In Summary

  • Any sort of victory, today, will take them to the proverbial ‘Promised Land’ - the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand early next year.
  • And even if they lose against Kenya, tomorrow, the margin of defeat must be overwhelmingly magnanimous for them to be bounced off the Airbus to Auckland in January 2018.

NAIROBI.

It is not a win or bust situation. After keeping a clean slate in all their four encounters at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifier, the Baby Cricket Cranes have destiny in their own hands.

Any sort of victory, today, will take them to the proverbial ‘Promised Land’ - the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand early next year. And even if they lose against Kenya, tomorrow, the margin of defeat must be overwhelmingly magnanimous for them to be bounced off the Airbus to Auckland in January 2018.

Coach Franco Otieno’s boys boast of a Net Run Rate (NRR) made-in-heaven (2.655), which is 1.612 better than their closest and only challenger Kenya (1.043). And after taking in ample rest on the reserve day yesterday, the Ugandans will be recharged for today’s clash against Ghana at the Nairobi Gymkhana Oval.

West African scare
The West Africans gave the East Africans a scare when the two nations met in the first round at Jaffreys Oval , only for Uganda to rally to a 32-run win after a collective team effort in the field while defending 148. There was a team bonding session for the team at the lavish Royal Orchid Azure Hotel ‘s swimming pool conducted by assistant coach Jackson Ogwang but it was physiotherapist Habiba Anguyo that was the busiest on the day as she attended to every player’s niggles and injuries.

“We are taking it slow and want to ensure everyone is in the right frame of mind for the must win game against our brothers from Ghana,” said the Dubai ICC High Performance Center-trained Ogwang.
“What is at stake is very important and the boys know. But we have asked them not to be over zealous. We have told them to continue playing in the same manner that allows them to produce results and enjoy their individual games.”

Selection migraine
The two coaches, who have been joined by the Kenyan pair of Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo and David Obuya, will have a welcome selection migraine with pace men Trevor Bukenya and Cosmas Kyewuta passed fit for the game. The pair paved way for Richard Agamire and spinner Gerald Mubiru against Botswana.

And with Agamire having shined with a six-wicket haul – his only game of the tournament - and reserve wicketkeeper Fred Achelam shooting 47 off 34, the coaches will be happy to select the Playing XI at the 11th hour.

In Lavington, Kenya have a chance to keep up the pressure on log leaders Uganda, but only If they attain a massive win against wounded Botswana and pray that Uganda ‘unlikely’ goes down to Ghana.