Back to back KBSC Night Cricket titles for ‘classy’ Keshwala Boyz

As the lights dimmed on Season 6 of the Kampala Boys Sports Club (KBSC) Premier League, Keshwala Boyz etched their names into history books as only the second franchise to win back-to-back titles on Saturday (July 21).

Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Board Trustee Ranmal Keshwala’s team defeated Haandi XI by 44 runs under the floodlights in a pressure-game that was watched by an animated and packed-to-the-rafters Lugogo Stadium.

Haandi XI, who also came close last season before falling short in the playoffs, must have been believing that this was their year after captain Irfan Afridi won the toss and stuck in Keshwala Boyz. Their plans to stifle star-studded Keshwala Boyz batting line-up seemed to be on course with the scoreboard reading 59 for 2 in 10 overs.

But when Afridi introduced himself into the attack, Ronak Patel (47 off 37), Rakesh Kahar (38 off 24) chanced their arms at anything within their reach enroute to smoking the Cricket Cranes mystery bowler for 56 runs in just four overs at 14 per over.

The set 148 runs – a target that was within Haandi XI’s reach. But Haandi went for glory and paid the price for their gung-ho style. From 30 for no loss after 3 overs, Rakesh Kahar (3/14 in 4) and Dinesh Nakrani (2/26 in 4) pegged back the batsmen to give Keshwala Boyz the advantage at 33 for 6 in 7.3 overs.

Procession to victory
From then on it was a mere procession to victory for Keshwala Boyz despite one defiant knock of 49 off 35 by all-rounder Bilal Hassun, who took a perfect consolation prize in Man of Match for the final.

“We deserve this trophy and we are still hungry to pocket another one next year,” said Ranmal, soon after UCA chairman Bashir Ansasiira handed over the glittering trophy and Shs10m cheque to the winners. Runners-up Haandi pocketed Shs5m plus a trophy and their star man Gurpreet Singh also scooped the Best Bowler’s accolade with 26 wickets.

The climax was every fan’s dream with lots of entertainment as well as UCA, who benefitted with a cash tonic of Shs15m from KBSC to help develop the game further at the grassroots level.

TOP PERFORMERS
MVP:
Rakesh Kahar (Keshwala Boyz) 1128 points
Best Bowler:
Gurpreet Singh (Haandi XI) 23 wickets
Best Batsman
Riazat Ali Shah (Damani Hunza) 343 runs

FORMER WINNERS
2013: Wines & Spirits
2014: Wines & Spirits
2015: Aziz Damani
2016: Cosmos Warriors
2017: Keshwala Boyz
2018: Keshwala Boyz

KBSC PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON 6

Result – Season 6 Finale
Keshwala Boyz 148/6 Haandi XI 104/10
Keshwala Boyz won by 44 runs
Result – Plate Cup final
Avengers 61/10 Abacus 62/2
Abacus XI won by 2 wickets

By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Cricket Cranes have no room for error

Mathematically, it stays in Uganda’s reach to grab one of the two spots at stake to progress through to the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Qualifier scheduled for early next year.
Realistically nothing is a given in sport as upsets remain part of the script whatever the discipline. The Cricket Cranes are in a position where they’re the best to justify this after Tanzania stunned them by six wickets on Wednesday.
One win from their last two games could be just enough for them considering their healthy Net Run Rate (NRR) but they must avoid leaving it late.
Hosts Rwanda will be in their faces seeking their first win of the Africa ‘B’ Qualifier and if their courageous show against Kenya is anything to go by, then Uganda should brace themselves for a hungry and ambitious rival.
“It is always important for the guys to play without fear and to always apply themselves. They must believe in their abilities and look to execute game plans,” Rwanda coach Martin Suji, Uganda’s former coach, said ahead of his second meeting with ex-teammate Steve Tikolo.

T20 AFRICA ‘B’ QUALIFIER

Today’s fixtures in Gahanga
Tanzania vs. Kenya, 10.30am
Rwanda vs. Uganda, 2.50pm
Points Table After Match Day 4

 

 
By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Majestic Cricket Cranes

KUALA LUMPUR.

