In the aftermath of the Cricket Cranes debacle when they got relegated from the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III to IV a fortnight ago, the healing process is gradually continuing for the Ugandan cricket fraternity.
And the displays of the two Ugandan women franchises (U-19 Women & U-23 Women) at the ongoing Kwibuka Cricket For Peace T20 Tournament in Kigali, Rwanda could go a long way in ensuring there isn’t any more salt rubbed onto those (sinking feeling) wounds.
The Uganda Schools Combined XI (named U-19s by the event organisers) is the talk of the tournament after they turned on the style to notch the first upset of the meet – a one-wicket win over overwhelming favourites Kenya on Friday.
The student-packed side pulled off a stiff chase off 107 set by the full-strength Kenyan side with four balls remaining. Despite a terrific mid-order collapse, the quartet of Masaka SS’ Immaculate Nakisuyi (32 off 30), Kololo SS’ Hope Wanichan (17* off 15), Jinja SS’ Stephanie Nampiina (15 off 22) and captain Rita Musamali (12 off 14) ensured there was little left for the tail-enders as the Ugandan youngsters notched a famous win. Earlier on Thursday, the U-19s had made light work of the Rwanda National Women side when they chased down a set target of 52 with six wickets in hand and 60 balls remaining.
One win apiece
Their seniors - the U-23 Women side – despite being short of practice have also made a good account of themselves. They went down to Kenya on Day One by five wickets but recovered in spectacular with a clinical 31-run over Rwanda.
Mary Nalule, who led the batting charts by press time with unbeaten scores of 29 and 21, has been their star thus far. And after spending at least a year in the cold, the 2012 Nile Special/Uspa Female Cricketer of the Year will certainly force the hand of the selectors with the team preparing for the ICC Africa Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Namibia later in September. The two Ugandan sides could face off in the final at Kicukiro Oval, but only if Rwanda claims a big scalp by upsetting regional powerhouse Kenya, who also have just one win, again. The two Ugandan sides were facing off each other in a virtual semifinal by press time.
KWIBUKA CRICKET FOR PEACE T20 TOURNAMENT
Rwanda 52/6 Uganda U-19s 53/4
(Uganda U-19s won by 6 wickets)
Uganda U-23s 78/5 Kenya 79/5
(Kenya won by 5 wickets)
Kenya 107/5 Uganda U-19s 108/9
(Uganda U-19s won by 1 wicket)
Uganda U-23s 106/6 Rwanda 75/4
(Uganda U-23s won by 31 runs)
By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNEA