Ugandan cricket can deservedly return and dine at the table of men after conquering the Division Four Tier of International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World Cricket League (WCL) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 6.Uganda’s seven-run victory over Jersey ensured the Cricket Cranes notch only their first global title in 11 years.
Uganda was last at the podium after winning the inaugural Division III showpiece in 2007 Darwin, Australia.
Three current squadsmen; left-arm seamer Charles Waiswa, off-spinner Frank Nsubuga and captain Roger Mukasa are the only surviving members from that victorious team.
And it was fitting that two of them that took to the field at the UKM-YSD Oval in Bangi were the architects of Uganda’s historic seven-run win over Jersey that made certain a return from Division IV to III.
Blood brothers Nsubuga and Mukasa stood out like the proverbial sore thumb with distinctive performances in the low scoring thriller that decided and sealed Uganda’s ‘fate’.
In a game replayed because of Saturday’ (May 5’s) thunderstorm-strewn heavy downpour at the National University (UKM-YSD) Oval, Uganda managed only 90 runs on a wicket that was slow and turning square.
Former U-19 skipper Kenneth Waiswa (34 off 63) and Riazat Ali Shah (22 off 60), who featured in a solid sixth-wicket partnership of 60 runs, alongside Nsubuga (13 off 23) showed immense maturity to reach double figures on the tricky surface as Jersey’s slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Stevens 4 for 22 enjoyed a perfect day in office.
The low score left Uganda’s dug out under pressure and they were seen pressing hard their calculators and spreadsheets to find out what they needed to stay alive in what has been a cut-throat competition.
Knowing they needed to bowl at least 20.3 overs before Jersey reached the target 91 to consolidate the No.2 position on the log and make certain promotion to the Division III tier, captain Mukasa unleashed his quartet of spinners including himself to do damage control.
Mystery leg-spinner Irfan Afridi (1/23) and left-armer Henry Ssenyondo (1/29) bowled parsimonious spells but it was Nsubuga and Mukasa, who blew them away like a Tornado.
Nsubuga, who was adjudged Man of Match (MoM), spun cobwebs around the Channel Islanders to return immense figures of 4 for 20 in 10 overs including four maidens to leave the opposition struggling at 47 for 6 just after lunch.
Hard fought win
His younger sibling Mukasa mobbed up the tail-enders with magical figures of 3 for 7 in 4 overs with the last man given out LBW on 83 all out to give Uganda an unexpected but deserving seven-run win in the low-scoring thriller.
Coach Steve Tikolo and his brigade will touch down at at Entebbe Airport tomorrow (May 7) aboard Emirates and the cricket fraternity is set to give them a worthy reception.