KUALA LUMPUR-The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division IV is a cut-throat competition.
Everyone is bound to pay the price if they keep their eyes off the ball, even for one second.
Uganda find themselves in that sort of scenario at Round Three of the global meet here in Kuala Lumpur with little or no room for error.
An opening day controversial nine-run loss to hosts Malaysia and a convincing 189-run win against 2007 World Cup finalists Bermuda on Monday leaves them with no choice but to go for victory against Vanuatu when the two sides meet at the Royal Selangor Club today.
Despite not having won any match thus far, Vanuatu are potential banana skins if their loss margins are anything to go by. Following their inept show against Jersey when they were bundled out for 104 on a dusty pitch at the newly-laid UKM-YSD Oval, they bowled tight lines to ensure Jersey only managed to cross the line after 31 overs.
Then against Malaysia, the Pacific Island nation showed they will not be roll overs.
They restricted the Asian side to 196 before falling agonisingly close in their pursuit of victory by 23 runs.
With former South Australian wicketkeeper-cum-batsman Shane Deitz, a man who has played alongside Ashes Test winners Jason Gillespie and Damien Fleming, in their ranks, Vanuatu will throw the kitchen sink at the Cricket Cranes.
The 42-year-old Deitz is in a coach-player role, and with proteges like captain Andrew Mansale, Chilia Jelany and Joshua Rasu, he will be aiming to inspire Vanuatu to their first points of the tournament.
But Uganda know it’s them that are expected to triumph here and will be determined to play their brand of hard cricket to ensure the form book is not upset. Coach Steve Tikolo’s boys visited the Hotel Istana Gymansium and Swimming Pool, did some media work and later enjoyed a video session at the late evening team meeting, yesterday, as preparation for this encounter.
“We are not here as tourists,” said Uganda captain and opening batsman Roger Mukasa after the two-hour work-out session.
“We know exactly what we want to do. We are going to fight to win our remaining three games and even maybe the whole thing at the end. We are determined to do well.
Vanuatu are a good side but we will work to be better than them.”
Uganda don’t need any extra motivation to deliver as they know that a good win today will take them from third to second place on the log considering their superior Net Run Rate (NRR) since the table-toppers Denmark and Malaysia face off at the tricky UKM-YSD Oval.
The third and last match of the day will involve bottom-placed Bermuda against Jersey, who lie fourth on the six-team log.
The day’s battles are well poised.