Unbeaten Uganda, Zimbabwe chase first slot to final

The two unbeaten sides; Uganda and Zimbabwe, at the on-going International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier clash in crucial encounter at the Wanderers Affies Oval today in Windhoek, Namibia.

Victory for either sides will not guarantee either of the sides a ticket to the global qualifying showpiece where the winner of the Africa Qualifying Event will meet other ICC regions winners including; Europe/Americas (Scotland & Netherlands), East Asia Pacific (Papua New Guinea) and two ICC Full Members (Bangladesh & Ireland).

But it will be one step closer to the coveted global qualifier scheduled for later this year or in early 2018 because the winner of today’s game will earn direct ticket to the Saturday’s all-important final.

The loser today will have a chance to still reach the final but fatigue and injury could halt their progress as they have to play an extra game – against the winner of the Namibia – Kenya encounter which will be the day’s curtain raiser.

“It is going to be a very tough game,” Lady Cricket Cranes coach Grace Mutyagaba, said after his team’s nets session yesterday. 
“But we know what to do. We must take it easy and embrace the game’s basics. I believe whoever shows willingness to exhibit them and hunger will carry the day.”
It will be a battle between Uganda’s clinical bowling and Zimbabwe’s power hitters.

The Ugandan sextet of Joyce Mary Apio, Rita Musamali, Stephanie Nampiina, Franklyn Najjumba, Consy Aweko and Gertrude Candiru run into the quartet of Zimbabwe’s polished batters; Ashley Ndiraya, Modester Mupachikwa, Chipo Mugeri and Precious Marange.

Uganda and Zimbabwe have six points apiece and none of them can slip to third whereas Kenya and Namibia are stuck on two and whoever finishes third will play the loser between the top two teams on the log. 
The loser will play Tanzania in the fourth-place playoff on Friday morning. Five teams are in the fray at this African showpiece.

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Senior side to offer Baby Cricket Cranes final test

Uganda cricket has consistently taken the stick since the nation suffered shock relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division Three last month. 
The interest for the gentleman’s game is not as huge as it was before May 23 on and off the oval. 
And the tiring mental constructs will take a while to fade away, more evidenced by low batting totals in recent Jazz Safari National League ties. 
The current senior men’s team generation has hinged on the class that partook at the 2004 and 2006 ICC U-19 World Cup tourneys. 
The inevitable feeling is to have new blood take up the spots.

The nation has a chance to forget the misery should the current U-19 side beat the odds and qualify for next year’s ICC Youth 50-Over World Cup in New Zealand. 
Unlike before, the Baby Cricket Cranes must finish top ahead of Kenya, Botswana and Ghana at the regional qualifier in Nairobi. 
“This team bats deep and that should do the jugular for us,” team’s coach Francis Otieno told Daily Monitor following a series of training sessions at Lugogo.

Squad cut in size
Otieno and assistant Jackson Ogwang trimmed their squad from 25 to 14 while dropping familiar names like Joseph Byaruhanga, John Gabula, Ronald Kinene, Juma Miyagi and Collins Okwalinga. 
Aziz Damani’s Kenneth Waiswa, who was dropped for the ICC WCL, is skipper and knows what’s at stake. “If we qualify for the World Cup, we can change the face of Ugandan cricket like it happened in 2006,” said the promising medium pacer. 
Waiswa will be deputized by Zephania Arinaitwe and the pair has two trial matches against their seniors tomorrow and on Saturday at Lugogo Oval. “Giving Arinaitwe means he must play with responsibility.” Otieno reasoned.

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By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Final bend for Nanji Kalidas Mehta Memorial Tournament

 Regular season form will count for nothing today when the four finest sides in the Nanji Kalidas Mehta Memorial Tournament lock horns for the big prize at Lugogo Cricket Oval.
Afridi XI are overwhelming favourites after topping the charts with 24 points after a flawless record from their six round-robin phase fixtures.
But for them to carry the day’s glittering trophy and Shs3m cash prize at stake, they will need their star man Irfan Khan Afridi and Lady Luck on their side as every side is itching to soil their record.
They take on a Keshwala side, who finished second with 16 points, that is not short of firepower and lively wires in the ranks.
KICC will curtain raise the day with a clash against MMK. Both sides finished the preliminary round with 12 points. But KICC captain Hanumant Katkar believes his side has a chance of making it to the finals. 
“We have a long route to victory,” said Katkar. “But we are going to take it one game at a time. We need three wins on the day.” Damani, Cosmas and MTN are the other sides that took part in the tourney.

KNOCKOUT FIXTURES 
VIRTUAL SEMIFINALS\
KICC vs. MMK, 9am
Afridi vs. Keshwala, 11am
FINAL ROUND
Winners Game 1 vs. Looser Game
2, 1.30pm
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game
3, 3.45pm

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