Unimoni T20 success seals best season for Aziz Damani

The Unimoni National Twenty20 Cup didn’t heed to the fact that sport hates dominance as the tournament wrapped up on Sunday.

It ended with familiar sights as Aziz Damani sealed a rare season double after beating perennial Cup finalists KICC by 31 runs at the University Oval in Kyambogo on a day largely devoid of sunshine.
Now Damani players have the mandate to demand for something more than a celebratory trip to Kenya from club owner Siva Koti. 
This is after they became the first club since Tornado back in 2012 to win both the T20 and limited-overs’ silverware.

Best day
“It is our best day,” Koti said moments after his common loud celebrations with the players at dusk with the trophy and a Shs2m dummy cheque from sponsors Unimoni.

Businessman Koti had won a black t-shirt on the day with a gigantic print of the face of an African lion, much to show much Damani had roared in the club cricket jungle this year. 
“We have won all trophies in the year,” he said of the double, also done by the Damani ladies. 
“We had planned for this and we have achieved it. We motivated the players and had good training,” he added.

The players must be happier. “It wasn’t easy but we did the basics right,” left-arm pace bowler Charles Waiswa said in front of television camera.

Damani defended the 50-Over League by going unbeaten over 14 matches but in the T20, they had been floored by Ceylon Lions via the group stages on November 24.

Somehow they found sweet revenge on Sunday when the two faced off in the morning semifinal at Lugogo, Damani successfully chasing a target of 142 runs. Lions had failed to stop them from getting 35 runs from the last 15 balls.

Challengers denied
On the other hand in Lugogo, KICC had denied three-peat chasing Challengers by winning a low-scoring thriller by 11 runs after Suleman Sharif and Irfan Afridi had put another customary stand-out batting show. But KICC must consult their gods more if they are ever to play a T20 Cup final. It turned out that they lost a third final, like it happened in 2014 and 2016 to Challengers.
“We are not cursed,” KICC captain Hanumant Katkar said, “We didn’t do enough to win it. May be we are just a little shy of the podium but we’ll get there someday,” he said.

Obviously, once beaten, twice shy for KICC but Damani as well had other ideas having failed to unlock the championship door even with four straight semifinals.

Captain fantastic
With Damani opting to bat first, they relied on Saud Islam’s 36-ball 47 to reach a safe total of 140-8 even if KICC bowlers Falak Shar (3/26), Afridi (2/33) and Davis Karashani (2/23) had been resistant.

Then Wassim Butt began the chase for KICC like a man on a mission, the opener stroking six boundaries and five sixes but his innings ended at the 12th over with a fine knock of 68 off 37.

Unfortunately, his teammates couldn’t supplement in a more distinct way, Damani’s Bilal Hassun (2/13) and Riazat Shah (4/17) clipping their small wings smartly. Butt was ‘consoled’ with a Player of Series accolade while Sharif was Best Batsman.

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Sweet T20 success for Olila

Olila High School Cricket Club spent the entire weekend on cloud nine after lifting the Mehta Women’s Twenty20 Premier League on the first time of asking on Saturday. The side beat two-time champions Jinja SS by 59 runs in a much boring one-sided final at Kyambogo Oval. “Great,” Olila team manager Felix Musana explained the feeling moments after deliver first fruits from the four-year-old Soroti Cricket Academy orchard. “It has been an effort,” Olila coach Ivan Kakande stated. “The girls know what they want and our Soroti project is taking the right path.” “All the hard work we put in finally paying off is priceless,” enchanted Musana, moments before taking his girls out for a drink at Legends. Saturday was a day perfectly crafted for Olila in literally every sense. Right after senior two student Gloria Obukor (2/6 in 3 overs) stopped Pioneer at 60-6, Margaret Banja (22-run-a-ball) and Racheal Ntono (17 off 34) easily got the target in 11.1 overs to win the morning semifinal. Yet while Olila rested, Jinja SS saw off Wanderers in the second semifinal by 23 runs after defending their 99-5 score through Stephanie Nampiina (2/5 in 4 overs) and Rita Musamali (1/15 in 4 overs). In the past, semifinals are played at Lugogo and Kyambogo, with the latter victor moving 5km to Lugogo for the final. Owing to the intensity in the field during matches of the shorter code, Jinja ought to have batted first after winning the toss in the final. But instead, they unanimously opted to field first, burning out and that playing into Olila’s favour. “The team chose to field first,” Nampiina would later say. “For me, it was about letting Olila bat first, prolong the final and give ourselves a chance,” Jinja coach Habibu Mugalula said. The impact of fielding 38 successive overs across two matches had Olila set 110-4 in 20 overs. Between the 14th and 17th overs, Jinja gave away 44 runs, Kenyan Sarah Bhakitah getting 21* off 15. But it was her country-mate Banja (37 off 53) who had taken the game away prior with a 43-run third-wicket partnership with Gertrude Candiru (27 off 26). MEHTA TWENTY20 PREMIER LEAGUE FINAL RESULT Olila HS 110/4 Jinja SS 51/9 (Olila HS won by 59 runs) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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