Uganda once again proved that they have a method to the madness that is their batting Achilles heel with a topsy turvy four-run victory over Hong Kong in the fifth-place playoff final at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Sunday.
At the same oval – the Test Match venue – Queens Sports Club – Uganda edged Jersey by five runs in a low-scoring semi-final placement playoff clash on Friday. Simon Ssesazi (30 runs) and Ronak Patel (24), both opening batsmen, top scored as Uganda set only 110 runs.
And it was the bowling unit that saved the day as Uganda carried the day. The script was the same in the two teams last match of tourney with the Cricket Cranes batting first but only being able to set 102 runs on a deteriorating wicket that played low and slow.
Ssesazi (23) and Patel (22) once again played out the powerplay as Uganda reached 51 for no loss in 10 overs. But they fell in quick succession with no other meaningful contributions aside from Riazat Ali Shah’s 14 runs and 19-year-old Juma Miyaji’s 10.
Miyaji did actually double his effort with the bowl. Opening from the JM Nkomo Airport End, Miyaji claimed figures of 2 wickets for 13 runs in 4 overs that kept Hong Kong crawling at 31 runs for 4 wickets in 7.2 overs.
Men of match
Miyaji, though, wasn’t alone as Uganda found a method to the madness that is their batting Achilles heel as veteran off-spinner Frank Nsubuga (1/15), left-arm orthodox Henry Ssenyondo (0/13), paceman Bilal Hassan (2/18) and Cosmas Kyewuta (2/28) all bowled economical four-over spells while chipping away at Hong Kong’s void-of-ideas batting arsenal.
“For us to defend 100 runs twice on this Test Match venue is special. We wanted to set around 130 but once we got 102, we were believing. That was a superb bowling performance from the youngster Miyagi. We haven’t played as well as we wanted but finishing fifth gives us joy,” said captain Kenneth Waiswa as he paid a tribute to his team that played with a never give up attitude.
Zeeshan Ali (26) and Shahid Wasif (22) who featured in a 50-run partnership were the only Asian batsmen to score more than 9 runs with Uganda’s bowlers guilty of contributing to the final score of 98 runs with 17 extras.
Host-nation Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, who played their final in-front of 5,000 passionate fans, are the two teams that will progress to the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia this September.
ICC T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
5th place playoff final
Uganda 102/7 Hong Kong 98/8
Uganda won by 4 runs
Final – Gold Match
Zimbabwe 132/10 Netherlands 95/10
Zimbabwe won by 37 runs
3rd place playoff final – Bronze Match
PNG 97/10 vs. USA 92/10
PNG won by 5 runs
7th place playoff final
Singapore 140/7 Jersey 141/4
Jersey won by 6 wickets
HOW THEY FINISHED
3. Papua New Guinea
4. United States of America
6. Hong Kong