The flow of runs on Day One of the Jazz Safari Division I National Cricket League was evidence there was hunger for action by the players.
The league start which was arguably the most delayed witnessed nearly 500 runs as Challengers began their title quest with a commanding 218-run victory over Nile at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
It was a ruthless display from Challengers where their bowlers showed as much desire for the gentleman’s game as the hard-hitting batsmen.
The highlight of it all was Challengers’ opener Arthur Kyobe, who fashioned a familiar start to his season with a calculated ton of 108 runs.
“It’s a great way to start after all the hard work in the nets and gym,” said a smiling Kyobe.
“The wicket was tough to play on at the start but I slowly gelled in,” the former Tornado player said.
Since joining Challengers in 2014, Kyobe often starts the season with big knocks but eventually fades. He thinks things will be different.
“I pray I can balance the equation this season. National coach Steve Tikolo has really helped me and I maintain form until the World Cricket League Division Three event,” added the 28-year-old.
Donning a new black and light green kit with a new jersey number 225 - his highest career score, left-hander Kyobe struck 15 boundaries in his 127-ball innings that ended when he was caught by Ivan Baidhu off Samuel Mwanja (3/55) after 33.2 overs.
Regardless, he combined well with fellow opener Hamu Kayondo (88 off 95) to put up an opening stand of 206 runs. New signings Kamal Shahzad tightened the loose ends with 29-ball 43 whereas Irfan Afridi’s late quick-fire 50 off 22 helped Challengers set 354 runs.
Afridi (4/28), Henry Senyondo (2/20) and new boy David Wabwire (2/48) shared wickets for fun as Nile folded for 136 in 25 overs.
Meanwhile, Tornado began new life in the second tier with a close shave. Henry Okecho’s side pipped careless Strikers by 10 runs with 28 balls to spare at Kyambogo Oval. Strikers needed 70 runs to win with seven wickets in hand but they bottled it.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
Challengers 354/7 Nile 136/10
(Challengers won by 218 runs)
Tornado 185/7 Strikers 175/10
(Tornado won by 10 runs)