Ssebanja hits fastest T20 century in local history

Charity Trust Fund skipper Jonathan Ssebanja put up a stellar show as he scored the fastest century ever in Ugandan cricket. 
The batsman mixed ultimate precision with merciless hitting as he reached 100 runs off 35 balls in his team’s 67-run victory over Indian-oriented side Damani in the National Twenty20 League action at Lugogo Oval on Sunday afternoon. 
“What! Really?” a pleased, yet surprised Ssebanja exclaimed when Daily Monitor sought him out after he attained his feat. “This is amazing.” 
Ssebanja’s century, produced amidst a cacophony of noise from the sizeable crowd that witnessed the deed, is now the joint fourth-quickest ever alongside Namibia’s Louis van der Westhuizen, who attained the same feat against Kenya in unofficial T20 international on November 7, 2011.
“Like any other day, I went out and hit the ball. It was coming off the bat nicely but, I didn’t know the century was that quick,” he said. 
If Damani captain Sarfaraz Chunara felt he had taken the right decision to field first, then his teammates knew how wrong it was after Ssebanja walked onto the crease in the fifth over.
The 26-year-old’s unbeaten 38-ball innings were littered with nine boundaries and 11 huge maximums across the oval. He finished with 120 as Charity recovered from 22-2 to set 189 for 4 in 16 overs. 
“I thought my century against Rounders in Jinja last year (161 runs off 70 balls) was my best but today’s ton takes first place,” Ssebanja said. 
In reply, Damani, who had earlier shocked Nile with a six-wicket morning victory, put up 122 for 7. “This was our team’s first competitive day of action in Uganda but we played competitively all day,” Chunara said. 
And for Ssebanja? “Oh! He was just incredible today; lovely innings despite being on the losing end.” the former Nile and KICC player added.
Fastest centuries

30 balls: Chris Gayle, Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Pune Warriors, IPL, April 23, 2013
31 balls: AB De Villiers, South Africa vs. West Indies, ODI, January 18, 2015.
34 balls: Andrew Symonds, Kent vs. Middlesex, Twenty20 Cup, July 2, 2004
35 balls: Louis van der Westhuizen, Namibia vs. Kenya, unofficial T20 international, November 7, 2011
36 balls: Corey Anderson, New Zealand vs. West Indies, ODI, January 1, 2014.

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Feeble batting, butter fingers cost Cricket Cranes campaign

The batting nightmares have lived with Uganda for eternity. Save for the fruitful campaign at the Pepsi Division III International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) in Kuala Lumpur last October, scores of 200 plus have largely remained a dream for the Cricket Cranes.
If they were four forward steps taken then, more than the same number have been taken trodden backwards now as Uganda failed miserably to string together any batting scorecard of 200 runs at the just-concluded global meet. The highest score for coach Peter Kirsten’s boys was 188 all out in the 111-run crushing defeat to Canada on January 21.
Pretoria-based Phillemon Mukobe was the hero in captain Frank Nsubuga’s spiritless batting arsenal with 188 runs at an average of 37. And the 28-year-old wicket-keeper’s decision to retire, because of work and family obligations later this year, will leave the team poor and hit its composition very hard.
Vice-captain Brian Masaba being second in rating to Mukobe with just 100 runs at an average of 20 per innings just continues to show how irresponsible the batsmen have been. A one-man or even two-man show was never going to be enough to pull Uganda through.

Discipline demanded
On Windhoek wickets largely tailor-made for batting but at times deteriorating fast because of new layers and offering some palpable assistance in the first and last hours on each day, discipline was demanded but the batsmen didn’t show enough of it. A display full of ghastly, ill-judged shots followed by glum expressions after dismissals with some horrific umpiring decisions is what was witnessed.
The tail-end of Patrick Ochan (64), Frank Nsubuga (38) and Jonathan Ssebanja (52) was always left with more than a half of the innings to counter – a tall order by any stretch of imaginations that equally left Kirsten with a strain and wry smirk on his face.
“I am at loss of words,” said the 59-year-old Gaffer. “The senior batsmen haven’t come to the party. There was no mental application and their shot selection has been poor. Considering the preparation we had, I am surprised and disappointed with our performances. It has not been a good show.” But if the batting woes deepened from bad to worse as justified by the 79 all out against Netherlands that was flattered by 22 extras, the fielding or lack of its proper execution left a bitter taste in the team’s contingent.

