesh.

“I will come better. I need to be patient too,” Arinaitwe offered in a recent chat with this paper.

“He knows what the team requires of him and we’ll back him up,” captain Kenneth Waiswa said.

The Baby Cricket Cranes begin their quest for the lone slot to World Cup slated for New Zealand next year against Botswana at Jaffrey Oval tomorrow.

Uganda last took part at the global event 12 years ago in Sri Lanka.

ICC AFRICA U-19 
WC QUALIFIER - JULY 1-8
PLAYING TOMORROW
Uganda vs. Botswana
Kenya vs. Ghana 
SUNDAY
Ghana vs. Uganda
Kenya vs. Botswana

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Uganda starts T2O WC preps in Kigali

Ugandan cricket may be down but not entirely out. It is still a bitter pill to swallow that the Cricket Cranes got relegated to the unfamiliar ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Four on home soil a week ago.
But Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) can still save face via the ladies’ front. 
In September, this East African nation will be one of the five participants when Namibia hosts the ICC Africa Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers.

The development was announced at the weekend and UCA has already rolled out a plan for the big continental meet.

Yesterday, two teams; the U-23s and the Girls Cricket Week Select sides were named to represent Uganda at the annual Kwibuka Women’s T20 Peace Cup slated for Rwanda capital Kigali this weekend.

Yusuf Nanga, who guided Masaka SS to second place at the Cricket Week and Soroti Academy tutor Ivan Kakande are tasked to guide the sides respectively when they grace the four-team competition comprising Kenya and Rwanda national teams.
“This is not a normal tournament for us (Uganda) like in previous years,” Nanga told Daily Monitor before the teams left for Kigali last evening. “We expect tough cricket from Kenya and Rwanda to shape our girls,” the U-23s’ coach said.

Rightly so. Notwithstanding Pioneer Cricket Club’s Easter trip to Kigali, this competition is perhaps the biggest engagement lady cricketers are having since the start of the year.

The start of the National Women’s League was been delayed by the just concluded ICC WCL Division Three here last month.
“The plan is to have the girls play wholeheartedly as we prepare for Namibia. The statistics from here will be used by the selectors to choose the best players for the August trials in Nairobi before Windhoek.” Nanga added. Nanga, also a player with Africa Cricket Club, has six of his 14 players from defending champions Tornado Bee including captain Gertrude Candiru, Racheal Ntono, Mary Nalule, Rashida Kalsum, Saidat Kemigisha and wicket-keeper Patricia Munguryek.

Meanwhile, his students from Masaka SS including Janet Baluka, Teddy Ayella and Immaculate Nakisuyi made the cut to Kakande’s Cricket Week Select team. Champions Jinja SS only have captain Stephanie Nampiina and Rita Musamali in the side. The tournament starts on tomorrow at the Kicukiro Oval, Kigali.

U23 LADIES 
Gertrude Candiru (Captain), Racheal Ntono, Patricia Munguryek, Kevin Awino, Mary Nalule, Jennifer Nabwana, Janet Mbabazi, Rashida Kalsum, Martha Akello, Saidat Kemigisha, Irene Alumo, Dalphine Namubiru, Claire Mushakamba, Christian Tumusiime
COACH: Yusuf Nanga, 
MANAGER: Naome Kayondo

 

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