Aziz Damani, Kutchi Tigers in Jazz League title decider

Aziz Damani Cricket Club! Yes, that one. 
It is the name on everyone’s lips in circles of the Gentleman’s Game. 
They have bossed the Jazz Safari National League season like never before. Their unbeaten run of 10 wins in as many defines their prowess.

They are 18 points clear at the top of the eight-team log with a maximum 60 points. That statistic has a motto: ‘Do not mess with us,’.
Damani has beaten every team and their cruise sees them now a win away from their second league title in two years.
Even if there are four matches to play, Damani only need to beat second-placed Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo Oval today to be affirm the yellow and green ribbons on the trophy.

Allure of 100% record
“We would love to finish unbeaten if possible but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Damani’s boss Siva Koti stated after last weekend’s 143-run win over Challengers in Entebbe. 
“So we would love to secure the title first,” he added. 
Knowing the mathematics, Tigers will hope to roar at the right time and stop what seems to be untouchable. 
Tigers’ skipper Alphesh Hirani knows there is little they can do to stop Damani’s league success.

Tigers can pounce
Little wonder he could afford a phone chat with Siva after last Sunday’s action.
But Hirani knows the Tigers can put on hold to Damani’s early title celebrations or most importantly, punch a hole into their solid bulging balloon encrypted: ‘the invincible ones’. 
The rest of the league sent Challengers to stop Damani last weekend but their batsmen Hamu Kayondo, Arthur Kyobe and Kamal Shahzad didn’t click in partnerships. 
Now Damani’s bowling unit has to deal with a Tigers’ batting line-up that has Ronak Patel, who hit an unbeaten 82-ball 105 century in their 185-run win over Premier last Sunday. 
Most of Damani’s players form the core of the senior national team - The Cricket Cranes - so they know what to expect and how to plot for another finisher in left-hander Dinesh Nakrani. Ankit Patel’s qualities cannot be overlooked.

Harmless chasing pack
Damani’s captain Ghulam Hunzai knows if they skipped the Tigers’ hurdle, neither a depleted and off-form Tornado Bee, struggling Ceylon Lions and youthful Strikers can hurt their flawless streak.

JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
TODAY’S FIXTURES - DIV. ONE -10.30am
Kutchi Tigers vs. Aziz Damani, Lugogo
Premier vs. Tornado Bee, Kyambogo 
Ceylon Lions vs. Strikers, Entebbe
DIVISION TWO
Avengers vs. KC Budo, Budo 
Nile vs. Wanderers, Jinja

LEAGUE TABLE STANDINGS 
Team P W L NR Pts NRR
Aziz Damani 10 10 0 0 60 3.16
Kutchi Tigers 10 7 3 0 42 1.09
Challengers 11 6 5 0 35 0.61
Strikers 9 4 4 1 25 0.25
Tornado Bees 9 4 4 1 25 -0.76
KICC 11 4 7 0 22 -1.15
Ceylon Lions 11 3 8 0 18 -0.26
Premier 11 2 9 0 11 -2.80
*NR denotes No Result 
* NRR denotes Net Run Rate

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Damani dominance in air after winning T20 title

Ugandan sport has witnessed spells where teams dominate different disciplines. 
The SC Villa of the 1980s’ stands out. The good old Falcons and today’s City Oilers will be remembered for years in men’s basketball.

Tornado Bee had its share a few years ago in club cricket but something bigger could be brewing.
Yet again, Aziz Damani Masaka Cricket Club was at the top of the podium after the ladies clinched their maiden Mehta Twenty20 Premier League title on Saturday.

Only four years old, Damani has swept all accolades on offer on the men’s front bar the T20 title and for the women’s team formed a year ago, the tree is dropping fruits faster than expected. On Saturday, Damani ably chased a target of 103 runs to stop Olila High School from retaining the T20 crown in the final washed by a sizeable number of fans at Lugogo Oval. “Today is our day,” Damani CEO Siva Koti would say at the podium, moments before captain Gertrude Candiru lifted the trophy in company of teammates.

As Right Said Fred’s famous Stand up for the champions played at 6:04pm, the imagination of a firm grip by Damani on Uganda’s cricket would sink in.

Damani’s men are on course to retain the topflight title following six successive wins. 
And for the ladies, coach Yusuf Nanga has laid firm foundation with students from Masaka SS and now blends with stars like Teddy Oyella, Kenyan experience, stars captain Candiru and Immaculate Nakisuyi.

The tournament cusp belonged to Nakisuyi. In the final, she first picked figures of 3/10 as they stopped 2017 winners Olila at 102-9 majorly thanks to Esther Iloku (34 off 32) and Gloria Obukor (19 off 23). With the bat, Nakisuyi showed a fine glimpse of the future by top-scoring with a pivotal 30 runs off 19 balls including three boundaries and a six.

Kenyan import Sarah Bhakita stood out as well with a 22-ball 24 as her experience came to the fore when Olila’s cast forgot the basics under pressure.

Damani were home in 16.2 overs, sparking off celebrations accompanied with Shs1m and as many packs of sugar from sponsors Mehta.