Poor fielding
Ugandan teams were renowned for their exceptional catching and ground fielding but this side is letting those standards slide. Slow-left armer Henry Ssenyondo, the best bowler of the campaign with nine scalps, swallowed two stunning efforts off his own bowling in the nerve-wrecking two-run win against Nepal. Opening batsman Roger Mukasa then dived forward to his left in the mid-wicket region to spectacularly dismiss Canada skipper Jimmy Hansra on 31 off Ssenyondo’s bowling as the North Americans crumbled from 75 for 5 to 140 all out. 
That reading makes attractive bookends to Uganda’s fielding in Namibia but bookends, most of the time, tell nothing. The most revealing material lies in the pages that sit in between and throughout the business end of the tournament Uganda’s fielding scripts made for poor reading.
Butter fingers were the order of the day and at least three catches were spilled per innings. Run outs were also missed and some ground fielding was suspect. Each of those misfields was punished as Nitish Kumar, dropped on 16, went on to make 104 for Canada – the only century of the tournament.
Against Namibia, Merwe Erasmus was dropped on 9 and he went on to blaze a match-winning 62, then Alex Obanda was put down on 0 against Kenya, the hard-hitting opener went on to score 32. The culprits were many including some of the team’s ‘best’ fielders.
“The difference between these teams and us is very thin. We belong in Division II and there is no doubt about it. We just have to rethink our strategies proper and fight the stage fright.”
And to think, the damage could have been limited will haunt the players for years to come as the team stays in Division III after a third failed attempt to make the Division II grade.
Uganda need to combat their batting fears, initiate a freewill spirit and starting exhibiting clinical shifts on a back-to-back basis as shown they can pull off in the easy 8-wicket win against Canada that helped them avoid the wooden spoon.


Collated results for Uganda
Uganda 156/10 Nepal 154/10
Uganda won by two runs
Uganda 188/9 Namibia 189/6
Namibia won by four wickets
Uganda 129/10 Kenya 130/5
Kenya won by five wickets
Canada 293/6 Uganda 182/10
Canada won by 111 runs
Uganda 79/10 Netherlands 80/3
Netherlands won by 7 wickets
Fifth place playoff final
Canada 140/10 Uganda 144/2
Uganda won by 8 wickets 
Final Team Standings
1. Netherlands (4 wins, 2 losses)
2. Namibia (4 wins, 2 losses)
3. Kenya (3 wins, 3 losses)
4. Nepal (3 wins, 3 losses)
5. Uganda (2 wins, 4 losses)
6. Canada (2 wins, 4 losses)
Top 4 batsmen
Phillemon Mukobe 188 runs
Brian Masaba 100 runs
Arthur Kyobe 99 runs
Roger Mukasa 85 runs
Top 4 bowlers
Henry Ssenyondo 9 wickets
Jonathan Ssebanja 9 wickets
Frank Nsubuga 7 wickets
Patrick Ochan 7 wickets

Kenya destroy Uganda, Canada next

One win, two losses is the Cricket Cranes story, at the Pepsi Division II International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League tournament, thus far, here in Windhoek, Namibia.
But even after suffering an annihilation courtesy of Kenya by five wickets in yesterday’s East African derby at the Trustco United Oval, the Cricket Cranes cannot afford to drop their shoulders and lose morale with two determined fixtures to play.

