Preview - Uganda, Kenya Lock Horns In Decisive East African Derby

Preview - Uganda, Kenya Lock Horns In Decisive East African Derby

By Innocent Ndawula 

ICC WCL DIVISION III IN MUSCAT, OMAN

MONDAY - NOVEMBER 12 RESULTS

Game Five

USA 254 all out in 50 overs

Kenya 96 all out in 26 overs

USA won by 158 runs (with 144 balls to spare)

Man of Match: Ali Khan of USA (3 for 36 in 8 overs)

Game Six

Singapore 254 all out in 49.3 overs

Denmark 164 all out in 35.4 overs

Singapore won by 94 runs (with 86 balls to spare)

Man of Match: Aritra Dutta of Singapore (87 off 80)

Table Standings After Day 4

Team      P              W            L              Pts           NRR

USA                         2              2              0              4              2.120

Oman     2              2              0              4              0.883

Singapore 2           1              1              2              0.443

Uganda   2              1              1              2              0.058

Denmark                2              0              2              0              -1.626

Kenya     2              0              2              0              -1.924

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13 FIXTURES

Oman     vs.           Denmark, OCA Turf 1

Uganda vs.           Kenya, OCA Turf 2

*All matches start at 8.30am Ugandan time. 

As temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius yesterday for the first time since the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division II bowled off last Friday, it was a perfect signal that tournament was starting to take shape.

The heat has been increasing by the day - from 27 when Uganda arrived in the Gulf. The weather forecast also states that it is going to be increasingly hotter, and even tougher for teams to cope as the global showpiece enters the business end.

For Uganda and Kenya, who face off at the Oman Cricket Academy Turf 2 in Al Amarat today, it will be a defining moment as both chase one of the two spots at stake to progress to Division II that is scheduled for April 18-28 in Windhoek, Namibia. Currently unbeaten United States of America (USA) and Oman boss the table standings with four points apiece - the former atop courtesy of a healthier Net Run Rate (NRR).

Spot of bother

The East African Derby finds both rivaling foes with a lot on their plates and literally in a spot of bother.

Uganda have won one and lost one. They convincingly outsmarted Denmark by five wickets in the opener but lost to the United States of America by 52 runs in a game that was ‘ruined’ by ICC Match Officials for their poor interpretation of the playing conditions than can partly be blamed for the loss and as the reason Uganda’s was denied their best bowling weapon - the leg-spinning Irfan Afridi to bowl his full quota of overs (10). That Afridi-gate scandal left a bad feeling in Uganda’s camp as it got them distracted.

The Cricket Cranes tested victory against the Simbas in Rwanda

And although Uganda are still in a state of shock of how events surrounding Afridi’s bowling action and procedure have transpired, things are even worse for Kenya. The rivaling neighbours are in a ditch and need to find quick respite. Yesterday, Kenya lost their second successive match to remain winless in as many outings. Having arrived late in the Arabian Peninsular, they lost to hosts Oman by five wickets and then USA annihilated them by 158 runs in a shock result yesterday.

Their batting has not come together as a unit and their top order batsmen particularly have folded meekly early on in the innings with the ‘unfamiliar’ Duke ball swinging, albeit too much. They were 8 for 3 in 10 overs against Oman and 21 for 5 after 8.5 overs in the USA rubber.

Fighting for results

“We have to continue fighting for positive results,” said Kenya opening batsman Alex Obanda. “It is unfortunate we haven’t done well so far but we all know it takes one good result. Both sets of players know each other too well and for us this is going to be our final.”

For Uganda, coach Steve Tikolo will be looking to keep the Cricket Cranes machine well-oiled and some changes should be expected in the starting XI in what is anticipated to be a high-octane thrilling encounter.

“Lala (Irfan Afridi) will play. But some of the guys that haven’t yet played will get their chance to make a quick impact on the tournament as we chase our goal of Division II promotion,” said Tikolo.

“We have reminded everyone of their roles and urged them to stand up, fight for the team and deliver it to the Promised Land (Division II).

One or two of vice captain Brian Masaba, all-rounder Kenneth Waiswa and veteran ace Frank Nsubuga could get their tourney debuts and Tikolo will demand quick starts from them against a side that he played for in five ICC World Cups.

Frank Nsubuga will get his 1st chance in the tournament

Only two places, for the top two finishers, are at stake from this six-team global event to progress to the Division II in a series of leagues constituted as the qualification pathway to the 2023 World Cup in India.

The Cricket World Cup (CWC) League 2 line-up will be completed by the top four teams from Division 2, who will join Scotland, Nepal and United Arab Emirates. The bottom four teams from the Oman event will play in the ICC Cricket World Challenge League.