Kenya snick Uganda in ICC Regional opener

Kenya snared a one – run win over arch nemesis and neighbours Uganda in their opening tie of the ICC Africa Men’s T20 Regional Final at the IPRC Kicukiro Oval in Kigali, Rwanda.

Needing 162 runs for victory, Uganda started off in the most bizarre form, losing 4/4 in three overs courtesy of the speedster duo of Nehemiah Odhiambo and Elijah Otieno, the first three caught behind by Irfan Karim.

Nehemiah Odhiambo dismissed Saud Islam with the first ball of the innings.

Odhiambo nuked Saud Islam for a golden duck off the very first ball of the innings with Otieno picking Simon Ssesazi and Ronak Patel in two consecutive balls for a run-a-piece. The dependable Riazat Ali Shah failed to replicate his bowling antics, managing to face Odhiambo only twice before he was back in the shed without making an impact.

Undaunted, Deusdedit Muhumuza who remained unbeaten on 59 runs from 48 balls held on one end of the crease, forming an impenetrable 84 – run partnership for the sixth wicket to take the scoreboard to 6/119. By the time Emmanuel Bundi returned for his second spell to have Nakrani caught behind  at the close of the 16th over, the left hander had blasted 67 runs from 32 balls, a massive 8 maximums and three boundaries, therein, to earn himself Man of the Match accolades.

Muhumuza finished unbeaten on 59 runs

Needing 21 off the final over to win, Muhumuza squeezed 17 runs off Obuya, including two of his three maximums to compound a wide and a leg bye faced by Fred Achelam that nearly saw the Ugandans through.

Otieno finished with 3/18 after picking Akankwasa (13) with his final ball of the innings, his partner Odhiambo closing out with 2/17 from his entire bowling quota.

Electing to bat, Kenya put up 5/161 from their allotted 20 overs but that was barely half the story. The power play yielded only 23 runs with veteran Frank Nsubuga claiming openers including the wicket of the explosive Alex Obanda (9 off 11) in the third over. His partner Gurdeep Singh (8 off 13) made it out only to perish attempting a square drive straight to Ronak Patel in the opening ball of the seventh over.

Otieno finished with 3/18

Kenya would be grateful for the partnership of the experienced Collins Obuya and Irfan Karim that added 78 runs to the third wicket. The two set off slow but Obuya fired four boundaries and three maximums in his 35 – ball tally of 44 runs to get the scoreboard ticking while Karim ensured strike rotation with his run –a – ball 36 that included four boundaries.

Riazat Ali Shah accounted for both of them two balls apart, breaking the partnership in the 16th over to reduce the neighbours to 4/101. With two new batters at the crease, Rakep Patel was the light at the end of the tunnel with 28 from 12 balls that included three towering sixes to propel the score to 161.

Nsubuga finished with a mean 2/7 with Shah going the distance with 2/27 from his three overs.

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