Bundled out
The Ugandans were a complete no-show as Kenya bundled them out for a paltry 129 in 43.2 overs and then proceeded to coast to victory with 101 balls to spare and five wickets in hand. Left-hander Arthur Kyobe top scored with 24 runs and showed solidity in a 44-run opening partnership with Abram Mutyagaba (14/33) but what followed was mind boggling.
Left-arm orthodox Shem Ngoche (4/17), his sibling James Ngoche (1/11) and Elijah Otieno (1/24) ignited the mother of all collapses as Uganda found themselves reeling at 77/6 in 19.3 overs. Shem trapped Mutyagaba for Leg Before Wicket (LBW) and immediately sent Roger Mukasa packing in similar fashion for a golden duck. 
Kyobe then got run out at 46/3 and Mukasa’s elder sibling Lawrence Ssematimba, too, didn’t bother the scorers. Phillemon Mukobe and skipper Frank Nsubuga tried to rebuild the innings but both fell for 21 trying too hard to up the scoring tempo whereas Adelaide-based Patrick Ochan was the last man out with a battling 14. The chase was one-way traffic from the onset despite the Kenyans conniving to lose five wickets.
Alex Obanda (32/45), Irfan Karim (26/60), Narendra Patel (27/37) and Collins Obuya (28/33) were all among the runs as the top four did the job to continue Kenya’s flawless record against Uganda in ICC-sanctioned competitive matches.
Ochan and Nsubuga delayed the inevitable by snaring two wickets apiece on a day that saw the Ugandans turn in arguably their worst shift with the bat since January 2014 in New Zealand.

Turnaround of fortunes
Coach Peter Kirsten will be hoping there is a turnaround of fortunes for his ‘firing blanks’ outfit against Canada at the Wanderers Affies Park today.
“Look, we have not yet played our best cricket and yet we have a victory to our names,” Kirsten said, after painful loss to Kenya, while rallying his charges in the team meeting held soon after the match award was given to Shem for his parsimonious bowling figures of 4 for 17.
“Canada (lost to Nepal yesterday) are not faring any better. We can beat them if the batsmen come to the party. One of our top four guys must get at least a 50 if we are to set the 200-run target. The fans back at home must continue believing because this team is capable of winning the remaining two round-robin games.”



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

Jinja SS dedicate Mehta Twenty20 title to Mugalula

Habibu Mugalula was a militaristic cricketer in his hey-day. Always steaming in from 30 yards with the new ball and an even more eye-catching sight with the bat as he scampered for quick tight singles.
It is the same attitude with which Mugalula played that he initiated when he started a new career as cricket coach in 2012 at Jinja Secondary School.

His students had to learn fast, and they did. There was no two ways! But over the past one-month (37 days to be exact), things have been slow in the 34-year-old’s life.
A hit and run accident left him crippled on September 10 in Jinja. The soft-spoken tactician’s pelvic girdle was broken and he underwent an operation to have a plate inserted to hold his pelvic bones together.
But Mugalula threw away the clutches for the first time and regained his mojo, albeit temporarily last Sunday, when Jinja SS girls pulled off a heist to win the Mehta National Twenty20 League.
The bubbly teenagers defeated favourites Charity by five wickets in a low-scoring semifinal at Kyambogo Oval before toppling Wanderers by the same margin in a nail-biting final at Lugogo.

“We played well today and we dedicate this victory to our coach [Mugalula],” Jinja SS captain of the day Rachael Ntono was quick to say soon after the over-the-top celebrations.
“We didn’t play well when he was away and we were hungry to win it for him as a welcome back gift. We are very excited and there will be a big party at school.” Mugalula, who was bed-ridden for a week in Mulago Hospital after being transferred from Jinja Hospital, also credited the girls for possessing big-match temperaments and playing with pure passion.
“Their love for the game is incomparable and they know how to execute game plans. 
“That’s what happens when they listen,” said Mugalula, who is coincidentally an alumnus of Jinja SS.
The youthful coach nicknamed Mugi spared a vote of thanks for Jinja SS head teacher Dinah Hope Tuhumwire Nyago, Uganda Cricket Association, fellow teachers Samuel Musiho and Yusuf Nanga, student Aloysius Odoi and his wife Faith Neema, who have spent both their time and money to ensure he gets back on the road running as before like a well-oiled machine.


