- Published in National League
There was no wooden spoon for the Baby Cricket Cranes and more importantly no relegation to the Africa Division II as Uganda wrapped up its bittersweet campaign at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under 19 Africa World Cup Qualifier in Windhoek, Namibia on Sunday.
The last three countries on the log; fiery West Africans Sierra Leone, neighbouring arch-foes Kenya, who were at the last World Cup in 2018 New Zealand and bottom finishers Tanzania will have to go through the ignominy of playing Division II qualifiers next year to earn the right to play at this level again, in 2021.
But that consolation didn’t suffice to the many fans that were pregnant with expectation that this particular generation of U-19s would halt the wait to appear in another World Cup since the 2006 crop that played in the Sri Lanka edition.
It was a little too late for Uganda, even after Uganda mauled Tanzania by 8 wickets with a 226 balls remaining in the last round of this tense, thrilling and action-packed showpiece.
Uganda’s top order batsmen struggled for rhythm early on in the tournament and even when they got starts, they were guilty of not converting.
The only time it happened against Tanzania, coach Jackson Ogwang’s boys steamrolled their opponents Tanzania; making a mockery of their set score of 144 runs by chasing it down in just 12.2 overs.
Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who was the only player with a senior national team cap, oscillated between mediocrity and flashes of brilliance.
A free-scoring stroke maker Arinaitwe primarily held Uganda’s key to progress because of his prior exposure.
When he muscled a 30-ball 69 against Namibia, Uganda were in dreamland but his dismissal at 74 runs in 7.2 overs signaled the end of Uganda’s hunt for the hosts set score of 250.
Against Tanzania in what the Ugandan contingent in Windhoek termed as their ‘grande finale’, Arinaitwe showed his well-documented destructive nature with a 40-ball 102 that was littered with six boundaries and nine beautiful sixes - an innings of super timing.
Uganda’s bowling which will hardly take too much blame on this particular trip; had earlier on held fort. Opening bowler Juma Miyaji returned stellar figures of 3 for 21 in 9.3 overs and captain Frank Akankwasa’s 10-over spell of spin prized out three scalps for a measly 33 runs.
There were more positives for the Baby Cricket Cranes as Tanzania’s batsmen; Ashish Shah (40 off 91) and Aahil Jasani (28 off 56) opted to build a wall of attrition with tournament debutants; Pascal Murungi (aged 14) and Edwin Nuwagaba (aged 15), who is Arinaitwe’s younger brother, respectively snared two wickets and bowled a maiden first over in international cricket with the opponents’ innings ending in 48.3 overs.
Such was Uganda’s final flourish but it was a little too late as it will be Nigeria going to first-ever U-19 World Cup.
Aziz Damani ladies cricket team has blossomed way beyond expectation at the grand stage of the game this year.
When Immaculate Nakisuyi delivered a master class to earn them their maiden Mehta Twenty20 Premier League title on June 23, little did they know that the crown in the longer format was close.
Now they were nearly flawless as they sealed a season double after clinching the topflight Jazz Safari National Women’s League title at the weekend.
Needing a victory with a bonus point to eclipse Olila High School and Pioneer, Damani’s wish was granted as they dispatched the old good and now minnows Wanderers by eight wickets the University Oval in Kyambogo to grab the silverware.
“We are grateful because it was not easy,” Damani ladies’ coach Yusuf Nanga said. It is the first time a ladies’ club is winning a season double since Wanderers did so in 2013.
It is also the first time that a franchise has won the same title on offer across both men and women’s fronts since Tornado Bee won the league gongs in 2016. Wanderers too won the T20 titles in 2013.
On Saturday, after both teams got off late, Wanderers’ batters Hilda Kabaseke (34* off 98 balls) and Racheal Kagoya (10 off 38) by passed hurdles from Consy Aweko (2/15) and Nakisuyi (2/18) to set 84-6 in 35 overs.
Damani ably chased the target in 15 overs with Jenifer Nabwana producing an unbeaten knock of 37 runs off 49 balls while player of the match Sylvia Kinyua got 23 off 17.
Wanderers’ Shakira Sadick’s 1/23 in four overs was rendered a footnote in the script.
