New-look Cricket Cranes chases T20 World Cup ticket

Those attached in varying ways to Uganda’s cricket are currently speaking with huge verve after the boys’ U19 national team recently buried odds to qualify for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup due next year in West Indies.
The Baby Cricket Cranes will travel to Caribe after rising from a seven-wicket defeat to Namibia to dispatch Rwanda, Nigeria and Tanzania in a crunch qualifier.
Now their senior counterparts - the Cricket Cranes – will hope to keep Uganda’s candle burning when they descend to Rwanda’s capital Kigali for the ICC Sub-Regional Qualifiers in quest for a ticket to the 2022 ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup.
Coach Laurence Mahatlane and his assistant Jackson Ogwang have spent the last month sharpening the blades of the Cranes, on the back of triumphs at the inaugural Derby 50-Over Trophy against Kenya and the Pearl of Africa Tri-Series.
“It’s been a month since we last played against Kenya and Nigeria,” said Mahatlane early this week before the team departed for Kigali. “I am very comfortable where we are and looking forward to the tournament,” he confidently said.
The Cricket Cranes are a new-look outfit in comparison to the team that last competed at the 2019 ICC World Cricket Challenge League B round 1 in Oman.
The South African Mahatlane has made five changes; switching captain roles from Brian Masaba to another all-rounder Deus Muhumuza and, experienced left-arm seamer Charles Waiswa as well as batsmen Roger Mukasa, Kamal Shahzad and Arnold Otwani have been omitted.
Masaba has been struggling with a hamstring problem since the Tri-Series in September, Waiswa reportedly injured while Mukasa, Shahzad and Otwani have varying reasons.
The voids for these experienced men have been filled by younger and less experienced players such as Saud Islam, Simon Ssesaazi, Frank Akankwasa and Gerald Mubiru.
The quartet have enjoyed purple patches since the Tri-Series and Mahatlane is not shy to make changes if one doesn’t match his key performance indicators (KPIs).
“Doesn’t matter who you play, it’s just about sticking to our plans,” he said. “Our ultimate target is the 2024 World Cup where we want to get and get into the top T20 20 teams, we have a process in place and the roadmap where we want to go.”
New skipper Muhumuza has welcomed the new faces on board. “They bring a lot of energy. They are good additions,” he noted.
Uganda will vie for the top slot alongside hosts Rwanda, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini, Ghana and Seychelles to the Africa T20 finals next month.
Dates: October 16-22
Administrator: African Cricket Association
Format: Twenty20
Host: Rwanda
Participants: 7
Matches: 21
GROUP A - (OCTOBER 14-23) 
PLAYERS: Deus Muhumuza (Captain), Ronak Patel, Simon Ssesazi, Dinesh Nakrani, Frank Akankwasa, Riazat Ali Shah, Kenneth Waiswa, Bilal Hassun, Frank Nsubuga, Saud Islam, Richard Agamire, Henry Ssenyondo, Fred Achelam (Wicket-keeper), Gerald Mubiru
RESERVES: Arnold Otwani, Jonathan Ssebanja, Cosmas Kyewuta, Charles Waiswa 
OFFICIALS: Laurence Mahatlane (Coach), Jackson Ogwang (Assistant Coach), Shamim Nassali (Physiotherapist), Alvin Bagaya (Analyst), Innocent Ndawula (Media Manager) Jackson Kavuma (Team Manager)


Oct 16: Malawi vs. Uganda, Gahanga (3pm)
Oct 17: Rwanda vs. Uganda, IPRC (3pm)
Oct 19: Lesotho vs. Uganda, IPRC (10:30am)
Oct 19: Eswatini vs. Uganda, IPRC (3pm)
Oct 21: Ghana vs. Uganda, Gahanga (10:30am)
Oct 22: Seychelles vs. Uganda, IPRC (3pm)

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Published: 10/14/2021