The the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League gets underway in Kampala on Friday June 17 until June 27.
The tournament is a qualification pathway to the 2023 Cricket World Cup that will be played in India.
The games will be played at the Lugogo and Kyambogo Cricket Oval while Entebbe is a standby venue in case any of the two prove unplayable.
There are six nations in Group B that is hosts Uganda, Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda, Italy and Kenya.
The 1st round of the Challenge League B was hosted by Oman in 2019.
The leg in Kampala is the second while Jersey will host the third and final leg later due July/August.
This Challenge League B is played over three rounds with the top side after the three rounds moving on to the next round of qualifiers.
Uganda came out victors after winning five out five games played in Oman and now sit three points ahead of Hong Kong at the top of the table.
Challenge League B Table
1. Uganda – 10
2. Hong Kong – 7
3. Italy – 5
4. Jersey – 4
5. Kenya – 3
6. Bermuda – 1
Challenge League B Fixture:
•Uganda v Jersey – Lugogo
•Hong Kong v Italy – Lugogo
•Kenya v Bermuda – Kyambogo
•Kenya v Jersey – Lugogo
•Hong Kong v Uganda – Kyambogo
•Uganda v Bermuda – Lugogo
•Jersey v Italy Kyambogo
•Kenya v Italy – Lugogo
•Hong Kong v Bermuda – Kyambogo
•Hong Kong v Jersey – Lugogo
•Uganda v Italy – Kyambogo
•Kenya v Uganda – Lugogo
•Jersey v Bermuda – Kyambogo
•Bermuda v Italy – Lugogo
•Kenya v Hong Kong – Kyambogo
Long Road To India 2023
To qualify to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India, Uganda must finish top of this six-team group after the three legs for starters.
Then, the Cricket Cranes will reach the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off and will be joined by other five teams including the bottom four finishers at Cricket World Cup League 2 and the other winner of the Challenge League A.
In that Qualifier Play-off, target is to finish among the top two for a place in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe next year.
That Qualifier in Zimbabwe will have ten teams and the top two qualifies to the glamorous World Cup in India 2023.
Qualifying for the World Cup is a big ask for Uganda, but a strong run in is the target for the Uganda Cricket which might come with sealing an ODI status.
Cricket Cranes Banking On Home Advantage
Uganda’s men team have not found enormous success while playing at home in recent past.
That 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division Three ‘ended in tears’ after Uganda finished second last to earn demotion to Division IV.
That 13-run loss to USA in the last group game in May 2017 at Entebbe left tears in many Ugandan faces.
Recently in 2019, Kenya beat Uganda by just one run in a T20 World Cup Africa final tournament game at Lugogo, and just like that, Uganda missed out on a chance to progress to the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in United Arab Emirates.
A lot has happened since then, mainly, the acquisition of South African coach Laurence Mahatlane who has added renewed hope after a string of impressive results.
Uganda drew with Namibia 1-1 in the 50 over series recently, split trial games with Jersey and played a couple of games Kaduna and other internal games in preparations for this Tournament.
Mahatlane said: “We have had good preparations, we have spoken throughout these couple of weeks about how long we have been preparing for this tournament and it’s exciting to play at home. The boys are excited and looking forward to performing on home soil.
“We did a quiet of in-depth analysis and research and from our side we are also focussed on our game in terms of what we need to do and what we are looking to execute our game plans.”
The composition of Cricket Cranes is a blend of youth and old. Juma Miyagi who featured for the Baby Cranes at the U19 World Cup in West Indies early this year headlining the young contingent.
Off-spin bowler Franco Nsubuga who has been on the National team since 2001 is among the veterans.
But Uganda will not have Bilal Hassan and Shazad Kamal who were their top two best players in Oman (first round) for the second leg in Kampala due to injury and personal committments.
How To Watch – Entrance is free of charge at both venues, while those online can access the games on ICC TV app
Uganda – Fred Achelam, Simon Ssesazi, Ronak Patel, Brian Masaba, Frank Akankwasa, Emmanuel Hasahya, Dinesh Nakrani, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Riazat Ali Shah, Kenneth Waiswa, Cosmas Kyewuta, Frank Nsubuga, Juma Miyagi, Henry Ssenyondo
Jersey – Jake Dunford, Jonty Jenner, Nick Greenwood, Zak Tribe, Ben Stevens, Harrison Carlyon, Dominic Blampied, Benjamin Ward, Julius Sumerauer, Charles Perchard, Josh Lawrenson, Daniel Birrell, Anthony Hawkins-Kay, Elliot Miles
Hong Kong – Jamie Atkinson, Babar Hayat, Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Adit Gorawara, Yasim Murtaza, Aizaz Khan, Haroon Arshed, Ayush Shukla, Daniel Pascoe, Ehsan Khan, Mohammad Ghazanfar, Vikas Sharma, Zeeshan Ali
Italy – Manpreet Singh, Bentota Perera, Gian Meade, Amir Sharif, Jamie Grassi, Nikolai Smith, Nicholas Maiolo, Crishan Kalugamage, Sukhwinder Singh, Jaspreet Singh, Madupa Fernando, Damith Kosala
Kenya – Irfan Karim, Alex Obanda, Rakep Patel, Nelson Odhiambo, Rushab Patel, Collins Obuya, Sachin Bhudia, Shem Ngoche, Emmanuel Bundi, Vraj Patel, Elijah Otieno, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Eugene Ochieng, Tanzeel Sheikh
Bermuda – Jamar Stovel, Steven Bremar, Dennico Hollis, Jabari Darrell, Dominic Sabir, Kamau Leverock, Malachi Jones, Charles Trott, Dalin Richardson, Zeko Burgess, Cameron Jeffers, Najiyah Raynor, Amari Ebbin, Jelani Richardson