Wanderers 84/6 Aziz Damani 87/2
(Damani won by 8 wickets)
Tornado Bee 95/9 Tornado 77/9
(Tornado Bee won by 18 runs)
JACC 44/10 Ceylon Lions 45/5
(Ceylon Lions won by 5 wickets)
Damani 24 points
Olila HS 23
Jinja SS 9
By Darrren Allan Kyeyune
It takes a great level of keenness to notice sweet emotions flying all over the senior national men’s cricket team camp.
And they are all coming at a time after fixtures for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three due November 6-21 in Oman were released on August 22. That very day was Cricket Cranes’ captain Roger Mukasa’s 29th birthday.
On the next day, coach Steve Tikolo celebrated his 21st marriage anniversary in an emotional post on his Facebook account. So howzat!
One underlining factor is that there is no fear or pressure ahead of this crucial showpiece for Team Uganda. The vibes in the non-residential camp are getting better ever since they won the ICC WCL Division IV title in Malaysia back in May.
“After Malaysia, we have added a few players like Ronak (Patel) and Dinesh (Nakrani) and we have continued with our normal progress,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor yesterday.
“Division III is important for us to progress to Division II and it is coming in six months which is not bad in terms of team momentum.”
But the Kenyan legend further warns; “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we still need to do the basics right and we cannot be complacent.”
Like the rest of the team, Tikolo is sparing more time to think on how to tackle the humid conditions of Oman and pass the five-match puzzle at the six-nation tournament.
“The Oman conditions are no different from those of Malaysia and that is in the sense of the same sub-continent type of wickets. We did not see too many in Malaysia but Uganda is one of the few teams that averaged 200 runs.
From what we saw in the ICC World T20 Africa B Qualifier in Rwanda, Ronak and Dinesh have brought in some good morale but batting is an area that we need to work on and as well as tighten the death bowling.”
Speaking of bowling and spin-favouring wickets in the Arabian Peninsula, Tikolo interestingly has more medium pace bowlers (Charles Waiswa, Bilal Hassun, Riazat Ali, Deus Muhumuza, Jonathan Ssebanja and Nakrani) than spinners (Irfan Afridi, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga plus part-timers Brian Masaba and Mukasa) in the team. But he sees things differently.
“Let’s not look at one side of the pace bowlers’ game. Don’t forget that Dinesh, Deus and Riazat can get you runs,” Tikolo argued.
“As a technical bench, we will not assume anything. We shall do our ground work and hopefully be in Oman at least three days before the tournament.”
Paying back the faith
On Tuesday, Tikolo repaid the faith in teenage batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe who has been scoring centuries for fun over the past three months.
He is into the team selected by the UCA Selection Committee that will represent Uganda at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) hosted Africa T20 Tournament due September 14-16 before taking part in three 50-over warm-up matches against Kwazulu-Natal Inland and the South Africa Academy teams set for September 17-21. But Ronak is unavailable, Jonathan Ssebanja has again been overlooked whereas Ssenyondo joins his little brother Simon Ssesaazi in the reserves of the notable selections and omissions made to the Rainbow Nation.
Then after the buffer month of October, Uganda will start its quest for Division II cricket against Denmark and USA on November 9 and 10 in Muscat but the gaffer hasn’t put much focus onto the itinerary that has three reserve days and as many off-days.
“At the end of the day, the rest days will be a benefit for all teams unlike the previous WCL tournaments where there are back-to-back games which take a toll on the players,” concluded Tikolo.
TEAM TO SOUTH AFRICA FOR T20s
Players: Brian Masaba (vice captain), Fred Achelam (wicket-keeper), Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Roger Mukasa (captain), Hamu Kayondo, Dinesh Nakrani, Muhammad Irfan, Frank Nsubuga, Charles Waiswa, Kenneth Waiswa, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Bilal Hassun, Riazat Ali Shah
Reserves: Henry Ssenyondo, Simon Ssessazi, Emmanuel Issaneez
Officials: Jackson Kavuma (Manager), Steve Tikolo (Coach), Jackson Ogwang (Assistant Coach)
POOLS - AFRICA T20 CUP
Pool A - Pietermaritzburg:
KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns,
KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, Uganda and
Pool B – Oudtshoorn:
South Western Districts, Free State,
Gauteng, Northerns and Zimbabwe;
Pool C – East London:
Border, Eastern Province, Kenya,
Mpumalanga and Namibia
Pool D – Paarl:
Boland, Limpopo, Nigeria, Northern Cape
and North West.
