Kutchi Tigers punish lazy Strikers, Aziz Damani flying

It will take youthful club Strikers a little while to recover from their own mistakes that saw them lose for the second time in the Jazz Safari National League on Sunday. 
They were right on the money in pursuit of Kutchi Tigers’ set target of 248 but lost seven wickets in a space of 25 runs to loss by 88 runs at the University Oval in Kyambogo. 
“We just can’t believe it,” disappointed Strikers’ opener Zephaniah Arinaitwe told Daily Monitor.

Arinaitwe was the best batsman on the day with half-ton of 86 runs off 63 balls. “We should have won. We did our best but at some point, we heavily paid for lack of game awareness,” he added. Tigers had set 247-8 after the allotted 50 overs thanks to Dinesh Nakrani’s 77 off 95 and Anup Kerai’s 42 off 51 in front of Richard Agamire (2/45) and Frank Akankwasa’s (2/33) bowling resistance. Even if Arinaitwe gave Strikers a fine start, Alphesh Hirani and company remained firm.
Only Perry Wazombe (25 off 30) and Simon Okecho (11 off 17) could afford double figures, Strikers crumbling fast under Nakrani’s controlled medium pacers as justified by his parsimonious figures of 7/26.

It implies Tigers took their tally to 18 points from six outings while Lions have 21 from the same number of matches. Elsewhere, Aziz Damani got it easy following their opponents’ Challengers’ frail batting in Lugogo, winning for the fifth time in as many outings by five wickets after meeting a target of 126 runs inside 24.2 overs with Saud Islam’s 59-ball 50.

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Cricket Cranes seek flying start at Africa T20s

 It probably wasn’t appealing enough in the eyes of many as new skipper Brian Masaba was handed the national flag by National Council of Sports official David Katende during the Cricket Cranes’ flag-off at Lugogo to the Pepsi ICC Africa Twenty20 Championship on Wednesday.

The bitter truth is that the fraternity at large is either yet to brush off the recent failure at January ICC World Cricket League (ICC) Division II tourney in Namibia.

Or, many a fan were yet to offer full confidence to the faces in a new-look team that Masaba leads at this weekend’s continental showpiece in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“After that substandard show in Namibia, it is difficult to win over our fans that easily again,” Masaba concurred before the team flew out yesterday.

“But I urge the fans to count on us,” the batting all-rounder said. “The past is behind us and our vibrant side is ready to play and restore the pride of Ugandan cricket.” 

To quickly affirm his words, Masaba must mastermind an opening victory for the 2011 champions against southern neighbours Tanzania in Benoni this morning. “Once the players apply themselves as expected, we will be on course for a decent show,” added the former U-19 skipper. 
“Our two months of hard work must be vindicated with perfect start against the Tanzanians,” said Varinder Singh, one of the four debutants. 
“This is the time for some of us to perform and stamp our mark at the bigger stage,” another new comer Derrick Bakunzi, the current U-19 captain, chipped in.

With experienced Abram Mutyagaba having withdrawn from the set-up in the 1th hour, 2013’s tournament best batsman Arthur Kyobe (221 runs) will likely open the innings with 18-year-old Abdallah Lubega, who is having a second crack in the senior side after his short-lived first outing in 2011.

But Uganda must keenly watch Tanzania’s skipper Hamisi Abdallah, top order batsman Abhik Patwa, Athuman Kakonzi and enterprising all-rounder Benson Mwita.

The latter emerged the best bowler with an economy rate of 7.42 and 15 wickets as Tanzania finished third behind Uganda at the 2013 edition held in Kampala.

PEPSI ICC AFRICA TWENTY20 CHAMPIONSHIP
TODAY’S FIXTURES – BENONI (10am)
Uganda vs. Tanzania 
Namibia vs. Ghana 
Kenya vs. Botswana 

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