After opening win over Nepal, Cricket Cranes lose to Namibia

It’s time to reflect. After the opening two days of the Pepsi Division II International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) produced mixed results, the Cricket Cranes will use today’s rest day as valuable time to re-strategise and plot afresh.

Coach Peter Kirsten’s boys clinched a sensational last ball two-run win against Nepal on the opening day (Saturday) in a low-scoring thriller at Affies Park. But their progress was immediately checked by Namibia, who coasted home with four wickets in hand and 22 balls spare at the scenic Wanderers Oval yesterday.

“The reserve day gives us a chance to rectify our mistakes and improve,” captain Frank Nsubuga told Daily Monitor. Top on Nsubuga and coach Peter Kirsten’s priority list will be seeking a quick remedy to the failure of the side to post a defendable par score of 200, which was the catalyst as Uganda strolled to a successful campaign at the Division III event in Kuala Lumpur last October.

“We came through against Nepal because we studied the conditions better and knew that the new wicket at Affies Park would take more spin later in the day. Our low score against them was justified. Then we batted better against Namibia but still didn’t get 200 and more so we put down two would have been match-changing catches.”

Dropped catch
Nsubuga was one of the ‘butter fingers’ culprits dropping Sarel Burger on 3 at extra cover with the scoreboard reading 87/4 in 25 overs and Uganda still much within victory sight.

Burger went on to anchor the innings with an unbeaten match-winning 37 off 71. Earlier Abram Mutyagaba, standing at first slip, had spilled an edge off Merwe Erasmus swishing blade with the scores on 29 for 2 and with the Namibian having only 9 runs to his credit.

The top order batsman rode his luck to notch a half-ton of 62 off 91 and forthwith take the Man-of-Match award. But coach Kirsten says fate is still in Uganda’s hands to decide their destiny. “One win and one loss is not the worst of starts,” said the South African tactician.

We believe we can improve and the top order batsmen can hit proper gear. Our performances in the next four games will decide where we want Uganda Cricket to be in the next four years.”

By Innocent Ndawula

Batting concerns remain for cricket side

Renown Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: ‘Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.’
It’s this motivational quote that will ring a loud bell in the ears of the men’s national cricket team players when at the gruesome ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division II tournament that bowls off on Saturday. 
The Cricket Cranes carried batting concerns to Windhoek last night after failing to impress in two warm-up matches played as they finalised preparations in South Africa’s beautiful city of Cape Town. 
During the 10-day bootcamp that involved a series of training sessions and adventurous team bonding, coach Peter Kirsten’s side was far from convincing in last Thursday’s seven-wicket loss to Western Province Amateur XI and Tuesday’s 17-run win over the Boland Amateur X1 at Vineyard Oval in Newlands. 
“The team is ticking most of the boxes but we still have some unfinished business in the batting,” skipper Frank Nsubuga admitted in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor from the team base at Park Inn Foreshore Hotel yesterday.
“We are strong in bowling and fielding but the hitches we face with the bat must be countered.” 
Top-order trio of Arthur Kyobe, Roger Mukasa and Hamu Kayondo made no much impact as only assistant captain Brian Masaba stood out with respective scores of 57 (off 91) and 23 (off 34) enroute to setting scores below 170 runs in both matches. 
“A less than 200-run score offers us no chance to win a single match on the fast pitches in Namibia,” Nsubuga noted. “Good partnerships depend on how the innings start and so the top-order ought to build momentum. We need to score more than 200 runs.”

Cricket warm-up

Uganda 153/10 Boland X1 136/10
(Uganda won by 17 runs)

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Cricket Cranes off to Cape Town

The Cricket Cranes’ preparations for the Division II International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) tourney due January 17-24 in Windhoek, Namibia negotiate the final bend with a 10-day boot camp in Cape Town, South Africa starting today.
While in Cape Town, the team will get a chance to train at the ultra modern Newlands Park that is currently hosting the third Test between South Africa and West Indies, catch the final two days of the riveting Test and watch the Twenty20 blitz between the two giants on Friday (Jan. 9).

