Uganda beat Kenya by 6 wickets (DLS method) in the final match of the ICC Africa T20 Regional Final to emerge top and book the lone spot to the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in May next year. With the win, Uganda ended the tournament with just the loss to Kenya in the opening encounter by one run while Kenya rued having lost to Tanzania by 49 runs in their second match.
Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani put on an unbeaten 68 – run partnership despite a lengthy rain interruption to see Uganda home with 8 balls to spare at the Gahanga International Cricket Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.
Needing just over a run a ball for the majority of their innings, Shah led the way with a 31 – ball 43, swatting away three boundaries and two maximums as Nakrani backed him up with 28 runs off 25 balls, one boundary and two maximums, therein, to see off their neighbours’ tame bowling, while taking advantage of fielding slip ups.
Electing to bat, Rakep Patel’s half century was the saving grace of the innings, his 46 – ball 62 helping to lift the innings from 3/29 to 3/123 at the end of the innings. Patel struck six boundaries and four maximums on a pitch that seemed to be playing to his tune while his partner Collins Obuya ground out 29 runs from 40 balls, two boundaries and one maximum therein.
Kenya were on top for a couple of overs before the innings took a bizarre turn, losing the top three batters within the next twenty balls. Irfan Karim was stopped by veteran Frank Nsubuga from duplicating his morning heroics, only facing four balls before his defenses were breached in the sixth over. Alex Obanda barely made it out of the power play before Henry Ssenyondo bowled him for 21 runs two balls later.
Uganda’s run chase got off to a slow but sure start in comparison, Simon Ssesazi holding on to manage 18 off 25 balls after the departure of Saud Islam (13) and Ronak Patel (1) who was run out inside the power play.