There will be no fun at all about making the flight back home for the Uganda Cricket Cranes team that was involved in the third leg of the Cricket Challenge League B.
Barely two weeks ago, Laurence Mahatlane’s side made their voyage to Jersey hopeful of attaining the much coveted ODI status.
But fight as much as they could, their journey through the Challenge League would not have a fairy tale ending even after seeing out a 218-run victory over Hong Kong.
Despite that emphatic victory, the round marked the end of Uganda’s journey to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.
The cricket cranes were trying to qualify for next year’s World Cup in India and earn an ODI status, but those dreams have been halted as they failed to progress to the next round of qualifiers.
On the final day, Simon Ssesazi and Arnold Otwani posted 266 runs combined with the former registering 137. Dinesh Nakruni and Riazat Ali Shah each recorded 50 runs.
With the ball, Frank Nsubuga was clinical plucking the highest number of wickets (3) as Uganda restricted Hong Kong to a paltry 179 runs in 38.1 overs.
While the win didn’t see the team advance to the next round, Laurence Mahatlane’s boys were ruthless with the bat.
Mahatlane assed his side’s performance throughout the tournament: “It’s been tough. You can look back and say so close yet so far away. When you go back to Kampala, we missed Deus Muhumuza in the middle order.”
“Some of the injuries we had primarily to the senior batsmen and the leadership group really affected us over those two tournaments.”
“So, it is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is what it is,” Mahatlane explained.
“We need to look forward now not only to qualifying for the World Cup in the West Indies for 2024 which happens five months from now.”
“But also, to have a plan in place for the next three years to make sure that when the next round of the qualifiers comes around, we playing the kind of cricket with the kind of depth that the boys are playing now.”
Uganda finished with the same number of points as group leaders Jersey but came short of progression due to a low net run rate.
Team captain Deus Muhumuza picked positives from the tournament: “It was a good tournament for us. We take the positives. Yes, it is a bitter pill to swallow that we didn’t qualify, but a lot has come out of it.”
“There are things we planned to work on, and I believe we have achieved most of them, 80%. We will always look at the positives.”
“We have had a couple of youngsters come through. We have seen 3 centuries so far which is good for Ugandan cricket. The sky is the limit for us come next tournaments,” Muhumuza explained.
Jersey lost to Kenya in their final game, but a superior net run rate ensured they progress to the World Cup Qualifiers Play-off.
Jersey’s advancement meant an end to Uganda’s hopes of ODI status. The cricket cranes now embark on a return journey that will see them check in on Tuesday.