The national senior men’s cricket team, the Cricket Cranes got off to a brilliant start at the Africa Cup ongoing in South Africa as they beat Botswana by 7 wickets in their Group A opener on Thursday.
It was a day of debuts for Uganda. Pascal Murungi who captained the U-19 boys team at the World Cup in West Indies early this year and Aziz Damani’s Alpesh Ramjani featured for the Cricket Cranes for the first time, and the latter took the opportunity by both hands.
Alpesh, an all-rounder owned the day as he staged a player of the match performance with four wickets on his debut.
It was a debut to remember for the top-order batter. He ended the game with the player of the match accolade.
“The wicket was really good; it had some bounce in it so as a bowler, I had to contain the runs and that’s how I got my wickets,” explained Alpesh.
Cricket Cranes captain Brian Masaba on his return to the national team from a finger fracture also enjoyed a decent outing with the ball especially! The all-rounder had two wickets to his name.
Youngsters Juma Miyaji and Cosmos Kyewuta, and veteran Frank Nsubuga each picked up a solitary wicket.
Having restricted Botswana to only 103 runs, it was smooth sailing for Uganda in their innings.
Riazat Ali Shah not out with 36 runs, added to Simon Ssesazi’s 37 and Masaba’s 15 plus Kenneth Waiswa’s 7 were enough to see Uganda successfully chase the target.
In his post-match interview, head coach Laurence Mahatlane said; “I thought the bowlers were very good today restricting Botswana to 103 runs.”
“Maybe not so good in execution in the backend, but it is something we can keep working on.”
“But in the end, I thought we showed calmness and a lot of maturity. We are looking forward to giving a lot of opportunities to different players,” he stated.
The cricket cranes return to action on Sunday against Mozambique.