Afridi-gate Scandal Toughens Cricket Cranes Division III Woes As Justified By Loss To Kenya

Afridi-gate Scandal Toughens Cricket Cranes Division III Woes As Justified By Loss To Kenya

By Innocent Ndawula

ICC WCL DIVISION III IN MUSCAT, OMAN

TUESDAY - NOVEMBER 13 RESULTS

Game Seven

Denmark 154 runs all out in 41.4 overs

Oman 155 runs for 7 wkts in 47.2 overs

Oman won by 3 wickets (with 16 balls remaining)

Man of Match: Jatinder Singh (73 runs off 105 balls)

Game Eight

Uganda 177 runs for 9 wickets in 50 overs

Kenya 178 runs for 4 wickets in 45.5 overs

Kenya won by 6 wickets (with 25 balls remaining)

Man of Match: Irfan Karim (59 runs off 118 balls)

Table Standings After Day 5

Team                      P              W            L              Pts          NRR

Oman                     3              3              0              6              0.613

USA                                         2              2              0              4              2.120

Singapore              2              1              1              2              0.443

Uganda                   3              1              2              2              -0.104

Kenya                     3              1              2              2              -1.176

Denmark                                3              0              3              0              -1.116

NEXT FIXTURES

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 13 FIXTURES

Denmark  vs. USA, OCA Turf 1

Singapore   vs. Uganda, OCA Turf 2

*All matches start at 8.30am Ugandan time.

Team Uganda could do with some love from someone and anyone, especially the Cricket Cranes fans. Right now the team is in its own world with the future uncertain because of a tainted recent history of no-shows at International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III tournaments.

Oman has offered no reprieve for coach Steve Tikolo’s boys who continued to flounder with a six-wicket loss to Kenya in the East African Derby at the newly-laid Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) Turf 2.

Uganda failed at a similar event in their own backyard in May 2017 after a 13-run loss at the lakeside oval meant that Uganda would play Division IV cricket for the first time since the inception of the WCL structure in 2007.

Here in Muscat, the devil, like death, once again reared its ugly head with Uganda losing its footing on a day everyone thought they would bounce back into contention for one of the two spots for a place at the coveted Division II meet scheduled for April 18-28, 2019 in Namibia.

And although Uganda still has a mathematical chance to progress, the ghosts of Entebbe seemed to have followed Uganda to Muscat.

In the previous Division III events, Lady Luck seemed to elude Uganda as the captains lost the cruical pre-match toss and the coach couldn’t dictate on what to do after reading how the wickets were playing. There was also the issue of always starting with a loss.

Uganda captain Roger Mukasa won the pre-match toss but that was just about it for the Cricket Cranes

But Uganda looked to have shed enough skin in the scorching heat of Muscat as they got off to a flier with a five-wicket win against Denmark on November 9 and then skipper Mukasa called right twice at the flick of the coin against USA and Kenya.

Suspension Of Afridi

But Uganda were, this time round, hurt by ICC’s suspension of Irfan Mohammed Afridi from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect after his action was found illegal following video analysis ‘allegedly’ taken during the match against Denmark.

Normally, the procedure takes at least 14 days as the videos are reviewed but ICC seemed trigger-happy to put a halt to exciting Afridi’s career soonest.

The ICC Expert Panel of Mark King and Andrea Cutti, who are members of the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists, for their analysis and assessment said in a release;"The assessment revealed that the amount of elbow extension in Irfan (Afridi)'s bowling action was above the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the regulations."

Umpires talking to captain Roger Mukasa about decision not to bowl Afridi again in the match against Denmark

With the bad news trickling in just an hour to play against Kenya, it left Uganda’s camp in disarray with vice captain Brian Masaba being summoned to replace the suspended Afridi, who now has to go to one of the five ICC accredited corrective bowling centres in either South Africa, England, India, Australia or Pakistan before he can have a bowl again.

“Lala (Afridi) could have played as a batsman but we didn’t want to field him because he wasn’t in the right frame of mind. The news came in after we had put him on the playing list which we had to change,” explained Team Manager Jackson Kavuma.

Irfan Mohammed Afridi was missed both for his wicket-taking spells and lusty mid-order hitting

Kenya No Show

And without the big-hitting all-rounder, a darling of many fans across Associate Cricket and a nephew of Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi, who was the best bowler at Uganda’s last three ICC showpieces and remains adored for his blistering century against Malaysia last year in Kampala and a 17-ball 50 against Vanuatu in Kuala Lumpur in May this year, Uganda’s chances against Kenya were dashed and forthwith their ambitions to progress.

Dinesh Nakrani bludgeoned a half century but paid the price of being over zealous as he was caught after skiing one into the heavens

Captain Mukasa’s struggles with the bat continued whereas Arnold Otwani, who scored back-to-back half tons in the first two outings, fell cheaply for 16. Dinesh Nakrani paid the price of being over zealous when he was caught after skiing one into the heavens soon after reaching 50 and despite a reaguard from tournament debutant Masaba of 21 off 64 and last-wicket partnership of 22 from 21 balls from Charles Waiswa (22* off 29) and Henry Ssenyondo (9* off 12), Uganda could only set 177.

Vice captain Brian Masaba made his tournament bow with a solid 64-ball 21 which was in vain as Uganda lost

Not only was Afridi’s lusty-hitting missed in the first innings, no one could fill his void as the Cricket Cranes tried to defend their small score on these Asian wickets that offer vicious assistance to the bowlers with the type of Duke balls being used in this particular tournament.

The early jittery moments saw Kenya fall to 33 for 3 and later 71 for 4 in their chase with classy veteran Frank Nsubuga (2/28) prizing out a pair of scalps but Irfan Karim (59 off 118) and Nelson Mandela Odhiambo (53 off 68) grinded out an unbeaten and match-winning partnership of 107 runs in 26 overs as the ‘noisy neighbours’ claimed the bragging rights with 25 balls to spare.

Irfan Karim took the Man of Match Award for his pedestrian but match-winning knock of 59 off 118 balls.

Although two games remain against Singapore and hosts Oman, the campaign is literally over for Uganda this if the log standings are anything to go by - for now.

There will be no relegation for the Cricket Cranes this time around if they finish among the last two teams at this six-nation meet with ICC introducing the Super League and Challenge League formats in the place of the World Cricket League, scheduled to start in May 2019.