- Published in National League
Something unusual is happening in the Jazz Safari National League for the first time in nearly half-a-decade.
Defending champions Tornado Bee have their fifth successive title ambitions in jeopardy after losing their first match of the season by five wickets to Charity Trust Fund at Entebbe on Sunday.
Cruising to the title has been the order of the day for Tornado Bee, staving off competition from Tornado, KICC, Nile and Challengers with relative ease over the years.
That shocking Entebbe accident in their second round opener left Tornado Bee second with 39 points from eight matches.
It has further blown the title race wide with leaders Aziz Damani, only promoted this year, holding a 10-point advantage after nine outings.
Most importantly, Tornado Bee captain Jeremy Kibuukamusoke should still be regretting the decision to bat first on a damp wicket.
“It was a wrong call,” admitted Kibuukamusoke, whose side struggled to set 194-6 after 50 overs.
“The wicket played well in the afternoon.” And that played into Charity’s hands, making it three wins in nine matches. “Tornado Bee batted too slowly at the start yet our openers did the contrary,” skipper Lawrence Ssempijja noted.
Proof? Tornado Bee were 35-1 after 15 overs and it is a 99-run second-wicket partnership between Akbar Baig (44 off 116) and Lawrence Ssematimba (50 off 70) that temporarily got them out of the rut.
Knock of urgency
Fred Achelam’s 31-ball 38 signified more of his maturity but there was less that came through from the rest of the batsmen because left-arm orthodox bowler Innocent Ndawula (3/43) stemmed the runs flow. The spinner is on form having picked career best figures of 7/54 against Damani over a week ago.
When the wicket let loose in the afternoon, Charity conjured a rare brilliant batting start, with openers Ronald Opio (38 off 55) and Simon Ssesaazi (15 off 25) making 59 runs for the first wicket in 12.5 overs.
Then a 96-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Steven Wabwose (48 off 60) and Man of Match (MOM) Jonathan Ssebanja (56* off 67) steered Charity further ahead.
Lanky Cosmas Kyewuta’s 20* off 18 steered Charity home in 38.5 overs, leaving the stunned opponents led by William Kibuukamusoke in unbearable pain.
Across the Nile River, traditional giants Wanderers secured one of the most comfortable wins of the season when they overcame Jinja SS by 109 runs. In Division Three, Pirates defeated Avengers by 44 runs.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
RESUTS - DIVISION ONE
Nile 156/10 Kutchi Tigers 157/4
Tornado Bee 194/6 Charity TF 195/5
SKLPS 137/10 Premier 139/4
Wanderers 212/10 Jinja SS 121/10
With the chasing pack stuttering in sequence, Tornado Bee know a fifth successive Jazz Safari National Cricket League title is around the corner.
The side are already counting their chances at halfway stage having finished the first round of the season unbeaten with another clinical five-wicket victory over Challengers at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
“Game was full of planning and we are happy to have executed the strategies,” impressed Tornado Bee captain Jeremy Kibuukamusoke told this paper after his side finished with 39 points from seven matches. “We must work harder in the next round and most importantly, ensure we beat immediate rivals Aziz Damani,” he added.
Challengers, the 2016 runners-up, cannot only muzzle about having lost their third game in six outings but even Irfan Afridi’s missed chance for a century was more painful. Following a slow start that had Challengers at 60-3 in 12.1 overs with only Naseer Ahmed (31 off 56) turning up, big hitter Afridi charged the innings again with six boundaries and seven meaty blows out of the park.
But the Pakistan-born star threw away his helmet in anger after he remained stuck on 94* off 88 at the non-striker’s end when Roger Mukasa bowled out David Wabwire (2 off 7) for last wicket to complete a decisive spell of 5/32 in 8.5 overs.
Challengers had set 209 in 43.5 overs. Tornado Bee fumbled in their early response, reeling at 9-2 after 1.4 overs. But Abdallah Lubega calmed the waters with an 83-ball 70 and, Deus Muhumuza (58*) and Cyrus Kibuukamusoke (36) completed the job with a 50-run stand.
DIV I - JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
Challengers 209/10 Tornado Bee 213/5
KICC 187/10 Charity TF 66/10
Avengers 164/10 Mwiri 165/8
ACC 96/10 Premier 66/10
When new Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) chairman Bashir Ansasira cut a relaxed pose at Lugogo Oval on Saturday, it was not that comfortable as it appeared.
Deep down, Richard Mwami’s successor felt the then ongoing annual UCA Awards could have been better.
Well, understandable, the awards ceremony would have graced a hall with the fraternity in suits and dresses like previous editions. But those in the hierarchy noted that there wasn’t much time to organise a glamorous event following the recent transition and happenings in UCA.
That though did not take the shine away as Henry Ssenyondo and Stephanie Nampiina were named the Most Valuable Players (MVP) for the 2016 season.
Challengers’ left-arm orthodox spinner Ssenyondo beat rival 2015 MVP Roger Mukasa of Tornado Bee to scoop the top gong having accumulated 47 wickets at an economy of 3.06 runs in the Jazz Safari National Men’s Division One 50-Over League.
“I feel happy and glad to have made it this far,” said Ssenyondo. To the contrary, his side lost the title to Tornado Bee but he hopes Challengers can push for the title.
“Hopefully we can go on and win this season. I pray I can maintain the form this year ahead of the World Cricket League Division III,” he said.
Mukasa was best batsman and fielder with 419 runs and 15 dismissals respectively. Arnold Otwani, who had four centuries, was named MVP in the men’s second tier with 735 runs, 14 wickets and six dismissals - backbone for Aziz Damani’s promotion. Jinja SS’ leg spinner Nampiina was best in the National Women’s Division One League after scoring 238 runs and picking 26 wickets last season. In the second division, Joyce Mary Apio only failed to take the best wicket-keeper (went to Premier’s Stella Kyabangi).
Olila’s Apio had six dismissals, 22 wickets and 178 runs to bag the best fielder, bowler, batter awards. The MVP honour inevitably headed her way too.
The script is almost similar to last year’s. Like 2015 where they won the first seven matches, Tornado Bee now have made it five in five after seeing off KICC by 30 runs at Lugogo Oval on Saturday.
The result meant that Tornado Bee completed the first round of six-team topflight tier with 29 points. But it was double delight for their coach Jackson Ogwang who was celebrating his 28th birthday on the day.
“When we met on Thursday, I asked the girls to deliver a win on Saturday,” said Ogwang.
Shortly after the win, his players toasted to his birthday with a surprise cake. “I did not know that there was cake,” he said, “I was astonished!”
But the party was almost not taking place had Tornado Bee not found quick remedy for KICC’s Rihanna Mutesi.
In her nine-over bowling spell, Mutesi took figures of 5/29 and Gloria Adubu had 2/31 but Patricia Munguryek (30* off 48) and Saidat Kemigisha (24* off 25) guided Tornado Bee to 140 in 36 overs. Mary Nanderenga (35 off 105) and Adubu (19 off 66) could hardly take the big chains off their feet. In the end, it was KICC’s fourth loss.
NATIONAL CRICKET LEAGUE
RESULTS - DIVISION ONE
Tornado Bee 140/10 KICC 110/10
Olila 118/8 Premier 72/10