Wanderers 85/5 Jinja SS 86/5
(Jinja SS won by 5 wickets)
Charity TF 49/8 Jinja SS 54/5
Wanderers 75/5 Tornado 63/9
Player of Series: Damalie Busingye (Jinja SS) – 154 runs & 7 wickets
Best Batter: Naome Kayondo (Wanderers) – 127 runs in 5 innings
Best Bowler: Joselyn Nakato (Charity TF) – 9 wickets
Best Fielder: Franklyn Najjumba (Tornado) – 4 dismissals
Best Wicketkeeper: Patricia Munguryek (Charity TF) – 7 dismissals

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No trophy but Mukasa MVP

 History repeated itself as Uganda lost to Nepal in the second successive Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III final.

The Cricket Cranes lost by five wickets to the Asians last year in Bermuda and the tale of the tape was similar as the Nepalese ousted Uganda by 62 runs in a one-sided affair at Kinrara Academy Oval in Malaysia yesterday.

But as Nepal celebrated both on the ground and back in their cricket-mad capital Kathmandu, there were no tears in Uganda’s camp and love lost after Roger Mukasa was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Albeit a slow start, the 25-year-old opening batsman, who battled malaria in the last two days, was easily the most outstanding player of the eight-day showpiece.
Mukasa collected 265 runs from six innings with a highest score of 86 against Bermuda at an average of 52.8 per innings and only fell short of best batsman Malaysian Arjurn Mutreja (282)’s aggregate by 17 runs.

The athletic all-rounder’s tidy part time off-spin deliveries that accounted for 27.5 overs also prized out 13 wickets at a cost of 125 runs, just one scalp behind the tourney’s best bowler Basanta Regmi of Nepal. 
In the final, Mukasa snared a six-wicket haul for 27 runs – the tournament’s best bowling figures – as Nepal set a competitive aggregate of 223 in 49.5 overs.
At 23 for no loss, Mukasa (12 off 23) temporarily retired not out but later returned and gave Uganda some hope of winning the final with four boundaries and three sixes in his third half ton of the tournament – a 52-ball 51. When he departed in the 42nd over at 151 for 7, only 10 runs were added to the score as Uganda crumbled for 161 with 35 balls to spare.

But Mukasa had done enough to earn himself a record fourth Man-of-Match award, adding to those notched in victories over Singapore (one run), USA (24 runs after D/L) and Bermuda (seven wickets). Team Uganda returns this afternoon.

Individual honours 
Roger Mukasa (Uganda) - 265 runs & 13 wickets
Best Batsman 
Arjurn Mutreja (Malaysia) – 282 runs from seven innings
Best Bowler
Basanta Regmi (Nepal) – 14 wickets
Best Fielder
Paras Khadka (Nepal) – 10 catches
Best Wicket-Keeper
Subash Khakurel (Nepal) – 10 dismissals

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Final hurdle for Uganda

Mission accomplished. The Cricket Cranes showed that Monday’s 20-run defeat to Malaysia was a mere ‘bad day at office’ as they returned to winning ways against Bermuda – securing a clinical seven-wicket victory – to earn promotion to Division II and a place in today’s final against Nepal at Kinrara Academy Oval.
The Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division II will be played from January 17 to 24 in Windhoek, Namibia. 
Uganda must finish among the top four in the six-team event to secure its status as an ICC High Performance Programme (HPP) nation to attract increased funding from the ruling body.
The Pepsi ICC WCL Div. 2 is the final step in the qualification pathway to the ICC’s four-day, first-class competition for Associate and Affiliate Members, the ICC Intercontinental Cup, as well as the 50-over Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship.

