Drama-filled weekend for title chasers as Challengers stay top

One game was done before lunch in Kyambogo. Then ACC got 165 thanks to a swashbuckling 19-ball 52 from Robert Okot but it was Aziz Damani, who without having to bat, that were awarded victory at the King’s College Budo Oval. 
ACC’s crime? They took to the field for the second innings with less than nine players in matching jerseys.

In Lugogo, relegation-threatened Tornado almost pulled off a heist chasing 260 for victory against Patidar Samaj but bad-light put paid to any of their hopes.

Such was the intensity with which all games were played on Sunday, cricket lovers were left wishing they could catch all of the National Men’s Cricket League action.
Henry Ssenyondo single-handedly ensured that Challengers (48) remain atop the table with at least a 10-point cushion. The left-arm orthodox spinner prized out eight wickets as Wanderers collapsed for 73 runs.

Arthur Kyobe (35 off 24) and Mohammed Aneef (29 off 20) were unbeaten and brutal in the chase as Challengers sealed their eighth win of the season at Kyambogo.

At Lugogo, John Gabula (87 off 113) and Richard Okia (41 off 59) almost made Patidar pay for their clumsy fielding in the chase of 260 and the latter will have the umpires (Grace Mutyagaba and Michael Okoth) to thank for having extended time of play and forthwith helping them over the victory tape.

But the mother-of-all clashes was at the lakeside oval in Entebbe where a tense but low-scoring spectacle was played out between title hopefuls Nile and defending champions Tornado Bee. “We were lucky not to lose,” said Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke. “We still have a game in hand but more work to do.” 
Due to the closure of Kampala-Entebbe highway, Nile and, umpires Paul Okecho and James Bamulese arrived late. The morning showers further reduced the game to 33 overs. Simon Ayella (2/11) and Ivan Kakande (3/18) restricted Tornado Bee to 91 runs in 29.5 overs. Nile batsmen, too, caved in to Deus Muhumuza (2/5), Roger Mukasa (2/19) and Davis Karashani (3/18) but their captain David Musoke (40 off 88) stayed firm.

He stuck in with last man Alvin Bagaya, needing five runs to win off Charles Waiswa’s (2/21) final over. Musoke flicked Waiswa to tie but Waiswa got Musoke caught behind, two balls later, for a fascinating tie.

RESULTS - DIV. I 
Patidar 259/9 [249] Tornado 238/9 
Wanderers 73/10 Challengers 77/0 
Tornado Bee 91/10 Nile 91/10 
DIVISION TWO
ACC 165/10 Damani DNB
* Match awarded to Damani
SKLPS 350/10 Mwiri CC 119/10 
DIVISION THREE
Avengers 123/10 K’la Pirates 125/5
Strikers 228/10 JACC 60/10

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Tornado Bee in unfamiliar spot as Challengers top

Defending champions Tornado Bee find themselves in a spot of bother as the National Men’s Division One 50-Over League approaches the business end. In each of the past three seasons, Tornado Bee have been top of the league standings before emerging champions.

But a fourth straight title now looks unlikely for Tornado Bee. At halfway stage, the champions, with a game in hand, are second on the table with 34 points, eight behind toppers Challengers. Without a league crown to their name, Challengers seem to be the real deal this season. They appear determined to end Tornado Bee’s stranglehold on the title.

As the second round bowled off at the weekend, Challengers engaged a stronger gear, romping to a 104-run victory over 2011 champions Patidar Samaj at the Kyambogo Oval. 
“It was tense,” Challengers skipper Ivan Thawithemwira said after they ably defended 192 runs. “We did not score many runs but we had to defend the small total.” Opting to bat first, one would understand Thawi’s worries after the opening pair of Arthur Kyobe and Mohammed Aneef departed in a space of five balls.

The score board read 15-2 after 3.4 overs. Here, top season buy Hamu Kayondo reconstructed the innings with three boundaries and a six in a 38-ball 27.

“May be we got too excited before batting,” Kayondo stated. “The wicket looked good to play on but it was actually turning.” His 45-run fourth-wicket combo with Thawi (20 off 14) was supported by late solid knocks from Derrick Bakunzi (23 off 35) and Abraham Alema (24 off 58). Spinners Naseer Ahmad (3/12) and Henry Ssenyondo (3/16) crippled Patidar’s batsmen swiftly but only Gurang Patel (28 off 58) battled the wrath. They were eventually bowled out on the penultimate ball of the 33rd over.

Tornado Bee did not face sister side Tornado on Sunday after umpires Grace Mutyagaba and James Bamulese deemed the soggy Lugogo Oval a outfield unplayable. “Sewage flooded on the field,” Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke revealed. Although they have a game in hand, Tornado Bee could plunge into a state of panic with Challengers showing no signs of faltering.

