By Alvin Bagaya
The state of affairs in the Easter series between Uganda and Kenya is threatening to become predictable. Uganda fighting like the Myrmidons under Achilles in the Trojan war out of every tight spot that Kenya has pushed them into so far, coming out victors; the kind of fight coach Steve Tikolo will expect from his men come May 21st during the World cricket League Division 3 qualifiers.
Henry Ssenyondo (4/36 in 10 overs) was the first to find the Kenyans out in the game 1 of the series. The left arm spinner picked Collins Obuya 09(09), Dhiren Gondaria 11(23), Gurdeep Singh 06(11) and Captain Shem Obado 12(17) in a tight spell that left Kenya 108/7 and eventually 147 all out.
Ssenyondo’s spell was possible on the back of a parsimonious Frank Nsubuga ( 2/24 in 10 overs) who created the pressure situation that saw batsmen taking a lot more risk; Ssebanja and Charles Waiswa having opened the bowling with a very disciplined line and length.
The highest run scorer on the Kenyan side was bowling all-rounder Nelson Mandela Odhiambo, it is difficult to win games when your bowling all-rounder is topping the innings score.
Uganda was practical in the run chase, from a gritty Hamu Kayondo who most think got an unlucky LBW to Roger Mukasa 29(66), Davis Karashani 23(33) and Brian Masaba 13(19), every batsman in the Uganda line up kept the flashy shots away, choosing to play a mundane brand of cricket that wins games.
Ssenyondo, Nsubuga, Mukasa, Masaba and Karashani chipping in. Only Shem Obado (2/28 in 10 Overs) and Nelson Odhiambo turned up for Kenya.
A bowling all-rounder and one accurate left arm spinner was never going to get Kenya that win.
Game 2: Kyambogo Oval
The players woke up to an over watered pitch that caused start of play to be pushed by 3.5 hours. Kenya batted well, Collins Obuya 48(48) and Dhiren Gondaria 36(33) finding their batting form. Unfortunately for most, but especially Kenya; the game was washed out, Kenya having set 169 in the 31 allotted overs of the reduced overs game.
Deus Muhumuza (3/18 in 6 overs) returned to haunt the Kenyan batting after his 5/49 in 8 overs at the Nairobi Jaffery’s Sports Club on 23rd September 2016 when Kenya collapsed from 159/4 to 194/9; Deus masterminding a 5/35 collapse. Uganda won by two wickets on the day.
Gondaria 36(33) for the second game gifted Uganda his priceless wicket when he looked well set, the way he was striking the ball shows he is the most in form batsman for either side on the tour, but he is simply not capitalizing on this.
The Kenyan batters found form, but were not kicking on when it mattered the most. The Ugandan fielding looked lethargic on the day; probably still a bit hangover from the previous day’s victory.
Uganda’s body language in the field did not convey the message of a side ready to chase down 168 runs in 31 overs and may have been thankful for the rain.
Game tied. Uganda 1-0.
Game 3: Lugogo Oval
When you’re facing a series fightback, there’s one obvious choice: Raise your game. And Kenya did exactly that, what they may not have counted on was Uganda fighting on like they were the ones behind in the series.
Given the conditions of the wicket, Uganda may have secretly known they were at least 20-25 runs short of a fighting score on the day and maybe 40 off the defendable total, they relied on a middle order fightback of 74 for the 6th wicket after two set openers; Kyobe 30(41) and Hamu 30(63) failed to turn good starts into meaningful runs.
Kenya did not do themselves any favours in the run chase, Only three men contributing meaningfully with the bat, Gondaria 56(52) and Obuya 50(54), both ‘threw away’ their wickets at a crucial point of the game. Karim 20(49) fought gallantly, but was fast running out of partners, and there is little one can do about LBW.
Uganda run hard, especially the opening pair and sixth wicket pair. They pushed the Kenyan fielding like they were the ones down in the series, a sign of some hard words that may have come down from the coach about their performance in the field in game 2.
Their bowlers fought even harder, when defeat looked more likely, having lost Frank Nsubuga to a muscle problem, Roger Mukasa his younger brother bowling for the first time in the series conjured up two late wickets with Skipper Davis Karashani cleaning house from the Jinja road end.
Once again, an all round team performance from Uganda, Kenya only had two batsmen digging in, but never finished the job.
It is possible Kenya’s luck may be down, decisions not going their way or those 50/50 chances falling Uganda’s way; like the mesmerizing catch Kyobe and Masaba pulled off, half an inch more for Kyobe and that could have been six and curtains for Uganda with Obuya proving he can be a limpet when the need arises.
The series goes to Game 4 at Lugogo Oval; Kenya will need to find victory somehow to keep it alive, one feels that Obanda, Karim, and Gurdeep are due some runs, and if they do come their way, it will be an operose affair for the Cranes.
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TOURAMENT HASHTAG: #ICCWCL3UG
19th April 2017
|RISING ZEBRAS VS ROARING LIONS||243/4 - 179/7||LUGOGO CRICKET OVAL|
|CHARGING LEOPARDS VS MIGHTY RHINOS||55/3 - 60/1||LUGOGO CRICKET OVAL|
|ACC VS SKLPS(R1)||160/6 - 162/7||BUDO CRICKET OVAL|
|AVENGERS VS NYAKASURA (R1)||172/6 - 140/5||BUDO CRICKET OVAL|
|AVENGERS CC vs J.A.C.C (R1)||194/8 - 131||JINJA S.S.S|
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