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Continental T20 Cup: Cricket Cranes off the mark

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The national senior men’s cricket team, the Cricket Cranes, were routine winners in their opening game at the Continental Cup T20-Africa as they beat Botswana by 6 wickets at the Gymkhana Cricket Oval in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Cricket Cranes easily chased down Botswana’s score of 113, but on the wicket that is known to favour batters, pace bowler Bilal Hassun owned the oval, taking a liking, especially for Botswana’s middle order.

Bilal who was just returning to the team after missing the Qatar trip in April, claimed four wickets including the big one in Karabo Mothlanka- the Botswana captain who had stuck on the wicket for 19 Overs.

For his exploits, ‘Billy’ as his teammates call him was named the Player of the Match. The player that got Uganda’s first wicket though was the evergreen Frank Nsubuga.

After a damaging first Over that went for 9 runs, the veteran invaded the opponent’s top order, dismissing Ameer Saiyed who had become a problem in the early stages.

Nsubuga added to his tally of wickets when he caught and bowled another top order batter in Valentine Mbazo. Dinesh also picked two wickets while Alpesh Ramjani and Riazat Ali Shah got one apiece.

Henry Senyondo didn’t have the honours of dismissing anyone, but produced the second best economy of 4.50.

Uganda’s innings started with a blast; both openers, Simon Ssesazi and Roger Mukasa going hard for boundaries. A leg before wicket off Khumalo’s bowling took Ssesazi out though with just 9 runs, but Mukasa continued with his blasts which earned him a record.

With the 41 runs he notched, Mukasa, became Uganda’s all-time leading run scorer in all formats. He took his tally to 3081 runs. What a milestone it was for the 34-year-old who only returned to the national team fold last year.

With the exception of Karabo’s 45, Mukasa’s 41 was the highest score on the pitch in this game. Ramjani had a quick 29 that included 2 sixes and as many fours while Nakrani managed 14.

Kenya won the opening game of the tournament, beating Rwanda by 3 wickets, but Uganda will end day one on top of the table.

The triple round robin tourney continues tomorrow and Uganda will face Rwanda in the morning at the same ground.

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