Sunday, June 26
•Uganda Vs Kenya – Lugogo
•Bermuda Vs Jersey – Kyambogo
The Region is at standstill as Uganda meet eternal rivals Kenya at Lugogo in the Challenge League B encounter on Sunday.
This will be Uganda’s last game in the second round while it’s the penultimate for Kenya who will climax their campaign against Hong Kong on Monday.
And the six-nation tournament will shift to Jersey (July 28 to August 10) for the third and final leg of the Challenge League B to see which top team continues with the Qualifiers in a long walk to the Cricket World Cup in India next year.
A win for Uganda on Sunday will ensure that Laurence Mahatlane’s side will end the second round on top of standings whatever result comes from the remaining games in this round.
But against Kenya, Uganda will be facing a side they know each other in and out.
The Cricket Cranes were big favourites coming into this second round having won all five games in the first round two years back in Oman.
But two opening losses against Jersey and Hong Kong left the home side stunned, however, subsequent wins over Bermuda and Italy have seen the side back on the path.
Although, many feel that the Cricket Cranes are yet to play at the level they expect them to be.
In that seven-wicket win game against Italy, Uganda had Italy at the ropes early but allowed the side to recover from 43/5 to add on more 77 runs in a game they could finished off with ease.
They are yet to bat anything above 200, having chocked chasing Jersey’s 255 in the opener before they were all out 94 against Hong Kong in Kyambogo.
Simon Ssesazi’s two fifties and Ronak Patel’s admirable patience have been Uganda’s top highlights with the bat, but more aggressiveness may be required against an experienced Kenyan foe.
With the ball, the attack has blown hot and cold – Henry Ssenyondo has been admirable after his low Economy while Franco Nsubuga’s spin has proved expensive and that explains why he has been played sparingly.
Kenya Seek To Exert Authority
As Uganda is searching for
maiden appearance in a World Cup, Kenya on the other hand have played in five including reaching the semis in 2003 when it took a legendary Sachin Tendulkar to stop that team led by former Cricket Cranes coach Steven Tikolo.
Their history, that includes being an ODI nation for almost 20 years, is well storied.
But a couple of years back, blame it on administrative issues, Kenya Cricket is on a downward spiral.
And Uganda is slowly taking up the region’s powerhouse crown, a title Kenya is not handing over that easily to their ‘young brother’ as they prefer to call the Pearl of Africa neighbor.
They boss with experienced players including captain Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya among other household names.
After restricting Bermuda to 108, they chased that total before the 20th oval in their first game of the second round.
After that Jersey loss set back, they set a lofty 340 target against Italy who later chocked for Kenya to win by 134 runs.
And facing Uganda, they will fancy their chances against a side they know how to beat.
The most memorable past meeting was in 2019 when they Cricket Cranes lost to Kenya by just one run in a T20 World Cup Africa final tournament at Lugogo.
But Uganda went on to avenge that loss later that year in Oman, beating Kenya by three wickets in Challenge League B first round, with Ronak Patel hitting 86 off 106 to erase Kenya’s earlier total of 253.
Uganda beat Kenya last year in the Africa T20 Qualifiers held in Kigali having beaten the side in the Tri Nation series at Entebbe earlier.
In 50 Overs, Kenya beat Uganda by 5 wickets in 2015 in World Challenge Division Two and by 47 runs in 2014 at Mount Maunganui in World Cup Qualifiers.