Nepal test 
But first things first. Team Uganda will be anxious to stamp their authority over Nepal by completing a double when the two arch-foes face off in today’s final. Both teams finished the league phase on eight points apiece but Nepal top the log with a better Net Run Rate (+1.985).
Uganda defeated Nepal by six wickets during the round-robin stage of last year’s event held in Bermuda only for the latter to exact revenge with a five-wicket win in the final.
And on the opening day (October 23) of this meet in Kuala Lumpur, Uganda edged the Nepalese by 20 runs but will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself in the final as they seek a sensational climax.
Yesterday, Uganda banked on ‘sick man’ Roger Mukasa to seal the near perfect qualification campaign with a whirlwind 68-ball 86 half ton to help Uganda make light work of Bermuda’s target of 140 in 24.5 overs. 
Reports from the team’s camp at the five-star Hotel Istana indicated that Mukasa had malaria and played under medication in what many of his teammates described as the ‘knock of the tournament’ on Facebook.

Mukasa shared an opening stand of 75 runs in less than 13 overs with Arthur Kyobe (18 off 35) before Jonathan Ssebanja sealed it with 20 off 35. And with Mukasa likely to be rested for the final, captain Frank Nsubuga will be hoping Uganda can win their second Div. III title after their inaugural triumph in Darwin, Australia 2007 when they overwhelmed Argentina by 91 runs.
“We are happy with the win today, and to qualify to WCL Div.2. We’re looking forward to it, but we will need to go back and work hard. We need to play a lot of cricket before we go to Namibia,” said Nsubuga.

Previous meetings 
Uganda 203/8 Nepal 183/10 
(Uganda won by 20 runs)
Nepal 240/10 Uganda 80/10 
(Nepal won by 160 runs)
2013 ICC WORLD CRICKET LEAGUE DIV.Nepal 116/10 Uganda 117/4
(Uganda won by 6 wickets)
Final: Uganda 151/8 Nepal 153/5 
(Nepal won by 5 wickets)


Malaysia halt Cricket Cranes march to Div. II

The form script was torn to shreds. A four-wicket loss to hosts Malaysia in round four of the ICC World Cricket League Division III is not what the doctor had ordered yesterday.
A win would have guaranteed qualification to Division II proper but a horrendous batting display saw Uganda lose their 100 per cent record after the East Africans collapsed in a heap for 106all-out in 39 overs.
The last time Uganda played Malaysia in Toronto 2001, Kenneth Kamyuka (100* off 54), 19 then, and current UCA boss Richard Mwami (21* off 80) combined for a miraculous 124-run 10th wicket stand to help Uganda recover from 99 for 8 enroute to setting up a 64-run victory.
But there was none of that magic from the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada as the top-order trio of Arthur Kyobe (5 off 32), Roger Mukasa (9 off 12) and Hamu Kayondo (7 off 31) succumbed to medium pacer Derek Duraisingam (3/23) in the opening 14 overs.
Only four batsmen got double figures; Phillemon Mukobe (24 off 34), wicket-keeper Naeem Bardai (11 off 49), Davis Karashani (11 off 28) and skipper Frank Nsubuga’s 19 off 24. Even Lawrence Ssematimba’s tournament bow, in for injured vice-captain Brian Masaba, produced no reprieve as the man nicknamed Small Lion fell for a duck.

Malaysia’s openers were solid in the chase, adding 41 as the team reached 61 for 1 in 10 overs. Former skipper Davis Karashani then did some damage snaring a fiver as the hosts stuttered to 89 for 6. But it wasn’t enough as Anwar Arudin (26 off 33) and Nasir Shafiq (18 off 20)’s earlier contributions helped the Asian side sail home with 174 balls to spare.
The other two games Bermuda versus Singapore and Nepal versus USA were washed out due to heavy rains and both will be replayed on today’s reserve day as per the tournament rules and playing conditions.
The Cricket Cranes’ fate, though, still lies in their hands as they can make certain of a place in the final and progress to the Division II showpiece in Namibia next year by defeating Bermuda tomorrow’s last round-robin match.

Uganda 106/10 Malaysia 107/6 
(Malaysia won by 4 wickets)
Singapore 266/8 Bermuda 0/0
No result
USA 204(162) Nepal 27/3
No result

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