By Innocent Ndawula & Darren Kyeyune
Sixteen-time record winners Busoga College Mwiri and defending champions Jinja Secondary School made it a perfect three after three matches on Day Two of the 2018 Schools Cricket Week yesterday.
U-19 star Ronald Opio was the star as Mwiri defeated Rwanda Select XI by six wickets at Lugogo in the morning with spell of 2 for 9 that restricted the visitors to 96 all out in 18.1 overs and later returned with the bat for 21-ball 27 to knock off the desired runs in 15.3 overs.
Opio was at it in the afternoon with 15 runs off 13 balls as Mwiri chased down Masaka SS’ set target of 57 in just 7.5 overs for a seven-wicket win. Jinja SS also added to Monday’s perfect start with a commanding nine-wicket triumph over St James SS Jinja after the later set on 87.
Yesterday’s centurion Okecho managed 29 off 23 to remain atop the runs charts but it was Joel Elelu (4/3 in 4) that took the match gong.
But the news of the day belonged to 15-year-old Juma Miyagi, who plies his trade for Ceylon Lions in the National League. The Mukono Parents all-rounder picked up two Man of the Match awards as his school overcame St James SS Jinja by 33 runs and Ntare School by 157 runs at King’s College Budo.
In the first game, Miyagi bowled impeccable lines enroute figures of 4 for 9 in 3.2 overs to restrict St James, who were chasing 243, to just 86 runs all out.
In the afternoon, the Baby Cranes player put on a masterclass with the bat to notch the tournament’s second ton of 104 off 49 balls. Coming on Miyagi peppered the boundary ropes 16 times with seven fours and nine monster sixes against Ntare School, who are just making a return to the national championship. Ntare’s consolation is that they had earlier got off the mark against Aga Khan School who they outlasted by 43 runs.
Day Three promises more fireworks today.
By Innocent Ndawula & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE
A n uncomfortable lull has settled over Uganda’s senior men cricket team. The Cricket Cranes are currently in Qatar figuring in only their second tour following last year’s astonishing relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division Four.
The relegation was initially greeted in unsparing terms, but there has since been a sharp reversal in tone. Before departing for the tour, which will have stopovers in not just Qatar but also India, Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo spoke candidly with local media. Tikolo said the preparations should be viewed more through the lens of an amplifier as opposed to clarifier. The Kenyan rang a slew of changes, with the pick seeing Davis Karashani, Arthur Kyobe and Lawrence Ssematimba overlooked.
While Karashani failed to extricate himself from academic duties at Makerere University where he is pursuing a Law degree, Kyobe and Ssematimba were in no uncertain terms deemed surplus to requirements.
The trio’s absence has made for an increasingly feverish atmosphere in the sense that the spotlight has been put on the three crucial facets of captaincy, opening gambit and wicketkeeping.
If Zephaniah Arinaitwe attacks the new ball with the trademark aggression that continues to belie his teenage years, Kyobe’s epitaph will well and truly be authored. It will in all honesty be a tragic footnote for the left hander whose career has been dazzlingly complicated. And that is putting it mildly.
Not one to go gently in the fading of afternoon into evening, expect Kyobe to chime with renewed purpose regardless of how Arinaitwe fares on the slow wickets in Qatar and India. Kyobe is not one to cower easily and he will stake his pressing claim to relevance on everything and anything.
The Challengers opening bat doesn’t have to be at his zestful best to talk up his chances. Such is his belief; it often arouses a steely and unflappable temperament. However, like a double edged sword, the powerful strain of the belief can either be a source of happiness or unending frustration.
Mirroring the opening gambit is the question of the captaincy. The question wouldn’t arise at all but for a gruelling undergraduate degree programme at Makerere University’s School of Law. The programme has seen Karashani and the Cricket Cranes not gently bump against one other as much as clash. Owing to this, Karashani’s availability for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Malaysia rests on a cornerstone of conjecture.