Unblemished record

It is the first time in four seasons that Tornabo Bee are starting the second round off the league summit. They are second behind Challengers but have a game in hand.

Men’s 50-over league 
DIVISION ONE
Challengers 192/10 Patidar 88/10 
(Challengers won by 104 runs)

KICC 120/6 Kutchi Tigers 68/10 
(KICC won by 52 runs)
DIVISION TWO
Premier 103/10 Mwiri 81/10 
(Premier won by 22 runs)
DIVISION THREE
Avengers 198/10 JACC 53/10 
(Avengers won by 145 runs)

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Challengers sting Tornado Bee in Entebbe

They may have survived the relegation monster last year but Challengers Cricket Club are now showing all signs of potential National Men’s Division One 50-Over League title contenders.
Having suffered a painful 117-run loss to KICC two weeks back, Challengers showed character by dusting themselves very quickly to beat defending champions Tornado Bee by 45 runs at the lakeside oval in Entebbe on Sunday.


“We had a few in-house problems (against KICC) which we sorted,” Challengers captain Mohammed Aneef told Daily Monitor after their third win in four matches.


“By picking ourselves up with a win over the champions clearly shows we want to dethrone them.” Interestingly, defeat for Tornado Bee was not only the first in three games but also, it was their maiden loss in 12 limited-overs matches since the shock four-wicket loss to KICC on June 7, 2015.
“We did not apply ourselves well with the bat during the chase,” Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke admitted.


Unlike last year’s run fest between the two, this was a low-scoring contest. After Aneef opted to bat, top-order pair Arthur Kyobe and Daniel Ruyange struggled to play on the unpredictable wicket. 
But Hamu Kayondo (22 off 46), Naseer Ahmed (25 off 43) and Ivan Thawithemwira (34 off 64) resisted John Mpande (3/21) and Deus Muhumuza’s (2/23) tricky bowling spells for Challengers to set 160 in 47.2 overs. Aneef (4/20) and left-arm spinner Henry Ssenyondo (4/16) shared eight scalps, enough to stifle their opponents’ mission. Only Roger Mukasa stood out with a run-a-ball knock of 39.

SUNDAY league RESULTS 
DIVISION ONE
K. Tigers 279/10 Wanderers 145/10 
Challengers 160/10 Tornado Bee 115/10

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KICC, third-placed Challengers seek fine season finishes

 Since Tornado B earned the required point to seal their third successive National Men’s Division One 50-Over League title last Sunday, there are now new points of focus.
The remaining interest lingers around how and where the rest of the beaten pack will finish by the time the championship folds up later this month. With Nile (55 points) appearing to have sealed second, the battle for third place is still alive. Challengers (40) can leapfrog Kutchi Tigers (44) and take it only if Mohammed Aneef and company can beat Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) at Kyambogo Oval today. 
“If all players turn up and perform on any day, Challengers can’t be matched,” said Aneef whose side has struggled with perpetual absence of key players. Arthur Kyobe, Arnold Otwan and Ivan Thawithemwira hold the mantle for a Challengers’ side that survived the knife by two whiskers last season. But Sudhir Ruparelia-funded KICC (31) will hope to win and keep their battle for fourth alive as well. 
“If we can win our two remaining matches, we’ll finish fourth,” KICC’s Hanumant Katkar said.

Men’s 50-over league 
KICC vs. Challengers, Kyambogo
WOMEN’S MEHTA T20 PL 
Pioneer vs. Wanderers, Lugogo 


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Kyobe blitz scripts Challengers’ 13 successive T20 victory

Holders Challengers made a huge statement of intent by comfortably defeating star-studded Tornado B by 70 runs in a crunch National Twenty20 Cricket League tie at the lakeside oval in Entebbe on Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t think it was going to come this easy,” Challengers’ skipper Mohammed Aneef told Daily Monitor soon after the one-sided show. The victory not only extended Challengers’ T20 unbeaten streak to seven matches this season but also to 13 since last season’s competition in March 2014. Challengers were reeling at 28-2 after 4.5 overs but opener Arthur Kyobe repaired the innings with an unbeaten powerful knock of 96.
The left-hander’s exhibition of controlled aggression comprised eight boundaries and four sixes. 
“I did everything right so it’s not my fault,” a delighted Kyobe said when asked whether he didn’t rue missing out on a ton by four runs.
To highlight his intensity in the 69-ball knock, Kyobe scored 12 runs off left-armer Charles Waiswa’s third over and pummeled another 18 off the paceman’s final over as Challengers set 144 for 6. 
And once Aneef (3/15) bowled opener Roger Mukasa for a golden duck, it was all over for Tornado B.

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