Four In Four For Cricket Cranes After Completing Italian Job

Four In Four For Cricket Cranes After Completing Italian Job

BY INNOCENT NDAWULA

ICC CWC CHALLENGE LEAGUE B

Results - December 9

Uganda 218/10 Italy 180

Uganda won by 38 runs

Jersey 233/5 Kenya 239/3

Kenya won by 7 wickets

December 10: Rest Day

Fixtures - December 11 (8.30am)

Uganda vs. Hong Kong, OC Turf 1

Bermuda vs. Jersey, OC Turf 2

 TABLE STANDINGS

TEAM

P

W

L

N/R

POINTS

NRR

Uganda

4

4

0

0

8

0.593

H. Kong

3

2

0

1

5

0.470

Kenya

4

1

2

1

3

0.027

Italy

4

1

2

1

3

-0.985

Jersey

4

1

3

0

2

0.200

Bermuda

3

0

2

1

1

-0.652

Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo predicted a ‘tough encounter’ ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) League B encounter against Italy. The inspirational gaffer was dead right as his Ugandan boys were made to tap into their reserves for an energy-sapping 38-run win at the Oman Cricket Academy in Al Amerat, Muscat.

Arnold Otwani (2nd R) took over the captaincy mantle for the day in the absence of Brian Masaba, who failed to shake off a mild fever bout in time for the game.

‘Tough’ actually does little to explain what the Ugandans went through to emerge victorious - the fourth successive triumph - on the engrossing day and forthwith stay on track on the Road to CWC 2023 in India, with eight points.

Early trouble

When troubles come, they come in battalions! Uganda learnt that they could not have skipper Brian Masaba available for the match after he failed to shake off a mild bout of fever and vice captain Arnold Otwani continued where Masaba had left off as he lost the pre-match toss and was asked to bat on a tough wicket that had somewhat soaked in a bit of the previous day’s heavy rains.

After playing out eight overs and 28 balls in particular, Otwani’s back-foot dragged back to re-arrange his stumps as he glanced delivery No.29 to fine leg to be the first wicket down - hit wicket - for five runs with the scoreboard reading 10 for 1.

Shahzad Kamal survived a confident LBW appeal against South Africa-born Gareth Kyle Berg. Berg, who is on Northamptonshire's books claimed four wickets on the day.

Former skipper Roger Mukasa found the fielders with every hard shot on the ground but hanged around until the 17th over. And when everyone thought he had ridden the worst of the storm, the former skipper was bowled through the gate by left-arm spinner Madupa Fernando to leave Uganda gnawing at 43 for 2.

At the end of 20 overs, Uganda were 58 for 2 in 20 overs and in need of a saviour to avert their desperate situation, and forthwith recover their innings. They didn’t get one but two!

Batting masterclass

Shahzad Kamal (78 off 88) and Ronak Patel (52 off 73) shouldered the responsibility with their third half-tons of the tournament in a workman’s 120 runs partnership for the third wicket to help Uganda calm things at 163 for 3 in 38.3 overs.

Kamal (R) and Ronak Patel (L), for the third consecutive match, scored half centuries and helped rebuild Uganda's innings with a partnership of 120 for the third wicket.

When they ‘died’, Dinesh Nakrani (18), Kenneth Waiswa (12) and wicketkeeper Fred Achelam (11) added some useful late runs but perished to the clinical Italian bowling pair of Gareth Berg (4/25) and Nikolai Smith (4/44) at 218 all out in 48.3 overs.

Sensational second spell

For the fourth time in the tournament, Uganda had crossed the 200-run mark but at this stage everyone Ugandan felt it might not have been enough.

But Uganda’s bowlers, spearheaded by Man of Match Bilal Hassun,  worked the magic. Italy were 24 for 1 after 10 overs before Uganda got into the driver’s seat at 56 for 3 in 20. The Cricket Cranes started believing at 96 for 5 in 28.2 overs when Giani Meade fell for 43 after skying one off Nakrani for Riazat Ali Shah to cling onto a 30-meter running catch.

Hassan, with a fiver-for that cost just 27 runs in 8.4 overs, outdid himself and the Ugandan batsmen, who had dominated this tour thus far.

He made the mileage count with a sensational second spell during which he knocked over Rakibul Hassan (29) and Michael Ross (32) to the dim the last lights on the sinking Italian ship in the 47th over.

Mention-worth displays

“Thanks to Allah for helping me guide the team to victory. We worked as a bowling unit. We denied their batsmen boundaries and made our total look like a very big one. I am happy I was picked for award,” said MOM Hassun soon after receiving his accolade from ICC Tournament Referee Manu Nayar.

The day was scorching hot and every water break was a welcome and earned interval by both sets of players.

But Nakrani (3/38 in 9), who claimed the prize scalps of Meade (43), captain Joy Perera (1) and Gareth Berg (17) plus siblings Frank Nsubuga (1/34 in 10) and Roger Mukasa (1/36 in 10) all turned in mention-worth shifts to restrict Italy to 180 all out.

It was such a tough outing, Uganda’s dug out - for once - erupted into a frenzy with the players and support staff sharing bare hugs and high fives. They knew that they had left it late against an Italian side littered with seasoned professionals plying their trade in the elite leagues of United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa.

The Cricket Cranes will now take a breather before their final game of the tournament against Hong Kong on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

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