BY INNOCENT NDAWULA
Result - Yesterday (50-overs)
KZN Inland Academy 269/4 lost to Uganda 273/4 by 6 wickets (with 145 balls to spare)
Waxing lyrical about Zephaniah Arinaitwe is a forgivable crime, for now! Many coaches and sports administrators are always quick to point a finger at journos that go gaga in praise of youngsters that chip in exceptional individual performances.
The coaches believe that such reports are catalysts in making the youngsters ‘grow wings’ and fail to live up to their real potential.
Arinaitwe is no different. He is such an enigma. Equally unpredictable on and off the field.
But what a player! Is there anything he cannot do? Over the years, we have seen him roll over his arm for some spinners and medium pacers. Predominantly an opening batsmen, Arinaitwe has added more flair to his game.
When Uganda’s No.1 wicket-keeper Fred Achelam suffered a nasty blow to his right hand, Uganda were in search of another keeper to take up the gloves.
Arinaitwe, an ever-cheerful character, was quick to put up his hand. Many of his teammates were also seeing him for the first time behind the stumps.
Arinaitwe showcasing his skills behind the stumps in the final T20 on Sunday
His glove work hasn’t been shabby over two games either, but that is a topic for another day.
Focus was on his innings with the bat as Uganda started their three-match 50-over build-up for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III scheduled for Oman in November on a winning note - a six-wicket win over Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy.
Sick man century
What made it even more special was that Arinaitwe played while suffering a stomach bug. The 17-year-old threw caution to the wind enroute a masterful 51-ball ton of 107 runs.
The John SS Mukono Senior Six student had earlier complained of stomach pains in the first innings as he kept wickets - for the second time on this tour - after captain of the day Brian Masaba had lost the toss and been asked to have a bowl.
Arinaitwe handed over the glovework duties to left-hand opening batsman Simon Ssesazi for the rest of the innings as the hosts Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy set a commanding 269 for 4 in the allotted 50 overs at the Pietermaritzburg City Oval yesterday.
But he returned after the lunch break to open the innings and batted in a ruthlessness manner hitting everything in his range enroute to 16 boundaries and four sweetly timed sixes. Every bit of chapping from the sledge-happy KZN Boys got the fire in his belly activated as justified by just the less than 10 singles he took in his knock.
By the time he fell Uganda was just 119 runs away from victory at 151 for 2 in 16.3 overs.
“I love scoring quickly. Getting these centuries in quick time is what I would love to do for my country always. It gives me great joy to know that I can give my team a chance to win,” said Arinaitwe.
Kayondo, Shah half tons
The latest ton was Arinaitwe’s sixth century of the season that has also seen him notch 197 off 66 balls last month at the Hayer StarField Tournament in Nairobi and a double-century in the Schools’ Cricket Week Qualifiers.
Hamu Kayondo (78 not out off 78) and Riazat Ali Shah (53 off 39) got half centuries during the chase as Uganda nullified the Academy Boys’ set target and it was fitting that Masaba (4* off 7 balls) got the winning runs.
Brian and Hamu walk off after wrapping up the inninngs
The team takes some much-needed rest today after four days of bumper-to-bumper action and will be back into the mix for another build up on Wednesday.