In terms of results, none drifted off the script as bookmakers’ favourites KICC, Ceylon Lions, Aziz Damani and Challengers progressed to the semi-finals of the Unimoni National Twenty20 Cup on Sunday.
With that being ordinary, the expectation was that the foreign legion hired would orchestrate class act performances.
It is only Kenyan Alex Obanda who lived up to the billing for Ceylon Lions as they went past sorry Jinja SSS while Irfan Afridi too carried the headlines for KICC in their 29-run victory over Strikers.
Let’s begin with the visitor. Two years ago, Obanda came in and played for KICC who fell short to Challengers in the 2014 T20 final.
On Sunday, Obanda was here but Lions’ business and duly delivered, stroking a quick-fire century of 102 runs off 38 balls after his captain Jonathan Ssebanja chose to bat first.
Often quiet and smiling a little, Obanda enjoyed the crease with an innings littered with 12 boundaries and six maximums. “He made the job quite easy for us all and we now look forward to a team performance in the next stages,” Ssebanja noted.
When the openers fell to leave the scoreboard at 38-2 after 3.1 overs, the Kenyan international had a recovery 91-run partnership with Malindu Maduranga (42 off 24) before Varinder Singh made 61 off 24).
Lions set 267-8 despite Jinja’s Derrick Bwire picking 4-38. But rain interruption had Jinja’s target at 89 runs required in 6.3 overs.
Robinson Obuya got 32 off 19 but Varinder (2/1) had done enough to stop Jinja at 49-2.
Meanwhile, no bowler had a better outing than Afridi who took parsimonious figures of 7/15 in four overs against Strikers at Lugogo.
The Pakistan-born player was reported by the match officials at the World Cricket League Division III match between Uganda and Denmark on November 9 in Muscat, Oman.
And he missed the rest of the tournament. Afridi seemed to play with hunger when Strikers’ youthful batsmen attempted to chase a revised target of 152 runs.
KICC had earlier set 158-7 with Afridi making an unbeaten 31 off 34 while Frank Nsubuga made 42 off 22.
As Afridi bowled, Derrick Bakunzi (35 off 20) and Perry Wazombe (30 off 21) had tried to withstand his wrath. In the afternoon, Kutchi Tigers flattered to deceive with the bat, hence losing by nine wickets to three-peat chasing Challengers while Aziz Damani made light work of Tornado Bee in Kyambogo.