NAIROBI. One win away is a tired cliché that has jinxed many a Ugandan franchise across the different sporting disciplines.
Unfortunately it is the undeniable current state of affairs for Uganda here at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifier yesterday.
The Baby Cricket Cranes put one foot onto the Airbus to New Zealand for next year’s ICC U-19 World Cup with a commanding 247-run victory over Botswana at the picturesque Nairobi Gymkhana Oval yesterday.
And barring misfortune of marginal proportions, the Baby Cricket Cranes will be making their appearance at the global showpiece next January after the 2004 and 2006 franchises that were captained by Clive Kyangungu and Hamza Almuzahim Saleh in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Colombo, Sri Lanka respectively.
But although everyone has been chipping in to Uganda’s cause as the team registered its fourth successive victory. Yesterday’s massive win was largely due to the trio of opening batsmen Zephaniah Arinaitwe, skipper Kenneth Waiswa and opening bowler Richard Agamire.
Arinaitwe- Waiswa show
Highly-rated Arinaitwe, who has been suffering indifferent form, put on a batting masterclass, Waiswa continued to produce the goods with his third ton of the tournament and then seam-bowler Agamire came from the bench and roared with the new ball to claim a sixer.
Calypso-style opener Arinaitwe, who returned to form with a knock of 42 against Kenya on Tuesday, rode his luck to a century 139 off 127 balls (17 fours) and Kenneth Waiswa made it three fifties in the tournament with 64 off 93 (5 fours) in an extraordinary captain – vice captain combo worth 184 runs off just 183 balls have coming together at the end of the ninth over with Uganda in a spot of bother at 60/3.
Zepha departed attempting a suicidal second run in the 40th over as Uganda rebuilt to 244 for 4 whereas Waiswa fell trying to up the ante of Uganda’s knock.
Uganda went on to finish with 330/6 thanks to tournament debutant Fred Achelam’s lusty late - order hitting of 47 off 34 balls that was littered with four boundaries and two meaty sixes.
And then the second innings was all about Agamire who got six wickets at a cost of just 22 runs in seven overs limited Botswana to 83 all out in 25.3 overs.
Today, Uganda will take a rest knowing that they are one win away with victory against Ghana on Friday and a place to the land of the Kiwis the only thing on their minds.
And hopefully the cliche will not jinx them.
ICC AFRICA U-19 WC QUALIFIER
Uganda 330/7 Botswana 83/10
Uganda won by 247 runs
Kenya 221/9 Ghana 114/10
Kenya won by 107 runs
P W L Pts NRR
Uganda 4 4 0 8 2.655
Kenya 4 3 1 6 1.043
Ghana 4 1 3 2 -0.776
Botswana4 0 4 0 -3.532