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The rollercoaster journey as Uganda defended the ACA T20 Africa Cup


The Cricket Cranes endured a rollercoaster journey in the ACA T20 Africa Cup’s second edition, bouncing back from an initial loss to successfully defend their championship title.

In the previous year’s inaugural tournament, Uganda emerged victorious by defeating Tanzania in the finals.

However, the tide turned unexpectedly when Rwanda secured a stunning victory against Uganda’s Cricket Cranes, marking a significant milestone in Rwanda’s cricketing history.

This maiden win against the strong Cricket Cranes raised uncertainties regarding Uganda’s quest to retain their Africa Cup Title T20.

Captain Brian Masaba’s strategic choice to have Rwanda bat first didn’t deliver the desired outcome, despite commendable efforts from Uganda’s bowlers.

Henry Senyondo’s notable figures of 3/12 and Jonathan Sebanja’s 2/43 couldn’t prevent Rwanda from posting a competitive total of 115/9, largely propelled by Zappy Bimenyimana (20 off 11) and Hamza Khan (19 off 15).

Uganda’s chase seemed promising with Simon Ssesazi and Roger Mukasa guiding the innings.

However, pivotal run-outs and subsequent dismissals disrupted Uganda’s momentum.

In an intense finale, Uganda narrowly fell short by a mere two runs in the final over, handing Rwanda a historic victory.

In a remarkable turnaround, the Uganda Cricket Cranes displayed their resurgence against Malawi in a thrilling second game of the ACA T20 Africa Cup.

Malawi set a competitive total of 92/5, fueled by Donnex Kasonkho’s 41 off 58 balls and Gift Kasonkho’s 38 off 44 balls.

Responding confidently, Uganda reached 93/3 through disciplined batting, led by Kenneth Waiswa’s brisk 22 off 15 balls and Robinson Obuya’s composed 38 off 27 balls.

Uganda’s bowlers exhibited exceptional skills, limiting Malawi’s score.

The emphatic victory by 7 wickets not only secured a win but also signaled Uganda’s resurgence, showcasing their resilience and determination in the tournament.

In the final group stage clash against Mozambique, Uganda faced off after the latter won the toss and elected to bowl.

Notably, with skipper Brian Masaba absent, Kenneth Waiswa stepped in as captain, and Jonathan Sebanja’s absence provided Riazat Ali Shah with his tournament debut.

Uganda put up a competitive total of 149/8, propelled by Roger Mukasa’s impressive 45 off 36 balls and Alpesh Ramjani’s quickfire 32 off 18 deliveries.

Mozambique struggled in their innings, managing only 98/10 against Uganda’s resilient bowlers, especially Henry Senyondo’s impactful 4/20 and Frank Nsubuga’s contribution of 3/20.

Despite Damiato Covana’s notable performance of 3/22 and Viera Tembo’s contribution of 16 runs for Mozambique, Uganda’s bowlers dominated, securing a victory by 51 runs. Covana’s effort, including his 15 runs off 14 balls with the bat, couldn’t prevent Uganda’s convincing win.

In a pivotal semifinal showdown, Uganda squared off against Botswana, choosing to field after winning the toss.

Botswana struggled, managing a mere 62/10, as Henry Ssenyondo and Bilal Hassun stood out, claiming 3 wickets each and limiting Botswana’s batting lineup.

Uganda’s reply was swift and dominant, with Simon Ssesazi’s explosive 34 off 16 balls and Roger Mukasa’s solid 26 off 16 deliveries guiding them to an emphatic victory by 10 wickets.

This comprehensive win not only secured Uganda’s spot in the final but also showcased their supremacy in both batting and bowling. In the highly anticipated finals against Kenya, Uganda posted a challenging 186/8.

Robinson Obuya’s impressive 57 off 38 balls and Dinesh Nakrani’s 29 off 25 anchored their innings.

Kenya fell short in response, managing only 95/10 against Henry Senyondo’s exceptional 4/20 and Bilal Hassun’s 2/21, supported by Dinesh Nakrani’s 2/18.

The resounding victory by 91 runs sealed Uganda’s retention of the trophy, highlighting their dominance and establishing them as a formidable force in cricket.

Key players like Obuya, Nakrani, Senyondo, and Hassun contributed significantly to Uganda’s championship triumph.

The untold story

In an overlooked aspect of the tournament, Uganda’s versatile batting allrounder, Riazat Ali Shah, joined the team later due to visa delays, remember he was very instrumental in last year’s final against Tanzania.

The team’s leadership saw a shift between Kenneth Waiswa and Brian Masaba, indicating strategic adaptations and possibly internal dynamics within the squad.

Henry Senyondo, Roger Mukasa, and Alpesh Ramjani secured spots in the tournament’s XI, with Riazat Ali Shah receiving an honorary mention.

ACA T20 Africa Cup tournament XI.

Notably, Henry Senyondo stood out by clinching both the Player of the Match award during the finals against Kenya, and the title of Best Bowler of the tournament, amassing an impressive tally of 16 wickets throughout the competition

Henry Ssenyondo receiving man of the match award after the finals.

Rwanda’s surprising victory over Uganda in the tournament opener raised initial hopes, but subsequent defeats halted their aspirations for progressing to the knockout stages.

Amidst the competitive matches, the Cricket Cranes utilized a rest day to visit the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. This immersive experience exposed the team to the untold tales of the Soweto uprisings during South Africa’s Apartheid era.

Beyond the cricketing arena, this poignant encounter expanded the players’ horizons, underlining the significance of broader awareness, empathy, and cultural understanding, fostering a deeper connection beyond the sport.

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