No win, no cry. The Cricket Cranes have no time to weep over spilt milk after several factors worked against them to ensure they went down against Malaysia by nine runs in the opening rubber of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division IV at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.
The nature of the tournament is fast. A mere blink can cost you a whole campaign. The Ugandans will be praying that the bad game of the tour is out of the picture early on and they can now find their groove. Coach Steve Tikolo’s youthful brigade engage Bermuda today at the University Oval (UKM) in Bandar, Kinrara knowing that each of the four games left on card is literally a final.
Bermuda will be breathing fire after the 2007 World Cup finalists were humiliated by Denmark in an eight-wicket loss yesterday.
For Uganda, they will want to make amends and set the record straight against Bermuda after they suffered a controversial loss that not only hurt but also left them chasing the tournament.
A spate of forgettable umpiring from Kenyan Isaac Oyieko and Denmark-based Pakistani Rizwan Akram plus an exhibition of poor sportsmanship from Malaysia, who were intent on attaining victory at any cost, left Uganda with a bitter feeling.
In such a competitive world of cricket that involves billions of shillings for any tier promotion, ICC’s call for teams and individuals to exercise the true spirit of the game continued to remain a far cry especially for the Asians.
From ‘stealing’ three runs off a ball that deflected off their bats to the Malaysian bowlers ‘faking injuries’ to take breathers and massages to cool off from the sweltering decisions, the umpires were guilty of according the hosts too much freedom.
The game was shrouded by controversy and the epitome of it was, however, in the last over. With 10 runs needed and the set Deus Muhumuza (38 off 88) off strike, Henry Ssenyondo (1* off 3) nudged a good length ball from left-arm spinner Virandeep Singh into the covers.
Suhan Alagaratnam moved in and swooped in an underarm throw for a run out but video replays showed that the ball never deviated after crossing the stumps.
Nevertheless, square-leg umpire Oyieko looked like he had woken up from a nightmare as he raised the dreaded finger to the delight of the Malaysian fielders to end Muhumuza and Uganda’s innings.
The Cricket Cranes had themselves to blame for letting the chase get out of hand as they lost regular wickets under no pressure with the required run rate at less than four per over.
Only wicketkeeper-cum-batsman Fred Achelam, who was trapped Leg Before Wicket (LBW) for 36, to end an industrious 54-run stand with Muhumuza, played with purpose. The top order pair of skipper Roger Mukasa (14 off 20), Hamu Kayondo (11 off 8) threw their willows at wide deliveries and were caught behind whereas the trio of Simon Ssesazi (2 off 3), Brian Masaba (17 off 41) and Riazat Ali Shah (28 off 53 & 4 for 24) holed out routine catches without any pressure on them.
The top two countries here in Kuala Lumpur will earn promotion to the ICC WCL Division III scheduled for later this year in either Australia or USA.
ICC WCL DIVISION IV
Malaysia 208/10 Uganda 199/10
Malaysia won by 9 runs
Vanuatu 104/10 Jersey 105/3
Jersey won by 7 wickets
Bermuda 209/10 Denmark 212/2
Denmark won by 8 wickets
Today’s fixtures – 4.30am (EAT)
Uganda vs Bermuda | UKM Cricket Oval
Malaysia vs. Vanuatu | Kinrara AcademyOval
Denmark vs. Jersey | Royal Selangorn