Defending champions Tornado Bee find themselves in a spot of bother as the National Men’s Division One 50-Over League approaches the business end. In each of the past three seasons, Tornado Bee have been top of the league standings before emerging champions.
But a fourth straight title now looks unlikely for Tornado Bee. At halfway stage, the champions, with a game in hand, are second on the table with 34 points, eight behind toppers Challengers. Without a league crown to their name, Challengers seem to be the real deal this season. They appear determined to end Tornado Bee’s stranglehold on the title.
As the second round bowled off at the weekend, Challengers engaged a stronger gear, romping to a 104-run victory over 2011 champions Patidar Samaj at the Kyambogo Oval.
“It was tense,” Challengers skipper Ivan Thawithemwira said after they ably defended 192 runs. “We did not score many runs but we had to defend the small total.” Opting to bat first, one would understand Thawi’s worries after the opening pair of Arthur Kyobe and Mohammed Aneef departed in a space of five balls.
The score board read 15-2 after 3.4 overs. Here, top season buy Hamu Kayondo reconstructed the innings with three boundaries and a six in a 38-ball 27.
“May be we got too excited before batting,” Kayondo stated. “The wicket looked good to play on but it was actually turning.” His 45-run fourth-wicket combo with Thawi (20 off 14) was supported by late solid knocks from Derrick Bakunzi (23 off 35) and Abraham Alema (24 off 58). Spinners Naseer Ahmad (3/12) and Henry Ssenyondo (3/16) crippled Patidar’s batsmen swiftly but only Gurang Patel (28 off 58) battled the wrath. They were eventually bowled out on the penultimate ball of the 33rd over.
Tornado Bee did not face sister side Tornado on Sunday after umpires Grace Mutyagaba and James Bamulese deemed the soggy Lugogo Oval a outfield unplayable. “Sewage flooded on the field,” Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke revealed. Although they have a game in hand, Tornado Bee could plunge into a state of panic with Challengers showing no signs of faltering.
It is the first time in four seasons that Tornabo Bee are starting the second round off the league summit. They are second behind Challengers but have a game in hand.
Men’s 50-over league
Challengers 192/10 Patidar 88/10
(Challengers won by 104 runs)
KICC 120/6 Kutchi Tigers 68/10
(KICC won by 52 runs)
Premier 103/10 Mwiri 81/10
(Premier won by 22 runs)
Avengers 198/10 JACC 53/10
(Avengers won by 145 runs)