Blood brothers Frank Nsubuga and Roger Mukasa were easily the standout players as Uganda edged Jersey by seven runs to scoop the Division IV International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.
Victory also ensured Uganda’s new status as a Division III nation - a privilege they enjoyed last year before getting demoted after their no-show in Kampala.
In a game replayed because of Saturday’s thunderstorm-strewn rain downpour at the National University (UKM-YSD) Oval, Uganda managed only 90 runs on a wicket that was slow and turning square.
Former U-19 skipper Kenneth Waiswa (34 off 63) and Riazat Ali Shah (22 off 60), who featured in a solid sixth-wicket partnership of 60 runs, alongside Nsubuga (13 off 23) showed immense maturity to reach double figures on the tricky surface as Jersey’s slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Stevens 4 for 22 enjoyed a perfect day in office.
The low score left Uganda’s dug out under pressure and they were seen pressing hard their calculators and spreadsheets to find out what they needed to stay alive in what has been a cut-throat competition. 
Knowing they needed to bowl at least 20.3 overs before Jersey reached the target 91 to consolidate the No.2 position on the log and make certain promotion to the Division III tier, captain Mukasa unleashed his quartet of spinners including himself to do damage control.
Mystery leg-spinner Irfan Afridi (1/23) and left-armer Henry Ssenyondo (1/29) bowled parsimonious spells but it was Nsubuga and Mukasa, who blew them away like a Tornado.
Nsubuga, who was adjudged Man of Match (MoM), spun cobwebs around the Channel Islanders to return immense figures of 4 for 20 in 10 overs including four maidens to leave the opposition struggling at 47 for 6 just after lunch. 
His younger sibling Mukasa mobbed up the tail-enders with magical figures of 3 for 7 in 4 overs with the last man given out LBW on 83 all out to give Uganda an unexpected but deserving seven-run win in the low-scoring thriller.
Coach Steve Tikolo and his brigade return this afternoon at Entebbe Airport aboard Emirates and the cricket fraternity is set to give the latest sports heroes a fitting reception.

ICC WCL DIVISION IV

Yesterday’s results
Uganda 90/10 Jersey 83/10
Uganda won by 7 runs

Malaysia 257/ Bermuda 168/9
Malaysia won by 89 runs

By INNOCENT NDAWULA

Cricket Cranes continue to make hay in Gujarat

UGANDA’S TOUR OF INDIA
Seven Match Series in Chikhil
Surat City – Gujarat State
GAME 1
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Uganda 129/6 beat ND Warriors XI 75/9 
by 54 runs (with 32 balls remaining)
*Man Of Match: Deus Muhumuza
GAME 2
Summary For Twenty20 Match – Feb 16
Skipper XI Gujarat 108 all out in 19.2 overs
lost to Uganda 112 for 4 in 17.3 overs by six
wickets with 15 balls remaining.
*Man Of Match: Simon Ssesazi

CHIKHIL. India and Qatar are worlds apart in every inch of the phrase. Whereas Qatar remains on track of becoming a first world country, India is gnawing as a third-world nation.

But the latter make up for what they don’t have in infrastructure by being the No.1 cricketing nation in the world, something Qatar may never achieve in eons.

The Cricket Cranes, too, are gradually taking the baby steps and showing that they can adapt and survive in both worlds – the high-end of Doha and lowlife in Gujarat.

From an impressive shift on the national team’s maiden visit to the oil-rich nation, Steve Tikolo’s troops have showed no signs of fatigue after settling into the remote but beautiful Sanjay Farm in Chikhil which is 225 kilometers from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai.

Two games down the road, the Cricket Cranes have not only excited the locals with a free-spirt brand of cricket as justified by the numbers that keep trickling in to watch but have also picked up satisfactorily if not convincing victories. All-rounder Deus Muhumuza mixed hard-running and clean hitting on his way to a Man of Match (MOM) innings of 35 runs as Uganda breezed to a 54-run win on the Tour to India’s opening Twenty20 match against ND Warriors XI.

Uganda set 129 and then bowled out the hosting side for 75 thanks to a brilliant spell of 3 wickets for 5 runs in 4 overs from debutant Dinesh Nakrani.
In the afternoon on Friday, Simon Ssesazi flourished with a chanceless half century of 51 as Uganda secured a six-wicket win against Skipper XI Gujarat in the second Twenty20 match at the Shri Mohanlal Desai Cricket Ground (Sanjay Farm).

The 21-year-old left-hand batsman featured in a 44-run match-changing partnership with Nakrani (15) as Uganda chased down 107 and duly deserved his MOM award – the second on this 16-day long tour.

“The guys are starting to realise their roles,” said coach Tikolo. “But we are still not yet hitting our set targets. We were ran close in these two games and I have told the guys that we can do a lot better. We need to pump ourselves for the remaining games.”

By press-time Uganda were taking on a much-polished Surat Cricket Association U-19 side, whose players feature for the Gujarat State U-19 side – a straight feeder to the India U-19 outfit that has just won the ICC Junior World Cup down under in New Zealand.

The team will play three more Limited Over matches and one Twenty20 before they return home on February 23.

