Presenting The Cricket Cauldron’s weekly wrap-up on the latest happenings on the African Associate cricket scene.
Uganda reign supreme in rain-hit Malaysia
After having narrowly lost their first game against the hosts, Uganda won four on the trot to finish on top, with eight points, at the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four in Malaysia, thus successfully returning to Division Three. Uganda, along with second-placed Denmark, will join Oman, Kenya, United States and Singapore in the WCL Division Three tournament to be held later this year.
Two days after his haul of 6/23 against Bermuda, Mohammed Irfan Afridi starred with the bat, smashing 51 in just 17 balls, including seven sixes, to help Uganda overcome a sluggish start and post 222/8 against Vanuatu. He later took 3/24 as Vanuatu were bowled out for 141. Medium pace-bowling all-rounder Riazat Ali Shah also did his bit, scoring a quick 38 and taking 3/16.
The Cricket Cranes’ fourth game saw them clinch a crucial one-run win over Denmark. Hamu Kayondo (51) and Brian Masaba (47) held the top order together, before a collapse of five for 26 sent Uganda siding to 148/7. Teenagers Fred Achelam (39) and Kenneth Waiswa (37*) staged a counterattack, adding 58 for the eighth wicket in only five overs to to eventually propel Uganda to 215/8.
Rain interrupted play when the Danes were 73/4 in 23.4 overs in reply, and when the players returned, the target was revised to 131 from 29 overs. Denmark were favourites going into the last over, needing five runs with four wickets in hand. However, the off-spin of captain Roger Mukasa produced a stirring over that saw four wickets, including two run outs, breaking Danish hearts in the process.
Two final-round games, including Uganda’s against Jersey, were replayed on the last day due to rain, meaning the playoffs was scrapped. In another dramatic duel, Uganda won by seven runs despite totalling only 90, as Jersey succumbed to the off-spinning duo of Frank Nsubuga (4/20) and Mukasa (3/17) to crumble for 83. Afridi finished as the leading wicket-taker, with 15 scalps at 9.60 apiece.
Uganda’s players rejoice after their team prevailed over Denmark in a nail-biting contest at the WCL Division Four (source – icc-cricket.com)
Lady Cricket Cranes triumph in Harare
The WCL Division Four win was not the only success story for Uganda in the past week. The women’s team cemented their position as the strongest African Associate force in the shortest format by winning the quadrangular T20 challenge (also featuring Namibia and Tanzania) in Zimbabwe. This success augurs well ahead of the Women’s World T20 Qualifier in the Netherlands in July.
After winning four of their six league matches, Uganda beat Zimbabwe in the final, as was the case at the Women’s World T20 Africa Qualifier last year. Batting first, Uganda posted 104/5 on the board, with Immmaculate Nakisuyi (34) and Franklyn Najjumba being the chief scorers. Later, Rita Musamali (2/17) was the pick of the bowlers as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 97.
Odumbe positive about a Kenyan renaissance
Maurice Odumbe, who was appointed as coach of the Kenyan team by the Cricket Kenya Interim Management Committee last month, has stated that he is optimistic of a turnaround by the national team, which has suffered a rapid decline of late. Kenya were demoted to Division Three of the World Cricket League in February, following a winless Division Two campaign in Namibia.
Odumbe, who captained Kenya at their first World Cup in 1996 and was man of the match in their upset win against the West Indies, said that he has a lot of confidence in the Kenyan side, and promised the Kenyan people that ‘the team will regain both, its Division One position and ODI status’. He added that the fitness of the players and stability in the batting order would be the key areas of focus.
ACA Regional Conference held in Nairobi
The Azure Westlands Hotel in Nairobi hosted the African Cricket Association (ACA) / ICC Regional Conference from May 5-8. The ACA Annual General Meeting and the ICC Annual Conference constituted the four-day meeting. ICC Chief Executive Officer Dave Richardson and ICC Africa Development Manager Patricia Kambarami were among the officials present.
The conference was attended by delegates from the 21 member countries of the ACA. The members all agreed on improving governance, administration and sustainability within the game in Africa. The theme of the ICC Conference was ‘Thinking Differently and Boldly – Africa beyond 2023’. Nigeria were praised for their successful hosting of the World T20 Africa Qualifier A last month.