By Innocent Ndawula
ICC Men's T20 Sub Regional World Cup Africa Qualifier
Full Results – Uganda – Game 1
Malawi 98/7 Uganda 101/0
Man of Match: Simon Ssesazi 62* runs off 39 balls
Uganda won by 10 wickets
Uganda 169/4 Rwanda 63/10
Man of Match: Ronak Patel 63* runs off 37 balls
Uganda won by 103 runs
Lesotho 26/10 Uganda 27/0
Man of Match: Dinesh Nakrani 6 wickets for 7 runs in 4 overs
Uganda won by 10 wickets
Eswatini 72/10 Uganda 76/4
Man of Match: Frank Nsubuga 3 wickets for 9 runs in 4 overs
Uganda won by 6 wickets
Uganda 176/6 Ghana 97/10
Man of Match: Dinesh Nakrani 20 runs off 7 balls & 3 wickets for 17 runs
Uganda won by 79 runs
Uganda 164/5 Seychelles 69/9
Man of Match: Dinesh Nakrani 37 runs off 19 balls & 5 wickets for 8 runs (hattrick)
Uganda won by 95 runs
ROLL OF HONOURS
Runners up: Ghana
Third place: Malawi
Man of Series:
Dinesh Nakrani of Uganda (81 runs & 21 wickets – including a hattrick & 2 fivers)
Orichide Tuyisenge of Rwanda (199 runs with a century)
Dinesh Nakrani of Uganda (21 wickets for 73 runs in 23 overs)
Walking into the tournament as the top-ranked side in Twenty20 Internationals at 29th in the world, the Cricket Cranes punched their weight en route to finishing unbeaten at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 Sub Regional World Cup Qualifier in Kigali last weekend.
A 95-run drubbing of Seychelles at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Oval in Kicukiro District – Kigali City on October 23rd sealed Uganda’s flawless campaign to ensure Uganda not only lifted the tournament trophy but also sealed booked a place at the table of men – The ICC T20 World Cup Africa Finals scheduled for November 15th to 21st in Rwanda.
ICC qualifying events have made themselves ever so popular as cut-throat events and the advent of TV in this post-Covid-19 pandemic era made them attract more followers and viewers across the globe with several teams labelled as potential banana skins and tournament dark horses.
Uganda got their campaign off to a flyer courtesy of a commanding 10-wicket win over 59th ranked Malawi at the IPRC Oval on October 16. Bilal Hassun, Riazat Ali Shah and Frank Akankwasa prized out two wickets apiece to restrict Malawi to 98 for 7 before Simon Ssesazi struck 10 boundaries in a beautiful unbeaten half-ton of 62 off 39 balls to blow them away.
Against the hosts Rwanda at the IPRC Oval, Uganda silenced the home crowd with an authoritative performance en route to a 106-run victory. Man of Match Ronak Patel controlled Uganda’s innings with an unbeaten half-century 63 runs off 37 balls after an opening stand of 53 runs from Ssesazi (32) and Saud Islam (43) in 7.4 overs as Uganda set 169 runs for 4 wickets. That total proved too much for the hosts who crumbled to 63 all out thanks to a team bowling effort led by Dinesh Nakrani with figures of 3 wickets for 9 runs in 3 overs.
On the double-header day, also hosted by the IPRC Oval, Uganda made light work of Lesotho by 10 wickets in a match that Nakrani equalled the world record for the best spell in T20Is set by India’s Deepak Chahar with miserly figures of 6 wickets for 7 runs in 4 overs as southern Africans were bundled out for 26 runs in 12.4 overs. Uganda’s openers strolled home in 3.4 overs.
Then against Eswatini, Uganda’s mettle strength was given a reality check after the opposition recovered from 22 for 7 to set 72 runs and then proceeded to prize out four wickets as the Cricket Cranes limped home in 12.1 overs for a 6-wicket victory. Veteran ace Frank Nsubuga, who did open-bowling duties throughout the tournament claimed the Man of Match award with economical figures of 3 wickets for 9 runs in 4 overs.
In Uganda’s only match at the beautiful Gahanga Stadium against the ‘big talking’ Ghanaians, Deus Muhumuza and his teammates unleashed their best cricket of the tournament. Islam’s bat caught fire with 67 runs from 54 balls and Ssesazi flourished with 37 off 30 before Nakrani (20 off 7), Shah (14 off 12) and Akankwasa (17 off 9) enjoyed some lusty hitting as Uganda set 176 runs for the loss of 6 wickets – their highest total of the tournament.
Uganda’s bowling from another planet as Ghana huffed and puffed their way to 97 runs all out in 19.1 overs. Nakrani (3 for 17), Nsubuga (2 for 11), Shah (2 for 7), Hassun (2 for 18) and skipper Muhumuza (1 for 18) shared the 10 wickets in a collective team effort.
Keeping it calm
And anywhere in the world, a flawless six-out-of-six record calls for over-the-top celebrations. But skipper Muhumuza and his teammates kept it simple by just patting themselves on the back and joining the other teams to clap for themselves as they stepped onto the dais to receive their medals and trophy from Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) president Stephen Musaale during the awards ceremony at La Pallise Hotel in Nyamata on October 23rd.
“We only regained our rightful place at the top of Group,” said Muhumuza, who alongside his teammates felt that Uganda didn’t deserve to be playing in this sub-regional qualifier. But cricket can be funny. If we hadn’t come here, we wouldn’t have been able to go back to the Africa Finals. So, for us, we came here (Kigali) to do one job (qualify) and we will be back to do one job again (qualify for Global Qualifiers)"
Throughout the showpiece, coach Laurence Mahatlane’s brigade left nothing to chance as they piled on wins in commanding fashion save for one match against Eswatini.
“I am super proud of how the boys played and bounced back from the Eswatini game,” said Uganda’s South African tactician. To allow their last three wickets score 50 runs was unacceptable and our batting was a bit disappointing. But hindsight being a perfect art; obviously we were mentally challenged with the weather around as we tried to do too much quickly and didn’t keep it simple. But largely we have showed who we are. Especially in the game against the other contenders Ghana who we restricted to less than 100. We respected every opposition here and were always switched on.”
Assistant coach Jackson Ogwang, who has been around the team much longer, was happy with the attitude, discipline and mental strength is shown by the team throughout.
“We were always looking to come back strong in every match. Bio bubble life drains in every way but the mental strength shown by the team was stellar. The 14 selected guys played to their level and standard like professionals whenever they were called upon. We want to continue improving and executing the games plans in every next match.”
The six wins from the Sub Regional Qualifier took Uganda to a record 11 successive victories in T20Is to ascend to third in the world with Afghanistan and Romania atop the log with 12 straight wins apiece.
FINAL - TABLE STANDINGS
M W L T N/R PTS NRR
- 1. Uganda 6 6 0 0 0 12669
- 2. Ghana 6 5 1 0 0 10 2.220
- 3. Malawi 6 4 2 0 0 8 -0.026
- 4. Rwanda 6 3 3 0 0 6 -0.516
- 5. Seychelles 6 2 4 0 0 4 -345
- 6. Eswatini 6 1 5 0 0 2 -2.064
- Lesotho 6 0 6 0 0 0 -3.830
W=Win, L=Loss, T=Tie, N/R=No Result, PTS=Points, NRR=Net Run Rate