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Ugandan cricket keen to move on from 2017 horror

A n uncomfortable lull has settled over Uganda’s senior men cricket team. The Cricket Cranes are currently in Qatar figuring in only their second tour following last year’s astonishing relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division Four.

The relegation was initially greeted in unsparing terms, but there has since been a sharp reversal in tone. Before departing for the tour, which will have stopovers in not just Qatar but also India, Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo spoke candidly with local media. Tikolo said the preparations should be viewed more through the lens of an amplifier as opposed to clarifier. The Kenyan rang a slew of changes, with the pick seeing Davis Karashani, Arthur Kyobe and Lawrence Ssematimba overlooked.

While Karashani failed to extricate himself from academic duties at Makerere University where he is pursuing a Law degree, Kyobe and Ssematimba were in no uncertain terms deemed surplus to requirements. 
The trio’s absence has made for an increasingly feverish atmosphere in the sense that the spotlight has been put on the three crucial facets of captaincy, opening gambit and wicketkeeping.

If Zephaniah Arinaitwe attacks the new ball with the trademark aggression that continues to belie his teenage years, Kyobe’s epitaph will well and truly be authored. It will in all honesty be a tragic footnote for the left hander whose career has been dazzlingly complicated. And that is putting it mildly.

Not one to go gently in the fading of afternoon into evening, expect Kyobe to chime with renewed purpose regardless of how Arinaitwe fares on the slow wickets in Qatar and India. Kyobe is not one to cower easily and he will stake his pressing claim to relevance on everything and anything.

The Challengers opening bat doesn’t have to be at his zestful best to talk up his chances. Such is his belief; it often arouses a steely and unflappable temperament. However, like a double edged sword, the powerful strain of the belief can either be a source of happiness or unending frustration.

Mirroring the opening gambit is the question of the captaincy. The question wouldn’t arise at all but for a gruelling undergraduate degree programme at Makerere University’s School of Law. The programme has seen Karashani and the Cricket Cranes not gently bump against one other as much as clash. Owing to this, Karashani’s availability for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Malaysia rests on a cornerstone of conjecture.

New captain?
It’s not clear whether the erstwhile Cricket Cranes skipper will be writing his exams when the tournament occupies the backend of April and first week of May. If the two fail to meet each other halfway, then a new captain will have to be named.

Such an eventuality will leave Uganda heavily depleted. Not only would Karashani’s off break thrive on the slow Malaysian wickets, but also the player has over the years retooled his game by infusing his batting with dogged determination.

The 30-year-old’s captaincy — typified by aggressive field settings — will also be sorely missed. Roger Mukasa, who was named captain for the tour of Qatar and India, may be a gung-ho batsman, but his field settings are a tad too conservative.

It is hard to tell whether an approach that entails playing safe and letting opponents make mistakes will bring vast rewards for Uganda. For now, many Cricket Cranes fans’ preoccupation is with how the captaincy will affect Mukasa’s performance with the bat.

Elsewhere, with Ssematimba out of the picture, the burden of keeping wickets in Qatar and India will be shouldered by Naeem Bardai and youngster Fred Achelam. The glovework of both players is decent enough. While Bardai contributes more than Achelam with the bat, the former’s intermittent availability doesn’t stand him in good stead.

Achelam kept wickets as Uganda lost its first match of the bilateral series with Qatar Thursday. Mukasa complained about the weather being “too heavy” and “the ball...not travelling as it does back home.” Chasing 131 for victory in a T20 match, Mukasa and Arinaitwe brought up their 50 partnership well inside 10 overs, but Cricket Cranes lacked much-needed firepower after the two explosive openers departed.

This along with other problems (a knee injury picked up by Lloyd Paternott) means — the lull, or be it uncomfortable one, notwithstanding — it is pretty much a case of back to the future for the Cricket Cranes.

By Robert Madoi

Solid batting gives Cricket Cranes 2-1 lead in Qatar Tour Series

Doha. A rock-solid opening partnership between captain Roger Mukasa and Hamu Kayondo that yielded 89 runs in 13.2 overs takes the credit for Uganda’s T20 six-wicket victory against Qatar.

That triumph edged coach Steve Tikolo’s troops into a 2-1 lead at the on-going Bilateral Series played at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium in Doha on Saturday night.

Cricket Cranes captain Mukasa played second fiddle in the tandem partnership for his score of 40 off 51 balls but Kayondo, who took the Man of Match award, cut loose with a beautiful half century off just 39 balls to take the game away from the hosts.

When Kayondo departed for 51, the scoreboard was reading 100 for 3 and Uganda needed 32 runs to win from 26 balls.

