Olila beat Pioneer to edge closer to title

Playing smart. Olila’s batter Esther Ilukor attempts to peel away for a run as Pioneer wicket-keeper keeps watch. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO  Playing smart. Olila’s batter Esther Ilukor attempts to peel away for a run as Pioneer wicket-keeper keeps watch. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO

Olila High School bolstered their chances for a maiden crown in the Jazz Safari National Women’s League after they beat direct rivals Pioneer by five wickets in Entebbe on Saturday.
 Oila, T20 champions a year ago, are courting league success after they wrapped up their five matches of the season with a sounding win to keep top of the six-team log.

 “It was good,” Olila’s team manager Felix Musana said after Olila inflicted first season defeat on Pioneer. “We executed as per our game plan and we are close enough to the title,” he said.  
 Pioneer, champions in 2015, had won all their opening three matches but fell in Entebbe and could mathematically be out of the title race after a rather below-par batting show.
 With Olila opting to field after winning the toss, Pioneer struggled to match the task at hand with skipper Barbara Mukankusi making 26 runs off 78 balls.

 As wickets fell under Joyce Mary Apio’s (5/23) command, Kenyan Quentoor Abel held Pioneer’s innings with an unbeaten knock of 33 runs off 46 before they were bowled out for 125 runs in 41.4 overs.
 Now Olila smartly chased the target with Esther Ilukor (29 off 27) and Sarah Akiteng (23 off 48) batting into their own favour. Abel had put up some resistance (2/30) with the ball but Olila was home at 126-5 in 28.1 overs. 
 Olila finished their season top with 23 points from five outings and Pioneer (16) in second can’t reach that target even if they win their last game.

Notwithstanding Jinja’s Claire Mukashamba’s 52* off 68, Damani relied on a half-ton from Margaret Banja (52 off 71) and an all-round show from Immaculate Nakisuyi (20 off 12 and 3/15) to take their tally to 12 points after three games.
 It means Damani must win their remaining two matches with bonus points to be champions or elsewhere, Olila’s tally is enough.

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