By Faith Munezero
Aziz Damani CC 200/5 in 26 overs (Kenneth Waiswa 75 not out off 46 balls, Saud Islam 41 off 23 balls, Bilal Hassan 4/35 in 5 overs) beat Ceylon Lions CC 164/8 in 23.3 overs by 46 runs (Anushkha Perera 81 off 37 balls, Arnold Otwani 32 off 36 balls, Simon Sessazi 2/35)
Player of the match: Kenneth Waiswa (Aziz Damani)
After a heavy downpour the previous day, Lugogo was a no play zone by the time the match was scheduled to begin. With a wet outfield, the match was delayed until 2pm when it was declared fit for play. Already set to be an exciting match, the shortened overs from 50 to 26 only made this more likely than ever especially with two things at stake: an unbeaten run record for Aziz Damani and possible relegation for Ceylon Lions.
Aziz Damani won the toss and opted to bat first. Being a shorter match, openers Fred Achelam and Riazat started off on track setting 40 runs in the first 6 overs but by the 8th over Arnold Otwani's quick hands had Riazat caught to break the steadying partnership, as Saud Islam took the crease next.
The Ceylon Lions turned up the heat in their bowling thanks to Sempijja Lawrence and Anushkha Perera , slowing Damani's run rate right until the last opener was caught out in the 14th over, allowing only 18 runs from the last wicket. But as soon as Kenneth Waiswa stepped onto the crease, Aziz Damani got the upper hand. With impressive running between wickets and boundary shots all over the pitch, the Kenneth – Saud partnership went to put 51 runs in the next 4 overs before Alema made a remarkable catch that saw Saud out. Two ore wickets fell in the next 5 overs, with Kenneth the one steady force until the last ball.
U19’s Miyagi Juma did not go unnoticed with the incredible pace bowling that sent fear into the Nigeria U19s team. But with a target of 201 runs in 26 overs, the Ceylon Lions had their work cut out for them. Openers Sessazi Simon and Narinder Singh got off to a fairly good start with 17 runs in the first 2 overs before the former was caught off Bilal Hassan's bowling. Otwani Arnold came in next, together they weathered the force that was Isaneez, Denis Tabby, Charles Waiswa and Henry Senyondo for 9 overs before an unfortunate run out ended Narinder's innings.
The excitement fully began when Anushka Perera came on next, scoring as many as 20 runs off bat in one particular over (2 sixes, and 1 four consecutively). He went on to put 60 more runs in the innings before he was dismissed by Kenneth Waiswa in the 22nd over. Eddie Agaba and Lawrence Ssempijja were dismissed without bothering the scorers after a brace from Bilal Hassan. At this point the Lions had accumulated 155 runs and needed 51 off 21 balls to win but with 7 wickets down, the win had become elusive. Miyagi Juma followed 3 balls later before the match was halted due to bad lighting after 23.2 overs.
There was a great display of shots in the match, however both teams had slip ups in a few areas. Aziz Damani missed a good number of opportunities for run outs and catches that could have seen then finish the match earlier than expected, while the Ceylon Lions succumbed to some misfielding that cost them a number of boundary shots and possibly, a slot in Division 1 especially with KICC having won their match. Whereas Aziz Damani remain undefeated in yet another thrilling encounter.