“We tried to play out all our 20 overs,” said winning coach Nanga. “It is important that we have won here which inspires our feeder team, ” he added.

WOMEN’S T20 LEAGUE RESULTS
FINAL
Olila High 102/9 Aziz Damani 106/6 
(Aziz Damani won by 5 wickets)
SEMIFINALS 
KICC 89/9 Olila High 90/1
(Olila High won by 9 wickets)
Aziz Damani 129/7 Pioneer 91/6
(Aziz Damani by 35 runs)

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Charity stun Tornado Bee to blow title race wide open

Something unusual is happening in the Jazz Safari National League for the first time in nearly half-a-decade.


Defending champions Tornado Bee have their fifth successive title ambitions in jeopardy after losing their first match of the season by five wickets to Charity Trust Fund at Entebbe on Sunday.


Cruising to the title has been the order of the day for Tornado Bee, staving off competition from Tornado, KICC, Nile and Challengers with relative ease over the years.
That shocking Entebbe accident in their second round opener left Tornado Bee second with 39 points from eight matches.


It has further blown the title race wide with leaders Aziz Damani, only promoted this year, holding a 10-point advantage after nine outings.
Most importantly, Tornado Bee captain Jeremy Kibuukamusoke should still be regretting the decision to bat first on a damp wicket.
“It was a wrong call,” admitted Kibuukamusoke, whose side struggled to set 194-6 after 50 overs.


“The wicket played well in the afternoon.” And that played into Charity’s hands, making it three wins in nine matches. “Tornado Bee batted too slowly at the start yet our openers did the contrary,” skipper Lawrence Ssempijja noted.
Proof? Tornado Bee were 35-1 after 15 overs and it is a 99-run second-wicket partnership between Akbar Baig (44 off 116) and Lawrence Ssematimba (50 off 70) that temporarily got them out of the rut.

Knock of urgency 
Fred Achelam’s 31-ball 38 signified more of his maturity but there was less that came through from the rest of the batsmen because left-arm orthodox bowler Innocent Ndawula (3/43) stemmed the runs flow. The spinner is on form having picked career best figures of 7/54 against Damani over a week ago.


When the wicket let loose in the afternoon, Charity conjured a rare brilliant batting start, with openers Ronald Opio (38 off 55) and Simon Ssesaazi (15 off 25) making 59 runs for the first wicket in 12.5 overs.


Then a 96-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Steven Wabwose (48 off 60) and Man of Match (MOM) Jonathan Ssebanja (56* off 67) steered Charity further ahead.
Lanky Cosmas Kyewuta’s 20* off 18 steered Charity home in 38.5 overs, leaving the stunned opponents led by William Kibuukamusoke in unbearable pain.
Across the Nile River, traditional giants Wanderers secured one of the most comfortable wins of the season when they overcame Jinja SS by 109 runs. In Division Three, Pirates defeated Avengers by 44 runs.

JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE 
RESUTS - DIVISION ONE 
Nile 156/10 Kutchi Tigers 157/4
Tornado Bee 194/6 Charity TF 195/5
DIVISION TWO
SKLPS 137/10 Premier 139/4
Wanderers 212/10 Jinja SS 121/10

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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 start chase for historic fourth title

At every turn, there is something new about the 2016 National Men’s 50-Over League. 
What stands out most is the new five-team Division Three tier whose games will be played on Saturdays.
Fast forward up, the ardent cricket fans will witness new-look teams when the Division One contests get underway at three different Ovals today.


Tornado Bee will present the same hunger as they seek to win their fourth successive title. 
The holders have stuck to all their old guards and a surprise recruit Deus Muhumuza from Tornado should bolster a perfect start against Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) at Kyambogo.
“The club management insists we go for it (the trophy) again and we’ll just do that,” Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke told Sunday Monitor.

 

Big acquisitions 
While they’ve added only one, KICC had several byes and buys during off-season. Of the inclusions, there is a massive capture of Arthur Ziraba and Frank Nsubuga from 2012 winners Tornado.
“Their experience is key if we are move from mediocre ranks to title challengers,” KICC’s captain Hamunant Katkar noted.


Interestingly, spinner Nsubuga leaves after 13 years at Tornado. “I needed to get the feel of change of environment and hopefully, we’ll start well against the champions.” he said.
Katkar’s smile can even go wider as top-order batsman Hamza Saleh is back in the fray having sat out last year.
Elsewhere, Wanderers are back to the topflight but the 2012 runners-up will be devoid of Hamu Kayondo who switched to join Challengers. His first task is comes up against his former side at Lugogo.


Expect veteran Wanderers’ coach Sam Walusimbi to cut that forlorn figure should Kayondo punish his bowlers. 
Depleted Tornado, who also lost Cricket Cranes skipper Brian Masaba to Aziz Damani, will be the underdogs against last year’s surprise package Nile at Entebbe.

Men’s 50-over League
Today’s fixtures: 10:30am
Division One
Wanderers vs. Challengers Lugogo
KICC vs. Tornado Bee Kyambogo
Tornado vs. Nile Entebbe

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Jinja SS retain T20 title

Thrilling is a word inappropriately used many a time. But to say the Mehta Premier League T20 finale between Jinja Secondary School and Pioneer Cricket Club at Lugogo Oval on Sunday was overly exciting would be an understatement.


