Uganda Cricket Cranes coach Laurence Mahatlane wants his players to kick on after an impressive form going into the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier Regional Final.
Uganda has won 11 consecutive matches and will be banking on this form heading to Rwanda where they will face Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania for a place in the Global Qualifiers next year as Uganda take baby steps to the 2022 T20 Cricket World Cup in Australia.
Uganda returns to Rwanda where they secured a sole ticket to the finals thanks to a successful Regional Qualifiers.
“We played some good cricket in Rwanda, and I think both the U19 and the Men’s teams have showed some good form there and we are fortunate that we are going back to Rwanda where we know the facilities, we have stayed at those hotels, played at both fields and hopefully that sends us in good stead in terms of experience,” stated Mahatlane.
On the team’s form, the South African said: “We have had an amazing year as a team and group, we are now number 3 in the world in terms of consecutive number of wins, we have won 11 games in a row, so we are carrying good momentum into this tournament and hopefully long may continue.”
Mahatlane predicted a tough tournament against familiar opponents.
Uganda faced two of the three teams, that is Nigeria and Kenya, in the Tri Series this year at Entebbe while Tanzania are coached by former Cranes coach Steven Tikolo.
Mahatlane said: “It’s going to be tough; I think the fact that we have played each other in the Pearl of Africa Series says that we now know each other even a lot better, so everybody will be sitting down doing their analysis and try to close those small margins.”
“With Tanzania, coach Steven Tikolo knows us more and knows every single player in our squad. So we are sitting in a position where each and every day we have to be smart, to be quick on our feet in terms of thinking and adjust accordingly, so it’s not going to be easy.”
He added: “It’s a long journey. It started for us when we played against Namibia and we realised what it takes to get there and I am glad for them Namibia they have gone through to the World Cup, so it tells us that the lessons we learnt can stand us in good steady and hopefully we can come out with positive results.”
In the qualifiers, Uganda strolled through the minnows – Beating Malawi, Rwanda, Lesotho, Eswatini, Ghana and Seychelles to go through.
But the Cricket Cranes will be facing tougher opponents especially Kenya (25) who are ranked three places above Uganda.
“Everybody knows what is at stake and know what they are capable of doing, we just need to go and play. At the end of the day this is a sport it is a game and hopefully we get the positive results,” he added.
The Cricket Cranes will have Captain Brian Masaba back in the fold after he missed the Regional Qualifiers through injury.
Mahatlane said that having Masaba is “massive”
“If we look at World Standards, the top five bowlers (Wanindu Hasaranga, Tabraiz Shamsi, Adil Rashid, Rashid Khan & Adam Zampa) in T20 Cricket in the world, they are all spinners, you have got four leg spinners and Shamsi (left Arm unorthodox).
“Having a leg spinner is massive for us but Brian Masaba is not only good with the ball but his leadership is much needed, hopefully he pulls it through for us.
Uganda gets their campaign underway with a double header against Kenya and Nigeria at IPRC on November 17.