“The coaches always want us to express ourselves with the bat and when I got a chance to open I knew I would make use of the batting powerplay,” said the 27-year-old Hamu, who received a medal from Qatar Cricket Association president QCA president Yousef Jeham Al Kuwari.

Having been the difference in the first two tour matches with the ball, Deus Muhumuza did his reputation as an all-rounder a lot of good.

With 18 needed off 12 balls, Muhumuza smoked two mighty sixes to finish with 24 not out just off 10 balls to seal the game for Uganda with two balls to spare at 133 for 4.

After playing four back-to-back games, the team will take some rest and take in an anticipated breathless sight-seeing tour of Qatar today.

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Damani eye revenge in face of T20 cricket title

T20 winners
2016: Challengers
2015: Patidar Samaj
2014: Challengers
2013: Wanderers
2012: Tornado

Men’s T20 league
Semi-finals - Today at 10:30am
KICC vs. Kutchi Tigers, Lugogo
Aziz Damani vs. Challengers, Kyambogo
FINAL (3PM)
Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, Lugogo

KAMPALA. It is now only two matches that separate Challengers Cricket Club from a third National Twenty20 League title in a space of four years.
Should they beat the big stumbling block in Aziz Damani at the semi-final stage, another trophy could be within reach.

But there is a strange superstition in sport that it is difficult to lose twice to the same team in a particular competition.
On December 3, 2017, Challengers beat Damani by 16 runs in the group stages and their run has now gone to 10 straight victories.

One senses that one thing on the minds of Damani’s players when the two face off in what appears to be a ‘final before the final’ at Kyambogo this morning.
“We are going to revenge and possibly win the trophy,” Damani skipper Ghulam Hunzai told Sunday Monitor.

The 2014 and 2016 winners Challengers are only playing to cover up for a bizarre show in the longer format. “At the stage we are, we do not want to lose the momentum,” stated batsman Hamu Kayondo.

Damani is sharper with inclusions of Zimabwean Kai Roy and Indian Manoj Sai who made 60-ball 89* against 2012 finalists Charity in the quarterfinals.
But, Challengers’ opener Arthur Kyobe, recently dropped in the national team, could have a point to prove and as well close the 20-run gap between him and leading batsman Roger Mukasa (263 runs).

Meanwhile, no team in the second semi-final between KICC and Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo should be overlooked as Tigers’ imports Indian imports Jaydev Parmar, Rakesh Kahar, Vyas Nisarg and Saumil Patel pose a big threat.

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By Darren Allan Kyeyune

Sanjay Farm, UCA partner for Cricket Cranes build-up tour

KAMPALA. A busy schedule looms for the Cricket Cranes and Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) have opted to take the bull by its horns in preparation for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division IV in Malaysia as well as the Africa Twenty20 Cup in Rwanda.
To get the preparations started, a provisional squad of 17 will tour Qatar and India for invaluable match practice and exposure as they try to execute what they have been doing in training, thanks to UCA’s partnership with Cricket Sanjay Farm’s Swetal Desai.

On the backdrop of Roger Mukasa and Charles Waiswa’s involvement with the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Select Team that toured India last year, Desai was overwhelmingly impressed by the pair’s talent and pledged to support the development of cricket in Uganda.
UCA chairman Bashir Ansasiira travelled to India for a special meeting with Desai on December 26 last year and the two high caliber personalities fixed the tour for next month (February 17-23).

Team’s potential
Cricket Cranes Team Manager Jackson Kavuma, who alongside CEO Justine Ligyalingi and Operations Manager Martin Ondeko finalised the tour arrangements, said the purpose of this tour was not only to test the team’s potential.
“We are indebted to Cricket Sanjay Farm and Desai who are going to facilitate a bigger portion of our budget,” said Kavuma.

“The purpose of the tour is to also unleash cricketing skills in the remote part of South Gujarat and it will also hopefully open new dimensions for Uganda cricket.”
Before heading to India, coach Steve Tikolo and his men will camp in Qatar for a series of T20 and 50-over rubbers against the national side that is littered with classy players from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

SQUAD TO QATAR, INDIA

Batsmen: Roger Mukasa, Hamu Kayondo, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Simon Ssesaazi, Shahzad Kamal, Lloyd Patternot
All Rounders: Deus Muhumuza, Brian Masaba, Frank Nsubuga, Kenneth Waiswa, Irfan Afridi Riazat Shah
Wicket-Keeper: Fred Achelam
Spinner: Henry Ssenyondo
Pace Bowlers/Seamers: Charles Waiswa, Trevor Bukenya, Bilal Hassan
Reserves: Emmanuel Isaneez, Steven Wabwose.

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By INNOCENT NDAWULA

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