It’s not clear whether the erstwhile Cricket Cranes skipper will be writing his exams when the tournament occupies the backend of April and first week of May. If the two fail to meet each other halfway, then a new captain will have to be named.
Such an eventuality will leave Uganda heavily depleted. Not only would Karashani’s off break thrive on the slow Malaysian wickets, but also the player has over the years retooled his game by infusing his batting with dogged determination.
The 30-year-old’s captaincy — typified by aggressive field settings — will also be sorely missed. Roger Mukasa, who was named captain for the tour of Qatar and India, may be a gung-ho batsman, but his field settings are a tad too conservative.
It is hard to tell whether an approach that entails playing safe and letting opponents make mistakes will bring vast rewards for Uganda. For now, many Cricket Cranes fans’ preoccupation is with how the captaincy will affect Mukasa’s performance with the bat.
Elsewhere, with Ssematimba out of the picture, the burden of keeping wickets in Qatar and India will be shouldered by Naeem Bardai and youngster Fred Achelam. The glovework of both players is decent enough. While Bardai contributes more than Achelam with the bat, the former’s intermittent availability doesn’t stand him in good stead.
Achelam kept wickets as Uganda lost its first match of the bilateral series with Qatar Thursday. Mukasa complained about the weather being “too heavy” and “the ball...not travelling as it does back home.” Chasing 131 for victory in a T20 match, Mukasa and Arinaitwe brought up their 50 partnership well inside 10 overs, but Cricket Cranes lacked much-needed firepower after the two explosive openers departed.
This along with other problems (a knee injury picked up by Lloyd Paternott) means — the lull, or be it uncomfortable one, notwithstanding — it is pretty much a case of back to the future for the Cricket Cranes.
By Robert Madoi
There were no over-the-top celebrations as Uganda outmuscled Kenya by 69 runs in the highly-billed East African derby played at the Nairobi Jaffreys Sports Club Oval at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifier yesterday.
But no one should be fooled. The Baby Cricket Cranes know a thing or two about partying hard. But as the Kenyans jogged around the field for their warm down, skipper Kenneth Waiswa summoned the team for a huddle and quick prayer. They then sat on the oval infront of Uganda’s dugout for a team meeting to review the day’s performance with coaches; Franco Otieno, Jackson Ogwang, Steve Tikolo and David Obuya.
On their faces, it was visible they were happy they had got one over the old enemy but were not about to celebrate in the Kenyans’ faces because the job is only half done with another full round of fixtures to play starting today against Botswana, who suffered their third consecutive defeat after Ghana mauled them by six wickets at the Gymkhana Oval.
“It is not over,” said Otieno, a man who captained Kenya at the U-19 Level in 1998. “We have to remain calm and continue to do well over and over. There are areas we didn’t do well, when we panicked and where we failed to capitalise. We have to continue improving.”
Indeed there were a couple of jittery moments in both innings. When Zephaniah Arinaitwe (42 off38) helped Uganda breeze to 55 inside 7 overs and then connived to lose three quick wickets to stay in a precarious situation at 85 for 3.
The innings was revived by a 36-run fourth stand partnership between Steven Wabwose (44 off 59) and Waiswa (60 off 93) which was toppled by another one of 67 runs by the captain and all-rounder SirajeNsubuga (43 off 55) for the seventh wicket that ensured Uganda set 231.
Then although Kenya crumbled to 26 for 4 in the second innings. The 101-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Kenya captain Sachin Bhudia (52 off 66) and Thomas Ochieng (54 off 101) sent shivers down the Ugandan bowling’s spine and left the field in a disarray.
But Nsubuga (2/38 in 9.4 overs)’s clever dismissal of Bhudia (a caught and bowled) at 128 ignited Kenya’s collapse and the hosts were soon all out for 162 in 46.4 overs.
Today, Kenya run into a wounded Ghana whereas Uganda face Botswana looking to make it four not out as they chase the continent’s lone slot to New Zealand for the World Cup early next year.
By Innocent Ndawula