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2019 Cricket Review: Cricket Cranes save season

By Charles Mutebi

Added 4th January 2020 01:06 PM

Uganda not only outclassed everybody, recording a first-ever win over Kenya in an ICC tournament, but they also discovered a genuine batting big three of Shazad Ukani, Ronak Patel and Dinesh Nakrani that could alter the fortunes of Uganda.

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Uganda lay strategy against Kenya during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup Africa Final preliminary match at Lugogo, May 22 2019. Photo by Michael Nsubuga

Uganda not only outclassed everybody, recording a first-ever win over Kenya in an ICC tournament, but they also discovered a genuine batting big three of Shazad Ukani, Ronak Patel and Dinesh Nakrani that could alter the fortunes of Uganda.

CRICKET

The clouds gathered and swords were pointed as the Cricket Cranes departed for round one of ICC CWC Challenge League Group B in Oman. Brian Masaba’s men were going to lose again and be the same old losers again.

Uganda had finished an abysmal fourth in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Africa Region Final seven months prior to the Oman tournament and here was another international embarrassment coming. It had to be stopped and fans wanted it to be stopped but deep down they knew it wouldn’t.

Even the most optimistic Cranes fans struggled to see Steve Tikolo’s team bettering nemeses Kenya and giants Hong Kong.

Wrong!

Uganda not only outclassed everybody, recording a first-ever win over Kenya in an ICC tournament, but they also discovered a genuine batting big three of Shazad Ukani, Ronak Patel and Dinesh Nakrani that could alter the fortunes of Uganda.

Given how long the Cranes have struggled to create anything resembling a batting spine, the suggestion that one may be taking shape makes 2019 quite a special year for cricket.

 
 gandas inesh akurani in action against  otswana during an  ens 20 orld up frica inal preliminary match at ugogo ay 20 2019 Uganda's Dinesh Nakurani in action against Botswana during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup Africa Final preliminary match at Lugogo, May 20, 2019.

 


Constitutional ills

The peaceful resolution to the historic impasse in the election for a new UCA chairman was, for the lovers of systemic, democratic governance, a special success. The loopholes that left Bashir Ansasira and Paul Nsibuka with equal votes at the first polls are technically unavoidable given the small number of voting clubs.

Therefore, any criticisms about the process are really criticisms against the constitution, which reserves voting for Tornado, Wanderers, Nile, ACC, Premier, Tornado Bee, JACC and KICC and is silent on what happens in the case of a stalemate.

Nevertheless, in retaining the legal status quo, thanks to Ansasira’s victory in the rerun, the cricket fraternity set themselves up for a similar crisis down the road. What a lack of foresight and leadership. Why not close the gap once and for all?  Who knows what the cost of the next tie will be?

Damani dynasty

Aziz Damani may not have voting rights but they got titles. A whole lot of them.

The 2019 Women’s Division I National League, Women’s Mehta Premier League, Women’s Division II National League, UCA Men’s Division III League, UCA Men’s T20 Cup all went to an Aziz Damani.

Only their UCA Men’s Division II club failed to win silverware in 2019, finishing fifth out of eight teams. And the biggest prize may be yet to come, with men’s elite championship to be decided between Damani and Challengers in the next few weeks.

 ziz amanis aud slam batting against the hallengers hoto by ichard anya Aziz Damani's Saud Islam batting against the Challengers. Photo by Richard Sanya

 


Damani need only win their last five games, including the season-ending tantalising clash with Challengers, to complete the three-peat. And for a club that has not lost a game in over two years that is hardly daunting.

Of course, the neutrals don’t want it and perhaps sport governing body are antsy over it but nothing accords more with fair ethos of cricket than letting the best team win. Truthfully, Damani is less team than a force, reshaping the local cricket landscape one club at a time, one title at a time.

A third successive national title will make official what is already obvious – the Damani dynasty.

 

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