- Published in National League
It is pretty unfortunate that clubs in Uganda’s cricket do not last long at the top.
Often, it is a case of money bags dominating and when the wind blows away the sand at the base, it all crumbles at a go.
Tornado and Wanderers will always be referred to for their longevity not until their coffers failed to match the present-day conditions of the game. Premier was there nearly a decade ago, it was Tornado Bee yesterday and Aziz Damani’s lucrative offers today help them dominate with a star-studded side.
Tornado Bee took over from Patidar Samaj’s mini-slump. The latter was boss in 2010 and 2011 and notwithstanding their 2015 T20 Cup success, its cream melted.
Now back to the top tier, Patidar has scored 50 percent after four wins out of eight matches in UCA Divisional Twenty20 League.
With that glass neither half-full or half-empty, Patidar is keen on deflating Damani’s balloon when the two teams meet at Lugogo Oval today.
“We want to make the semi-finals here as we prepare for the 50-Over League,” Patidar’s skipper Ankit Patel told this paper.
His side is fourth with 16 points while Damani is second after winning all six matches to amass 24 points.
“It’s a very big game,” said the man who returned to the club from Kutchi Tigers after it earned promotion.
“Damani has almost the entire national team but we will put 100 percent and give them a good fight,” added Ankit who has so far made 177 runs. Hardik Patel has eight wickets.
But Damani has the country’s crème de la crème and Fred Achelam has raised his bar with 216 runs already in six innings while Henry Ssenyondo has 13 wickets.
“Achelam is on form, Roger Mukasa is our main player and Saud Islam always shows up,” said Damani’s captain Ghulam Hunzai.
“We are going to win softly with God’s grace since we have good players and good combinations,” he added.
Meanwhile, KICC hope to recover from their mistakes made against Damani last weekend when they face SKLPS at the lakeside oval in Entebbe.
KICC’s Wassim Butt leads the batting charts with 242 runs from 10 innings while captain Hanumant Katkar is interestingly top of the bowlers’ list with 15 scalps, one more than his teammate Lawrence Ssempijja.
Go-to man. Damani has the country’s crème de la crème and Fred Achelam has raised his bar with 216 runs already in six innings while Henry Ssenyondo has 13 wickets.
UCA MEN’S DIVISIONAL T20
TODAY’S FIXTURES - 10AM & 3PM
Patidar vs. Aziz Damani, Lugogo
SKLPS vs. KICC, Entebbe
Patidar Samaj produced a stellar performance to beat Nile by four wickets to clinch their second National Men’s Twenty20 League at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
“It feels great to be champions again,” Patidar skipper Ankit Patel told Daily Monitor upon lifting their second T20 title since 2011.
The success also ended the club’s four years of hurt encrypted by the departure of Charles Waiswa, Lawrence Ssematimba, Roger Mukasa and Akbar Baig to Tornado B.
“Since that quartet left us, we had forgotten how to win,” admitted tournament MVP Ankit.
“But this feat is what all the lads will try to build on so as to earn promotion back to the topflight limited-overs league next year.”
Just like the Sixes Challenge miss in February, it was another defeat for Nile in the T20 final.
“We have failed to win a final on two occasions. But we’ll work harder to finish in top four of the Division One 50-Over League and possibly win the Champions Trophy,” Nile skipper David Musoke said. After Musoke opted to bat first, Patidar’s Hasmukh Patel (4/21) and Emmanuel Taban (3/22) rubbed salt in Nile’s wounds.
It needed Suleman Sharif (20 off 18) and Kenneth Waiswa (14 off 19) covered up for Nile’s mediocre batting as they went on to set 120 for 9.
“I think we were about 20 runs short of our target. It eventually cost us.” Musoke noted.
Needing six per over to win, Patidar were reeling at 37-2 after five overs by Suleman (3/25) and Nasser Ahmed (2/16) but Ankit restored parity with a 28-ball 24 to clinch victory with five balls to spare.
NATIONAL TWENTY20 LEAGUE
Nile 120/9 Patidar 123/6
(Patidar won by four wickets)
Nile 144/6 Wanderers 31/4 (D/L)
(Nile won by 24 runs after D/L)
Damani 122/7 (47) Patidar 50/1 (D/L)
(Patidar won by nine wickets after D/L)
MVP: Ankit Patel (Patidar Samaj)
Best batsman: Arthur Kyobe (Challengers)
Best bowler: Mohammed Aneef (Challengers)
Best fielder: Ankit Patel (Patidar Samaj)
Best wicket-keeper: Nirav Patel (Patidar)
CAST OF T20 CHAMPIONS
With cash prizes at stake, fun tournaments are usually more competitive than organisers can anticipate.
That competitiveness was on show on Tuesday as Patidar Universal and Pak Coin required a Super Over to be separated in the first semifinal of the Night Cricket tournament.
Roger Mukasa was once again the difference between the two teams scoring 20 runs in the Super Over as Patidar claimed a four-run victory and a place in Saturday’s final.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the game seemed to have drifted away from Patidar after being bowled out for 89 runs.
More lackluster batting from Pak Coin, however, ensured they were bowled out for the same score.
It was then that Mukasa took charge of the game. After conceding 16 runs in the Super Over, Mukasa had the last laugh, scoring 20 runs including a mighty six over the screen on the final ball that ensured a four -run victory.
For Patidar captain Nirav Patel, the passion shown by both teams was the night’s biggest highlight.
“It does not really matter who the winner is because both teams deserved the victory,” Patel said with more relief than delight after the game.
The moderate crowd on show will hope Jinja Keshwala and UWS put up a similar show when the two sides meet in the second semifinal today at Lugogo Oval.