Things change quickly and that is the nature of Twenty20 cricket. One commanding victory against arch-foes Kenya got Uganda’s camp buzzing again on Sunday.
The 53-run win was a true testimony of the huge talent in coach Jonathan Ssebanja’s side.
It got everyone talking and wondering what could have been ‘if’ the earlier games had been played with similar grit and gusto. With everyone thinking Uganda had dropped their shoulders and destined for the wooden spoon at this International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Women World T20 Qualifier, the omens came good. Captain Barbara Mukankusi won her first toss of the tournament, opted to bat and watched in delight as her openers Mary Nalule (33) and former skipper Naome Kayondo (24) raced to 55 without loss in 10 overs.
Uganda went on to tally the tournament’s second ton of 114, the other being Zimbabwe’s crushing 147 against the Kenyans, and then produced a clinical wicket-to-wicket bowling display to bundle out Kenya for 61.
“There is no team that has better players than mine in this tournament,” a relieved Ssebanja said. “We have been our own problem. The girls feared to express themselves because they fear to fail. In the end, they failed. We were also bowling three extras during our trial matches in Kampala, now we giving away in the excess of 15. Look at our losing margins, we are only hurting ourselves. And I don’t want to give the excuse of jetlag or that one of playing 160 overs in two days.”
And with the rest day yesterday helping the team to dust off the rust at the beautiful Harare Sports Club’s nets, Ssebanja still believes the Lady Cricket Cranes can pull off a shocker and pip Zimbabwe and Kenya on Net Run Rate (NRR), if other results go their way, to the lone slot to the ICC Women World T20 Global Qualifier in West Indies 2018. “We have Tanzania in the morning and Zimbabwe in the afternoon. Tanzania got us on the back foot. We now know them better and we will execute.”
Zimbabwe top the log with 12 points, Kenya are second on six, and Uganda third with three.