- Cricket. Only playing in the topflight for the first time, 2016 Second Division champions Aziz Damani are destined to seal the championship if they can getter the better of Challengers today.
KAMPALA. The tight competition for honours in this year’s Jazz Safari National Cricket League has served up a thrilling finale.
Unlike last year when Tornado Bee won their fourth successive league crown with a 100 per cent record, this season has seen the rails come off as they suffered two losses. Their rivals for the title - Aziz Damani - have not enjoyed a smooth ride either.
The 2016 Division II champions’ progress has been duly checked as justified by their two losses thus far. But the title remains theirs to lose.
Aziz Damani were an impressed side last weekend as their victory over KICC in Lugogo coincided with Tornado Bee’s loss to Challengers in Entebbe.
The Siva Koti-managed side will be crowned champions if they beat Challengers at the lakeside oval in Entebbe today.
“We needed to bounce back after the loss to Kutchi Tigers,” Aziz Damani stand-in captain Brian Masaba said after beating KICC last Sunday.
“But we still need to win our next game against Challengers if we are to have our hands on the trophy.”
Having amassed 61 points from 12 matches and Tornado Bee 10 points adrift in third, this is the only hurdle remaining in the way of the men in yellow. A win with a bonus point counts for six points hence Damani’s win today implies they will be unreachable.
But Challengers are not going to roll a red carpet for Damani. Skipper Henry Ssenyondo can afford to smile at left-hander Arthur Kyobe’s late sparkle but greater contribution from Irfan Afridi and Hamu Kayondo could trouble Damani.
On the other hand, Damani boasts of the league’s best bowler thus far - Kenneth Waiswa with 29 scalps.
Also, should Arnold Otwani, Steve Tikolo and Masaba getting into their batting zones, Challengers’ bowlers Afridi and David Wabwire will be challenged.
In the end, it could boil down to mathematics should Damani fail to beat the 2016 runners-up and Tornado Bee beats KICC in Kyambogo.
While the league could be wrapped up in Entebbe, Patidar Samaj’s relegation partners could be found when Nile face Charity Trust Fund in Lugogo.
Charity, who scored 535 runs with Olive Soames’ century (135 off 83) and a half-ton from Jonathan Sebanja (92 off 47), are 11 points ahead of Nile and a win guarantees them life in the top tier next season.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL CRICKET LEAGUE
TODAY - DIVISION ONE (10:30AM)
Charity vs. Nile, Lugogo
Tornado Bee vs. KICC, Kyambogo
Aziz Damani vs. Challengers, Entebbe
Tornado vs. ACC, Budo
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
Points Table - Division One
TEAM P W L T Bonus Pts NRR
Aziz Damani 12 10 2 0 11 61 3.105
Kutchi Tigfers 14 10 4 0 10 60 1.860
Tornado Bee 12 9 3 0 6 51 1.092
K.I.C.C 13 8 5 0 6 46 0.671
Challengers 10 5 5 0 8 33 0.793
Charity TF 12 4 8 0 3 23 -0.936
Nile 11 2 9 0 2 12 -2.070
Patidar Samaj 12 0 12 0 0 0 -5.931
*T denotes Tie, B = Bonus Points, Pts =Points,
NRR = Net Run Rate. Last two teams after 14
games apiece will be relegated to Division Two.