· Needing about 10 per over to win, Challengers’ openers Arthur Kyobe (58 off 27) and Hamu Kayondo (49 off 23) began with verve, stroking 93 runs off the opening 43 balls.
By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE
KAMPALA. The National Men’s Twenty20 Cup quarterfinals needed a huge spark like this one, considering a somber week in the cricket fraternity.
In arguably the best batting display of the year, a spirited fight by Challengers dwarfed Roger Mukasa’s blistering 58-ball 116 century to beat Tornado Bee by six wickets at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
“Chasing 196 runs was a team effort,” delighted Challengers captain Ivan Thawithemwira told this paper. “We showed we had belief and glory be to God,” his teammate Arthur Kyobe said.
For all the past four years they’ve dominated the local scene, Tornado Bee have failed to stamp a mark at this tournament. “The T20 Cup is still a myth to us,” skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke said.
This pick of the day’s four ties had only lived to the billing from the start to finish at the expense of the bowlers. After Kibuukamusoke opted to bat, Nicholas Kebba (5 off 11) and Lawrence Ssematimba (0 off 3) were sent for early showers to leave the side at 10-2 inside 2.5 overs.
Davis Karashani (36 off 39) combined with Mukasa for a rescue mission that delivered 142-run partnership. Here, Mukasa’s wagon wheel had 13 sixes and three boundaries across the field. “Being on the losing end after such an innings hurts,” Mukasa would later say. Once he departed after 18.4 overs, Charles Waiswa added a quick-fire 27* off 7 for Tornado Bee to set 195-4.
Needing about 10 per over to win, Challengers’ openers Arthur Kyobe (58 off 27) and Hamu Kayondo (49 off 23) began with verve, stroking 93 runs off the opening 43 balls.
Not even a brief collapse stopped the fire. Daniel Bakunzi made three maximums for a 20-ball 29 while Abraham Alema’s (11* off 6) stand-out flick to the side screen brought the 2014 champions closer.
When they needed five off Davis Karashani’s (1/46) last over to win, Daniel Ruyange (38* off 33) immediately hit a six to send his teammates into wild celebrations, opponents falling to the ground. “We showed we are the best team of 2016.” Kyobe added. Challengers set up a crunch semifinal tie this Sunday against unbeaten Aziz Damani who had earlier beaten Kutchi Tigers by 50 runs thanks to Shahzad Kamal’s 43 off 38.