Jinja SS defended their trophy in style by outwitting this year’s National Women’s 40-Over League champions Pioneer by seven runs in the Super Over decider. It was that sort of day for coach Habibu Mugalula’s student-packed side that had earlier rallied to edge Sam Walusimbi’s Wanderers by four runs in the tense low-scoring semifinal duel.


But tactics and passion bettered experience and reputations as Mugalula’s girls showed a lot of character to equal the set target of 81 after they looked short of ideas at 58 for 5 in 14.3 overs. Captain ‘Fantastic’ Claire Mushakamba (17 off 21) and the well-built Dinah Adong (13 off 13) dug deep and ensured Jinja SS would live to fight one more time in the lottery that is the Super Over. It was the same combo of Adong (5*), Mushakamba (1) and best batter Rita Musamali (4*) that helped amass 10 runs in the Super Over before Musamali returned with ball to give away on three runs in five balls as Pioneer ran out of resources with the pair of Player of Series Pricco Nakitende (1) and Best Bowler Carol Namugenyi (0) run out to leave big-hitter Franklyn Najjumba stranded at one end.


“We got our tactics wrong in the Super Over,” Rita Tinka, Pioneer CC’s manager said. “We should have given the ball to a different bowler in the Super Over and we got our batting combination wrong too. At least everyone chipped in.”
For Mushakamba, the finale was won in the dugout. “Our tactics were better. Our coach (Mugalula) asked us to deny them singles and they played into our hands.


They were looking to go big and that is why they didn’t get more than 81. We are happy to end the tough year with a trophy.”

 

T20 MEHTA PREMIER LEAGUE
Results - Semifinals
Pioneer 64/7 Charity TF 61/9
Jinja SS 46/7 Wanderers 42/9
Final
Pioneer 81/6 Jinja SS 81/7
Super Over Decider
Jinja SS 10/1 Pioneer 3/2
Jinja SS win by 7 runs

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Tornado B land third straight league title

For the third time in a row, it will be green and orange ribbons on the National Men’s Division One 50-Over League trophy after Tornado B earned more than the required point in their washed-out derby against sister side Tornado at Kyambogo Oval on Sunday. 
In securing the feat, Tornado B became the third different club in local history to complete a hat-trick. “We’ve scored a hat-trick and this is history,” a jubilant Tornado B skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke told Daily Monitor.

To add to their 2013 and 2014 gongs, two points from the Sunday game moved them to 56 points to pip Nile (54) with a game to spare. “It feels great,” exhilarated wicket-keeper Nicholas Kebba said. “It was a long and hard fought campaign,” he said. 
Kibuukamusoke added: “We worked more as a unit. We knew we would have individual performers but we had to do it together.” Knowing they needed only a point from two matches ahead of Sunday, Tornado B players cut relaxed poses throughout. Star player Roger Mukasa made 14 fours and three maximums in an 85-ball 118 ton - his fourth of the season.

Before joining teammates for a barbecue and a few drinks at lunch, Mukasa had shared a 130-run combo with Davis Karashani (66 off 64) for Tornado B to set 281/8. Tornado managed only 18-2 before the skies opened for good after 7.2 overs. Tornado B will hold a party after their last match against Challengers tentatively this Sunday but also plan a five-day trip with selected fans to Nakuru, Kenya next month.

ROLL OF HONOUR
2011: Patidar Samaj 
2012: Tornado
2013: Tornado B
2014: Tornado B
2015: Tornado B

Nile continue to show hunger for league title

 Defending champions Tornado B and season surprise package Nile picked up contrasting wins to maintain grip of the National Men’s Division One 50-Over League summit on Sunday.
For holders Tornado B, they did not even stretch a muscle after the umpires of the day Patrick Makumbi and John Trust Mayeku awarded them a walk over. Their opponents Rounders arrived more than 20 minutes late at the lakeside oval in Entebbe. 
But 1995 winners Nile relied on a decent batting onset to defeat Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) by four wickets at the University Oval in Kyambogo. “This win is very key to us,” said Nile’s stand-in skipper Martin Ondeko. “The fact that Tornado B didn’t get a bonus point gives us a slight advantage. We are hoping they falter along the way.”
The result meant Tornado B and Nile are at the summit with 52 points apiece, the latter with a game in hand. And relatively, the pair are in a league of their own since the chasing pack is 20 points adrift. Sixth-placed KICC (29), champions some 17 years ago, would have scripted a different story had their top-order contained Nile’s Ivan Kakande (3/30) and Kenneth Waiswa (5/33).

NATIONAL MEN’S 50-OVER LEAGUE
WEEKEND RESULTS - DIVSION ONE
KICC 183/10 Nile 184/6
(Nile won by four wickets)
Tornado B vs. Rounders
(Tornado B got a walkover)
DIVISION TWO
Premier 220/10 Wanderers 188/10
(Premier won by 32 runs)
ACC 282/7 [298] Patidar 149/9
(ACC won by 149 runs via D/L)

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