- Published in National League
Cosmos Warriors etched their names into traditional cricketing folklore with a convincing 31-run win over Pak Land to notch their first Pakistan Premier League title at its fifth edition on October 14.
Even the persistent drizzle did little in dooming the day with the players and officials, equally pumped up to deliver a fitting finale to what had been a memorable season of thrilling tape-bal cricket.
Crowd favourites Pak Land had a smooth campaign enroute to outlasting Khan XI by 18 runs in the semifinal whereas Cosmos Warriors ensured there would be no upset at the last four hurdle with a 36-run triumph over ‘big hitters’ Afridi XI.
But in the do-or-die final, Pak Land had themselves to blame for the no-show. Their star man Zohaib Butt, who picked up the Man of Series gong, was the villain when he dropped Cosmos Warriors’ star man Taimoor Mirza off the first ball of the match.
Mirza rode his luck and tonked the opposition into submission with a 20-ball half century of 62 runs as Cosmos set 108 for 4. Umer Bhai added 22 off 11 and Cricket Cranes vice captain Brian Masaba stroked one six in his five-ball cameo of 12 with none of the bowlers managing any impressive figures.
Then when Pak Land needed quick runs, none of their top six going with Butt (14 off 7), Tahir Nazir (6 off 2), Ali Malik (5 off 12), national captain Roger Mukasa (7 off 4), Jamshed Mughal (0 off 1) and Umair Iftikhar (1 off 3) all falling cheaply.
Tail-ender Cricket Cranes all-rounder Emmanuel Isaneez (24 off 8) stood tall but never matched his understudy in the other dugout Kenneth Waiswa, whose figures of 4 for 10 in 2 overs, ensured Pak Land couldn’t score more than 68 runs when it mattered most to confirm Cosmos Warriors 30-run triumph. Twelve teams to part this season.
FINAL - PPL SEASON FIVE
Cosmos Warriors 108/4 Pak Land 68/10
Cosmos Warriors won by 30 runs
Pak Land 120/5 Khan XI 102/7
Cosmos Warriors 163/2 Afridi XI 127/4
THE TOP PERFORMERS
Man Of Series:
Zohaib Butt (Pak Land)
David Wabwire 12 wickets (Pak Land)
Taimoor Mirza 451 runs (Cosmos Warriors)
Best Play In Final: Kenneth Waiswa
4/10 in 2 overs
Fixtures for Mehta Premier League:
Semi Final 1. Charity Trust Fund CC Vs Pioneer CC
Venue: Lugogo Oval
Starting Time: 10:00am
Semi Final 2. Jinja Senior Secondary School CC Vs Wanderers CC
Venue: Kyambogo Oval
Starting Time: 10:00am
Final: Winner Semi Final 1 Vs Winner Semi Final 2.
Venue: Lugogo Oval
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.
MEHTA NATIONAL TWENTY20 W0MEN’S CRICKET LEAGUE
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
ROLL OF HONOUR
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
By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE