It was 13-year-old Ismail Munir who stood out as Uganda fought hard to make it two in two with a 75-run victory over Sierra Leone at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Under 19 World Cup Africa Qualifier here in Namibia yesterday.
Munir put an all-round match-winning perform
ance with an unbeaten half century of 73 runs off 120 balls and then snared 2 wickets for 30 runs in 5 overs to scoop the Man of Match award but most importantly help the Baby Cricket Cranes cross the finish line for their second successive win and forthwith ensure the boys from the Pearl of Africa stay on track to qualify for the Youth World Cup in South Africa next year.
But it wasn’t a walk in the park for Uganda. The final result of the match is very deceptive.
Like on Monday against Kenya in the opener, Uganda batted first but the top order’s wickets tumbled in similar fashion.
Yesterday, Uganda were in ditch at 29 for 4 in 8.1 overs when Munir, who batted at No.10 for his 18 not out against Kenya walked in for his innings.
He grinded hard and suffered several muscle cramps and moments of dehydration in an unbeaten innings that lasted 41.5 overs thus two hours and 45 minutes. First he conjured up a 72-run fifth wicket partnership with Simon Oketcho (33 off 63 balls) and then another 65-run stand for the eighth wicket with Cosmas Kyewuta (33 off 40) to help Uganda set 211 for the loss of 9 wickets in the allotted 50 overs.
Captain Frank Akankwasa, the Man of Match against Kenya, was the top bowler of the day with 4 for 22 in 10 overs, but young Munir did his bit with two scalps of his own.
“I cannot believe this. I am so proud of myself,” said an exhausted Munir after the tough encounter. “I want to thank my coach (Jackson Ogwang) for believing in me and teaching me to play how I did. I am also delighted I have won for my country in my first competitive ICC tournament to ensure the World Cup dream stays alive.”
Uganda will now take deserved rest on the day off tomorrow as the reward for their perfect pair but a humdinger of a clash awaits them against unbeaten Nigeria, who are the surprise package of the tournament after outmuscling Namibia (Sunday) and Kenya yesterday.
Nile special pool
ICC U-19 AFRICA WC QUALIFIER
Yesterday’s Results in Windhoek
Uganda 211/9 Sierra Leone 136/10
*Uganda won by 75 runs
Namibia 296/7 Tanzania 46/10
*Namibia won by 250 runs
Nigeria 201/4 Kenya 143/9
*Nigeria won by 58 runse