Uganda finishes sixth in World Cup qualifier

Team Uganda return home from Netherlands with a few smiles having avoided the wooden spoon on their debut at the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier.

The East African nation will count many positives from their first time at the global stage of women’s cricket more importantly with the group stage win over Thailand and play-off triumph over hosts Netherlands last week.

Now the Lady Cricket Cranes may have avoided the tail slot but they will feel disappointed by their failure to beat Thailand for the second time in the fifth-place play-off.

Uganda returned home empty handed losing the tournament Plate Cup by 34 runs to Bangkok at VRA Ground in Amstelveen on Saturday.

Coaches Francis Othieno and Grace Mutyagaba had stuck to familiar faces but the bowling unit failed to bottle the Thai top-order which in turn left a load for the second innings.

It is Thailand that had gifted Uganda their first international T20 win during this tournament but knowing the danger in Immaculate Nakisuyi and Gertrude Candiru, the Asians turned on the mojo early.

After Sornnarin Tippoch had asked Uganda to field first, Consy Aweko had Naruemol Chaiwai (4 off 14) caught by Janet Mbabazi to have the scoreboard reading 12-1 in 3.4 overs.

But Uganda’s pressure valve let loose as Nattakan Chantam (44 off 41) and Nattaya Boochatham (38 off 41) shared 52 runs for the second wicket.

The latter then took the score to 105-3 in 18.2 overs after sharing 42 runs with wicket-keeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai (17 off 15) and Thailand coasted to 113-7.

Two ducks from the first three batters graced Uganda’s chase and the by the time Stephannie Nampiina’s 30-ball 29* came through in the mid-order, the battle was long gone.

Uganda finished sixth ahead of UAE and Netherlands while champions Bangladesh and Ireland qualified for the World Cup slated for November in West Indies.

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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

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