Cricket Cranes fired up

By Charles Mutebi, Kasozi Balikuddembe

Added 23rd May 2017 09:49 AM

Uganda have never failed to qualify from Division 3, securing promotion on their last two attempts.

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Uganda have never failed to qualify from Division 3, securing promotion on their last two attempts.

ICC World Cricket League Division 3
Today, 9am
Uganda v Canada (Lugogo)
Malaysia v Singapore (Kyambogo)
USA v Oman (Entebbe)

A history of success is slightly overshadowed by a present of unanswered questions as hosts Uganda open their much anticipated account in the 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division 3 against nemesis Canada today at Lugogo.

Uganda have never failed to qualify from Division 3, securing promotion on their last two attempts. Moreover they did it in Bermuda and Malaysia.

But now the Cricket Cranes are in their own backyard, more familiar with the playing conditions than the opposition.

Home advantage goes a long way in Cricket and, as much as any other reason, puts Steve Tikolo’s men in a good position to reach next Tuesday’s final.

But there are unknowns, starting with Uganda’s head-to-head against their opponent in the all-important tournament-

Uganda’s record versus Canada

Uganda have lost six out of seven-times to Canada and obviously there are more layers to the history between two sides.

Canada team manager Henry Osinde is Ugandan born and bred but switched allegiances to the North American country at the pinnacle of cricket powers.

Osinde made his debut for Canada in the 2005 ICC Trophy in an 18-run victory against Uganda and the 38 year-old is relishing the prospect of getting another win in his debut as team manager.

“We boast a depth of talent and that gives us an edge,” Osinde told New Vision sports.

The small matter of pressure

Canada, who were relegated with Uganda from the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division 2, have assembled a
competitive side that enjoyed a successful build-up in the Caribbean and will be confident of a headline-grabbing victory against the hosts.

Davis Karashani’s side will be aware of the far-reaching consequences of failing to secure a winning start. The resultant pressure could be very damaging and it remains to be seen how the Cranes will respond to being at home.

Monumental expectations can be overbearing and their extensive build-up over the last two months has undoubtedly cranked up the pressure on Tikolo’s team. Uganda’s 4-0 manhandling of Kenya in the Easter Series raised hopes but was that period of sustained excellence a sign of genuine transformation or a purple patch?

The question of the wicketkeeper

Then there’s the issue of Lawrence Ssematimba’s fitness. Has the team’s best wicketkeeper really recovered from his groin injury or should he have simply been left out?

“He passed a fitness test on Saturday,” Cranes coach Tikolo said.

Ssematimba’s experience means his availability will certainly add plenty to the cause but either way, the objective of a top-two finish is well within grasp.

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