By Kirunda Wycliffe
U19 Men’s national Team(Baby Cricket Cranes)
It’s exactly a year now when the National U19 Men’s team departed for West Indies to compete in the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup where they spent close to two months that saw them finish 13th out of 16 Nations.
The Baby Cricket Cranes were placed in group B with Ireland, South Africa and 2022 champions India but failed to pick up any solid win as they recorded three defeats.
Despite Uganda losing the plate quarter final 1 game against UAE by 1 wicket, their real fight came against PNG as they recorded a 35 run win in the 13th 1st playoff game semi final game before edging Scotland by 51 runs on D/L method to finish 13th.
Since then, it has never been the same for some players who represented Uganda as they have earned themselves starting spots in the senior men’s national team such as Juma Miyagi who happens to be one of the opening bowlers.
It was the third appearance for Uganda at such a level and the first time for the country to finish in such a position at the World Cup and all hopes are in the next qualifiers as they believe they can make a fourth appearance for the next ICC Men’s U19 World Cup.
National Men’s Team (Cricket Cranes)
There have been ups and downs for the national men’s team, but on a bigger note it should be remembered that they have registered a success despite missing out on two bigger life changing opportunities for the association as an Associate member of ICC.
As usual they began their 2022 campaign with a visit to Namibia in the Castle Lite Series where they managed to pick two remarkable wins against the Eagles of Namibia that helped them shape for the second leg of challenge league B in June 2022.
In the second leg of Challenge League B that involved other five cricket playing nations, PNG, Jersey, Bermuda, Italy and Hong Kong which was hosted in Kampala from 14th June to 28th June 2022 saw Uganda pick only three wins to drop second on the log ahead of the third leg which was a do die for three nations.
Unfortunately, Cricket Cranes failed to match the efforts of other teams when they travelled to Jersey for the third and final leg of challenge league B which would have seen them progress to the next challenge of World Cup qualification of ODI and also attain an ODI status if they had finished on top of the table.
Nevertheless, Uganda also had a clear chance to feature in the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup in Australia in October for the first time in the history of Uganda cricket during the Global T20 World Cup Qualifiers if at all they had finished among the first two teams in Bulawayo Zimbabwe, a tournament that saw Zimbabwe and Netherlands qualify for the big stage.
Cricket Cranes went on to finish 5th in a competition that was played by eight teams, but a big opportunity awaits next year for a World Cup slot where the best three countries out of eight shall qualify.
Having failed to achieve any of the two goals, the Cricket Cranes drew their attention to the inaugural T20 African Cup that was hosted in South Africa in September 2022 where they edged a highly motivated Tanzania in a high scoring final to win the trophy.
Uganda also didn’t hesitate to participate in the inaugural Tri-Nations T20 Cup that was hosted in Rwanda in December 2022 and was played by the hosts, Uganda and Tanzania where Uganda finished top to win the cup.
There has been a number of good performers on the national team such as Ronak Patel, Simon Ssesazi, Dinesh Nakrani with the bat and the legendary bowling from Frank Nsubuga and Henry Ssenyondo with the ball, their experience have helped Cricket Cranes on a number of occasions.
Cricket Cranes finished 2022 on a high note with a number of new lads being introduced in the team after a departure of some players and it could be a good side come 2023 which has a lot to offer to them on the continent and World at large.
But all will be to play for and achieve better stats in the coming year which seems to be a busy one for both the junior and senior teams.