KAMPALA- There is huge feeling of relief for many after Aziz Damani clinched the Jazz Safari National Cricket League title on their first time of asking on Sunday.
Damani only needed to beat Challengers and they duly picked a five-wicket win in Entebbe to end Tornado Bee’s four-year dominance.
“It is a dream come true,” excited Damani club CEO Siva Koti said after wild celebrations under overcast conditions. The club began in 2015, progressing to win the Division Two tier last year and is now at the pinnacle of club cricket in the country.
The result took Damani to 67 points from 13 matches, still 10 points clear of Tornado Bee even if the latter beat KICC by five wickets in Kyambogo.
“It feels really great to end Tornado Bee’s run,” said opening batsman Arnold Otwani after his 99-ball 65 helped Damani successfully chase a target of 150.
It was Otwani’s first top-flight league title and many more in the squad including captain Brian Masaba. “It was perfect result for us,” said Masaba whose leg-spin deliveries (4/37) troubled Challengers.
Challengers, who opted to bat first, had six batsmen failing to reach double figures. Only Hamu Kayondo (40 off 49) and Irfan Afridi (33 off 23) tried to check Damani’s march to the title but they only set 149 in 38.1 overs. “Restricting them that for us to chase 150 was good,” Masaba stated.
In the chase, Damani were 41-2 after 8.2 overs but Otwani’s 99-run partnership with veteran Steve Tikolo (42 off 47) blew the game out of Challengers’ hands even if Damani would later lose three wickets in a space of four balls. “The bulk of the work was done by that pair,” Masaba said.
Damani will now get a champions parade from 2016 winners Tornado Bee, who they play next weekend in a game of no consequences to their title credentials.
Meanwhile, Charity Trust Fund secured life in the top tier for another year after beating Nile by 152 runs in Lugogo thanks to Innocent Ndawula (4/18), Simon Ssesaazi (71 off 66) and Lawrence Ssempijja’s (67 off 60) efforts.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
Challengers 149/10 Aziz Damani 152/5
(Aziz Damani won by 5 wickets)
KICC 148/10 Tornado Bee 152/5
(Tornado Bee by 5 wickets)
Charity TF 296/10 Nile 145/10
(Charity TF won by 151 runs)
Tornado 242/10 ACC 227/10
(Tornado won by 15 runs)