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ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers: Cricket Cranes Triumph in Opener


In a thrilling encounter at Namibia’s Wanderers Cricket Oval during the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers, the Cricket Cranes secured an impressive 8-wicket victory against Tanzania.

Their dominant performance positions them as strong contenders for one of the coveted spots in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup slated for the USA and the West Indies next year.

Captain Brian Masaba’s astute decision to bowl first after winning the toss proved strategic, limiting Tanzania’s batting might and restricting them to a modest 99/7 in 20 overs.

Opening bowlers Bilal Hassun and Riazat Ali Shah set the tone early, with Hassun dismissing Ivan Seleman in the third over, a crucial wicket given Seleman’s past strong performances for Tanzania.

Ivan stood out as a linchpin in Tanzania’s batting lineup, entering today’s game with an impressive strike rate of 159.52, the highest among the Tanzanian players.

His early dismissal was a significant moment for the Cricket Cranes, a cause for celebration as it deprived Tanzania of a key player known for his impactful contributions with the bat.

Never the less, Tanzania’s skipper, Abhik Patwa, exhibited resilience with a knock of 20 off 22 balls, while Sanjayakumar Thakor managed to exceed that with 22 off 16 balls.

However, the rest of the Tanzanian batting lineup struggled, failing to capitalize on their past competitive edge against Uganda in last year’s Final of the ACA Africa T20 Cup in South Africa.
The Cranes’ bowling all-rounder, Alpesh Ramjani, emerged as the star performer, claiming three wickets in his four-over spell, conceding 26 runs with an economy rate of 6.5.

Riazat Ali Shah also made significant contributions, securing two wickets for 14 runs in his four overs, while Bilal Hassun and Henry Ssenyondo chipped in with one wicket each.

Despite expectations for an easy chase, the Cricket Cranes stumbled, losing two wickets—Ronak Patel (15 off 20) and Roger Mukasa (9 off 10).

However, Simon Ssesazi’s composed innings of 31 off 35 deliveries, supported by Riazat Ali Shah’s impactful 47 off 27 balls, sealed the victory with a sublime six in the sixteenth over, earning him the well-deserved Man of the Match award.

Riazat Ali Shah receiving his man of match award.

Also Simon took on the role of wicketkeeper in the game as Coach Jackson sought an additional all-rounder in the lineup, necessitating the sacrifice of Cyrus Kakuru for tactical reasons.

Looking ahead, the Cricket Cranes face a formidable challenge against hosts Namibia on Friday, November 24th, at 2:50 PM, aiming to maintain their momentum in this intense tournament.

Additionally, other fixtures today in the qualifiers saw Kenya triumph over Rwanda by 17 runs, while Namibia claimed victory against Zimbabwe, positioning themselves as favorites in the competition.

As highly ranked associate nation Namibia and test nation Zimbabwe emerge as favorites in the tournament, Uganda faces the challenging task of competing against and defeating one of these formidable opponents to secure a spot in the T20 World Cup.

Namibia presently leads the table with a superior net run rate of 2.536, placing them at the forefront, while the Cricket Cranes hold the second position with a net run rate of 1.898.

Uganda’s path to securing a spot in the T20 World Cup appears challenging, requiring victories against tough opponents to realize their aspirations.

Nigeria, yet to play a match, will commence their campaign against Kenya, aiming to make their mark in this fiercely contested tournament.

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