Coach Peter Kirsten’s boys will also have training sessions at Western Province Academy (WPA) and play three rubbers against WPA and Western Province XI but the peak of the boot camp will be presence of legendary South African Test player Gary Kirsten.
Peter and Gary are half brothers but the latter is more famous because he ended his career as South Africa’s most capped player and top Test runs-scorer (7,289) when he called it a day in March 2004 against New Zealand in Wellington.
Gary has also built a niche as a successful coach as he is credited for having taken powerhouse India to the top of the Test rankings during his stint, which ended, quite fittingly, with India’s World Cup triumph in 2011.
Gary, on the invitation of Peter, is scheduled to watch over a couple training sessions, have one-on-one sessions with the players and offer motivational speeches on Jan 13 and 14.
“He (Gary) played this game at the very top level and his presence in our camp is a big boost. He has done it all before and will be easy to believe,” assistant coach Michael Ndiko told Daily Monitor after National Council of Sports (NCS) general secretary Jasper Aligawesa flagged off the team yesterday at the NCS Headquarters in Lugogo.
Skipper Frank Nsubuga, too, made a bold vow about the team’s goals. 
“We have been working hard and are looking forward to meet and work with Gary for the next 10 days. We promise to work hard and ensure that we don’t get relegated back to Division III.”

Jan 17: Uganda vs. Nepal (Wanderers Affies)
Jan 18: Namibia vs. Uganda (Wanderers)
Jan 19: Rest/reserve day
Jan 20: Kenya vs. Uganda (United)
Jan 21: Canada vs. Uganda (Wanderers Affies)
Jan 22: Rest/reserve day
Jan 23: Netherlands vs. Uganda (Wanderers)
Jan 24: Playoff finals

F. Nsubuga (captain), D. Karashani, H. Kayondo, A. Kyobe, B. Masaba (vice captain), D. Muhumuza, R. Mukasa, P. Mukobe, A. Mutyagaba, P. Ochan, D. Ruyange, J. Ssebanja, L. Ssematimba, H. Ssenyondo 
OFFICIALS: A. Meya (Team Manager), P. Kirsten (Coach/ Technical Director), M. Ndiko (Trainer), T. Le Roux (Team Physiotherapist)

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Cricket Cranes edge Takashinga

The Cricket Cranes rallied to snatch victory from the glaring jaws of defeat as they overcame Zimbabwe outfit Takashinga by 23 runs in a low-scoring thriller at Kyambogo Oval yesterday.

It was a day of two insipid batting displays but it will be the Ugandans, who despite clinching the rubber, that will want to look themselves in the mirror and forthwith shed some skin.

Uganda set 99 all out in 36.1 overs with under-fire wicketkeeper Lawrence Ssematimba (20 off 57), former skipper Davis Karashani (18 off 37) and vice-captain Brian Masaba (13 off 34) crawling to double figures as the slow-bowling trio of Sikandar Raza Butt, Chamu Chibhabha and Tinotenda Mutombodzi claimed two scalps apiece.

And with the Ugandan fans thinking their team was going to face a successive defeat, captain Frank Nsubuga had different ideas.

The 34-year-old introduced himself into the attack early in the second over and immediately bowled a wicket maiden claiming the scalp of Kudzai Maunze (1).

He finished with miserly figures of 6 for 16 in the allotted 10 overs that also comprised of three maidens as the tourists were bundled out for 76 in 31.5 overs.

Nsubuga’s other victims were Odecious Manje (11), Butt (18), and Shingirai Masakadza (2), Regis Chakabva (5) and Timycen Maruma (0).

Left-arm spinner Henry Ssenyondo (3/21 in 9.5) and Karashani (1/20) supplemented their skipper as Uganda pulled off a nervy win on a turf that offered palpable assistance to the bowlers. 
The tour which wraps up on Sunday resumes tomorrow.

Yesterday’s result - 50 overs
Uganda 99/10 Takashinga 76/10
Uganda won by 23 runs
Tomorrow – 50 over game
Emerging Uganda vs. Takashinga, Lugogo
Sunday – 50-over game
UCA Chairman’s XI vs. Takashinga, Kyambogo

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