Damani eye revenge in face of T20 cricket title

T20 winners
2016: Challengers
2015: Patidar Samaj
2014: Challengers
2013: Wanderers
2012: Tornado

Men’s T20 league
Semi-finals - Today at 10:30am
KICC vs. Kutchi Tigers, Lugogo
Aziz Damani vs. Challengers, Kyambogo
FINAL (3PM)
Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, Lugogo

KAMPALA. It is now only two matches that separate Challengers Cricket Club from a third National Twenty20 League title in a space of four years.
Should they beat the big stumbling block in Aziz Damani at the semi-final stage, another trophy could be within reach.

But there is a strange superstition in sport that it is difficult to lose twice to the same team in a particular competition.
On December 3, 2017, Challengers beat Damani by 16 runs in the group stages and their run has now gone to 10 straight victories.

One senses that one thing on the minds of Damani’s players when the two face off in what appears to be a ‘final before the final’ at Kyambogo this morning.
“We are going to revenge and possibly win the trophy,” Damani skipper Ghulam Hunzai told Sunday Monitor.

The 2014 and 2016 winners Challengers are only playing to cover up for a bizarre show in the longer format. “At the stage we are, we do not want to lose the momentum,” stated batsman Hamu Kayondo.

Damani is sharper with inclusions of Zimabwean Kai Roy and Indian Manoj Sai who made 60-ball 89* against 2012 finalists Charity in the quarterfinals.
But, Challengers’ opener Arthur Kyobe, recently dropped in the national team, could have a point to prove and as well close the 20-run gap between him and leading batsman Roger Mukasa (263 runs).

Meanwhile, no team in the second semi-final between KICC and Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo should be overlooked as Tigers’ imports Indian imports Jaydev Parmar, Rakesh Kahar, Vyas Nisarg and Saumil Patel pose a big threat.

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By Darren Allan Kyeyune

Ugandan sides could face off

In the aftermath of the Cricket Cranes debacle when they got relegated from the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III to IV a fortnight ago, the healing process is gradually continuing for the Ugandan cricket fraternity.

And the displays of the two Ugandan women franchises (U-19 Women & U-23 Women) at the ongoing Kwibuka Cricket For Peace T20 Tournament in Kigali, Rwanda could go a long way in ensuring there isn’t any more salt rubbed onto those (sinking feeling) wounds.

The Uganda Schools Combined XI (named U-19s by the event organisers) is the talk of the tournament after they turned on the style to notch the first upset of the meet – a one-wicket win over overwhelming favourites Kenya on Friday.

The student-packed side pulled off a stiff chase off 107 set by the full-strength Kenyan side with four balls remaining. Despite a terrific mid-order collapse, the quartet of Masaka SS’ Immaculate Nakisuyi (32 off 30), Kololo SS’ Hope Wanichan (17* off 15), Jinja SS’ Stephanie Nampiina (15 off 22) and captain Rita Musamali (12 off 14) ensured there was little left for the tail-enders as the Ugandan youngsters notched a famous win. Earlier on Thursday, the U-19s had made light work of the Rwanda National Women side when they chased down a set target of 52 with six wickets in hand and 60 balls remaining.

One win apiece 
Their seniors - the U-23 Women side – despite being short of practice have also made a good account of themselves. They went down to Kenya on Day One by five wickets but recovered in spectacular with a clinical 31-run over Rwanda.

Mary Nalule, who led the batting charts by press time with unbeaten scores of 29 and 21, has been their star thus far. And after spending at least a year in the cold, the 2012 Nile Special/Uspa Female Cricketer of the Year will certainly force the hand of the selectors with the team preparing for the ICC Africa Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Namibia later in September. The two Ugandan sides could face off in the final at Kicukiro Oval, but only if Rwanda claims a big scalp by upsetting regional powerhouse Kenya, who also have just one win, again. The two Ugandan sides were facing off each other in a virtual semifinal by press time.

KWIBUKA CRICKET FOR PEACE T20 TOURNAMENT
THURSDAY RESULTS
Rwanda 52/6 Uganda U-19s 53/4
(Uganda U-19s won by 6 wickets)
Uganda U-23s 78/5 Kenya 79/5
(Kenya won by 5 wickets)
FRIDAY RESULTS
Kenya 107/5 Uganda U-19s 108/9
(Uganda U-19s won by 1 wicket)
Uganda U-23s 106/6 Rwanda 75/4
(Uganda U-23s won by 31 runs)

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNEA

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