The fans in the pavilion and different corners of Lugogo Cricket Oval were static despite Riazat Ali Shah blasting the last ball beyond the perimeter wall into the bushes behind Java House.
Cricket Cranes chances of playing at the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates later this year had already been dashed when the all-rounder couldn’t find a maximum with the second last ball that instead slipped behind off the edge for four runs.
While the faces of Cricket Cranes were buried in shame, Kenya players pranced with high-fives as they had won the regional derby when it mattered most to remain odds on favourites to join dominant Namibia at the Global Qualifiers.
Kenya won the toss and chose to bat. Some disciplined bowling and good fielding from the hosts left their neighbours reeling at 73/4 after 15 overs. However, a blitz from the player of the match Rakep Patel (51 off 22) and captain Shem Obado Ngoche (22 off 11) in the 16th and 17th over ensured Kenya set a sizeable 145/6.
“We had their backs on the wall but two overs in the first innings swung the game away from us into their favour,” Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo said in the aftermath of the game.
It was Charles Waiswa’s four-over spell that prized out Alex Obanda and Dhiren Gondaria early and later Ngoche as well as Lucas Oluoch. Dinesh Nakarani (2/36) picked the other wickets for the Cricket Cranes.
In the chase, Hamu Koyondo’s maximum on the fourth ball put Uganda on track but his opening partner Zephania Arinaitwe could not last beyond the second over and skipper Roger Mukasa who came in at 3 barely troubled the scorers as he had another underwhelming performance going out with 4 off 6 balls.
Arnold Otwani fell quickly as Kayondo and Nakrani who came in tried to steer Uganda’s innings. However, once Kayondo was caught at the cover and Nakrani also fell, the asking rate started to go up as Deus Muhumuza and debutant Rogers Olipa cheaply fell leaving the work to Ali Shah and bowlers Frank Nsubuga and Waiswa who followed suit with Cricket Cranes falling short by a run.
Nelson Odhiambo 3/30 and Elijah Otieno 3/37 starred with the ball for the Simbas.
“It is disappointing… Losing by one run hurts,” Tikolo said with a sad face before pointing to where he feels his team lost the game.
“If I may fault my side then it has got to be the time Dinesh Nakrani got out. It really hurt us. Both teams played good cricket today and hats off to Kenya for pulling off a victory.”
The two defeats (to Namibia and Kenya) in two days have seen the Cricket Cranes slip to fourth place but they will be looking to bounce back when they take on Ghana at Kyambogo this afternoon before wrapping up the tournament with a clash against Nigeria on Friday afternoon.